(No) Power Play

A big ol’ strong storm came through late Saturday night and left my neighborhood without power for about 36 hours.  What do you do when you are without power and had planned to sew for the majority of the weekend?  You hand stitch!  I’d been working on a hand sewing project for a few years.  I don’t pick it up very often so this gave me the perfect opportunity to try to finish it up. The fabric is a mini charm pack from the Mixed Bag line.  I made the hexies almost 2 years ago on the way to my brother’s wedding and I had a grand plan to use them in a Text Mini Quilt Swap that I had participated in.  That plan changed for the better so I still had the hexies in my stash.  Then I just decided to make them into a large hexie flower.  They have been slowly making their way into that shape.  I have one more length of thread to use in order to finish up this large flower.  My plan is to make a pillow for my couch by adding it as an appliqué to a cool looking background – which I have yet to decide on.  I’m thinking some sort of light grey or text print.  I must raid my stash and see what pops out at me.My mom lives nearby and had power so I packed up my old reliable sewing machine and some fabric to cut for a new baby quilt that I have in mind. I pulled this cute selection of car prints and blenders that I think work really well with the main prints.  I don’t have a selection of white blenders in my stash so this cute grey one should work really well.I did not make any progress other than transporting these supplies back and forth from my house to hers a few times.  But, I love this fabric pull and will definitely do something with it.

Giving Thanks!

I’m thankful that my Mom lives close enough so that I could bring some of my fridge and freezer stuff over for her to store for me.

I’m thankful that my home has great insulation and stayed cool enough so I could still hang out with the cats and sleep there without the power being on.

I’m thankful to learn that I have a gas water heater so I was able to shower and wash up with hot water.

I’m thankful that I did not have a ton of perishable food in my fridge or freezer as I now don’t have as much to replace.  I took only the super important stuff to my mom’s – you know, like ice cream and steak.

I’m thankful that I had the means to get out and purchase some other power and lighting supplies that I could operate with batteries.

I’m thankful for the extra work put in by my local electric company, on a holiday weekend, to get extra crews in from other states to get the power restored – there were 140,000 without power on Sunday morning with full restoration not promised for at least a week.

I need to get my machine humming now that the power is back on.  I have a different baby quilt laid out on my design floor (which I did not transport to my mom’s) and I need to start working on that.  It’s the top I was planning on sewing together this weekend.

Time to get back to it.  Happy Sewing!

Sewing Space Upgrade

I’ve been working on upgrading some items in my sewing room.  I was sewing on a high quality plastic folding table and it was starting to bough where my machine sat.  An IKEA recently opened nearby so I knew that a sewing room upgrade was on the horizon.

I immediately fell in love with this trestle table.  

I thought the slats in the legs would be perfect for holding my rulers and I was right! It was a bit larger than the folding table so I had to make more adjustments to the design of the room and shift things around a little bit.  I also got this 9-drawer unit and the deeper drawers fit folded fat quarters beautifully!  I’m only about halfway through and still need to get another storage piece for the opposite wall.

I had to clear some space to sew something as it had been a little bit.  Should I finish up something in progress?  No.  Let’s start something new!  That’ll be perfect for some mindless sewing.  I had been wanting to make some kitchen themed items into a mini quilt for my office at work.  The best place to start is this paper-pieced utensil crock by Kristy of Quiet Play.It looks awesome on my new sewing table.  There’s a lot more room to spread out and I just love, love, love the Add-a-Quarter ruler that I got for Christmas!I cannot wait to get the room finished up and cleaned and organized.  A few more pieces to buy and build and fill up then I should be ready for a full reveal.

Happy Sewing!

Christmas Quilt UFO

I’ve had a Christmas quilt top hanging out in my sewing room for about 8 years.  When Mom was over on Thanksgiving she saw it hanging there and mentioned that she didn’t have a Christmas quilt.  So, I said ‘Do you like that one?’ And she said ‘Sure.’  Hello Christmas gift!

I pulled that Christmas one down off my quilt rack and tried to get it all ironed out and flat.  Now, I made the top when my skills were not quite as precise as they are now so the ironing did not work out as well as it should have.  We’ll come back to that problem later….

The quilt top is I-Spy style and bright and fun.  The pattern was a free insert in a quilting publication ad that I cannot find or remember exactly where it was from.  The squares are 2 1/2 inches, the snowballs are 6 1/2 inches.  I don’t recall the corner triangle size.As you can tell from the photo above, I echo quilted – all out with red thread – around each snowball which created great texture throughout.  I pieced the back with the original fabric that I had chosen and added some dog themed fabric just for my mommy.I’m super happy with my corners.  They are becoming more consistent as I finish more quilts.But, let’s talk about that massive pucker.  I made the error of not stitching all the same direction (side to side) before switching and stitching the other direction (top to bottom).  Now, I believe this was only an issue because I couldn’t get it ironed out as flat as it needed to be.  I basted it as taut as I could and started all my stitching in the center so I think that helped a little bit.  This is not the only area of puckering so I’m glad it’s for Mom as she will think it’s fabulous and won’t even see the puckers.  It’s a sweet and fun quilt and she’ll love it!It was good to see how far my piecing skills have come since I first pieced this and it was quite humbling as I moaned and groaned while quilting it before I finally decided to just let go of the frustration and try my best to work with the wonkiness of it.

Stash Enhancement:

I did a little pre-Christmas shopping and ended up with some great goodies.Paintbox Basics by Elizabeth Hartman – such great colors and fabulous prints!Vibrant and beautiful colors from the Macramé line from Cotton + Steel.

I hope your holiday sewing is going well.

Merry Christmas!

My Quilty Resolutions 2016

The new year is here and I have been in an organizing frenzy.  I’ve been creating, in my head, all the things I want to accomplish this year.  I thought I would throw the quilty ones out here and see if I can follow-through with them.  So, it is now time for My Quilty Resolutions!

Quilty Resolutions

  1. I will finish those UFOs that are cluttering up my sewing area in the form of quilt tops or blocks not yet put into quilt tops.01b65ba82469a3ae30cebe21edbded59215b92ea37 01f1f6c3a840aa6edbd6c76d32ef18d58978e18575019ef6c53b728fd5adc7801234ce8e61b3e6cc5756
  2. I will limit my stash buying to items I think are awesome, items needed to finish current in-progress quilt tops, backing fabric if I cannot or do not want to piece a back with the scraps.  I will also be joining Jenn from A Quarter Inch from the Edge in her The Year of the Stash 2016.

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  3.  I will continue to organize my sewing area to keep it tidy.  I will need to destash all fabric that is no longer my style or that I cannot see that I will ever use in any project.   I may try to sell it or I may just donate some of it.  I think the older stuff, especially the fat quarters from Joann’s that are way too thin for anything I would sew now, will be donated.
  4. I will self-design patterns and make them available to the quiltiverse via Craftsy or free on my blog.  This will be a big challenge for me as I develop the skills needed to accomplish it.
  5. I will continue to challenge my skills where the actual quilting is concerned.  I am venturing out of straight lines and hope to get moving toward more free-motion quilting.  I don’t like to practice anything so that could be my downfall here.  I just want to jump in and get it done.  However, I know that practice is key to training your muscle memory where FMQ is involved so I will try to practice and become more confident in my skills in this area.01374bb3fd0039a40b49c0408f5ff535a57a59a6d7

Let me know your Quilty Resolutions by linking up your post, you can also grab the My Quilty Resolutions button from my sidebar for your blog. I look forward to seeing what we can all accomplish in 2016!

A Snail’s Pace

I was going through my stash recently to cut up fat quarters for the fat quarter swap we do at my guild (The Memphis Area Modern Quilt Guild) meeting each month.  I came across these sweet snail and dragonfly prints and decided to keep them to make a baby quilt for upcoming baby showers and such.  I matched them to some Kona solids that I had from a great Craftsy sale a while back.  Those prints are from a 2010 line called Breeze for In The Beginning fabrics. I wanted to do an HST quilt of some kind so chose the 4 at a time method of cutting and sewing.  I cut 7″ squares then placed them right sides together and sewed a 1/4″ seam all around the edges.  Cut on the diagonal each direction and you end up with 4 sections 4 1/2″ square.  This method seems to be a bit more precise for me and I think I’ll need to find a chart of some kind to show what size square will get to what size final section.  This left me with a nice pile of pieces to iron and then decide how I wanted to place them.   Once I laid them out on the floor I got to rearranging and rearranging and rearranging and ended up here.  I’m still not sure but I definitely like where it’s going.  The heart part is really sweet.  I still may change up the 3 inside squares.  What do you guys think?  Should I keep those patterned squares or change them to more solids?

Prior to that sewing burst of energy, this happened:   Last weekend I hit my master bedroom closet with a vengeance and did a bit of purging. 

Why does anybody need this many empty show boxes in their closet?  I sure don’t – so to the recycle bin they went.  I did find 2 pairs of super awesome shoes though so it was a win-win.  I was also able to purge 2 bags of  clothes for donations and 2 large bags of garbage.  It was incredibly freeing to get rid of stuff that I don’t like and will never wear again or have actually never worn.  Now my closet is a happy place without shoeboxes and ill-fitting clothing all over the place.

Now, it’s time to get back to my other happy place and sew some pretties together.  I did get another bee block done.  This one is the Double Star block.  It came togther really quickly and I like how it looks.  The queen bee wanted navy, grey, gold, peach, cerise, aqua, text, and white.  I have a block in mind for my month but is one may be good too.  I’m waiting to see what else gets released before I make a final decision.  I’m glad I was able to get a later month as my queen bee month.  It’s giving me so many options of blocks to choose from.  They have also been a challenge as I have been pulling exclusively from stash.  But that has also been the fun part of this bee.  I like seeing what I can find in my stash to put together the perfect color combo for the queen.  I’m looking forward to next month’s selection on both color combo and block.

British Beauty

My brother has been dating a wonderful young lady from the UK.  They have recently become engaged and will be married next month.  We are all very excited that this beautiful woman will be joining our family and moving to the states.  

Any celebration gives a quilter the opportunity to create a fabulous gift.  So, of course, I had to make her a Sew Together Bag.  They do make the perfect gifts.  I had found this fabric bundle on Craftsy.  It is Bristish Invasion by Riley Blake designs. 

I had to figure out an exterior design that would feature bits of the fabric but still keep it contained.  I didn’t want it to be very scrappy.  I also chose this background fabric from my stash to play nice with all the colors.  It has a Moda selvedge but no name. I recently bought a mini charm pack that came with a mini tumbler ruler and chose that tool to cut that bundle apart.  I interspersed the prints with the grey.  I love the way it came out!  I horizontally straight line quilted that panel and set it aside while I pieced the bag. I used the plaids for the interior lining pieces and the crowns for the inside of the pockets.  Three different zipper colors make it easy to indentify which pocket holds what stuff. My sewing time, not including the exterior, has decreased for this bag and I didn’t have to look at the instructions this time, other than for the cutting directions.  I will admit to sewing two sections backwards because I wasn’t paying close enough attention but that was easily fixed.  I was struggling while deciding between a red zipper or a charcoal grey one for the exterior zipper.  I’m very happy that I went with the red one!      I will be bringing it with me to the wedding and plan to give it to her when we finally meet for the first time.  So exciting!

Stash Enhancment:

This week I picked up some mini charm packs to use for whatever comes to mind.  I love the Paradisio line and you can’t go wrong with the texty goodness that Sweetwater puts outs in the Feed Company line.  These should be fun to dig into this summer.

A Solid Start

A friend of mine from high school was the first of our group to have children and her eldest daughter will be graduating from high school this month.  Now, that cannot be true because we met in high school so there is no way that she has a child that is older than we were when we met.  Crazy!

Look at this child.  She is not graduating high school – she’s just a darling little girl…. 

What a sweetheart!

 Well, I am making that child a Sew Together Bag to use as she embarks on her adult life.  She wants to audition to be Belle on Disney Cruise Lines and do that for a little while.  She’d be great and I hope she is able to accomplish that goal.  She is still determining what she wants to do after graduation and I hope she finds something she loves and goes for it with all her heart.

The fabric pull for her bag looked like this: Her completed bag looks like this:    I love the ‘Be Happy’ fussy cut appliqué on the front.  That is exactly what I wish for her future.

I lined one of the pockets with laminated cotton so she can use it for make-up if she chooses.   The zipper pull was included with my order of zippers from Zip-It.  If you need zippers you need to order from this shop.  The service is fast, the selection is broad, the prices are fabulous, and they have always included a color card and zipper pull with every order I’ve received.  That zipper pull was absolutely perfect for this bag.  

I have another Sew Together Bag in the works.  My future sister-in-law is moving to the states from the UK and I have the exterior of her bag ready.  I think the minimalist approach of this exterior will be perfect for her.  I hope she’ll love it!

Stash Enhancement – the Solid Edition:

I’m trying to add some solids to my repertoire because I do love how they look in quilts that I have seen.  I tend to lean toward blenders or tone-on-tone fabrics when I need to add some color to my designs.  (Ex: the gray fabric pictured above.  😊). Lately, anytime I am in JoAnn Fabrics I will take a look through the remnant bin and have been coming across some Kona Solids.  The remnants are always 50% off the current sale price of that item so it is quite the deal.  I now have these three in my stash:  Pool, Buttercup Yellow, and Tangerine.  They are such beautiful and vibrant colors.  All are just a bit under a full yard. 

I have also added a few Kona Solids from a recent Craftsy sale.  They are sold as backing fabrics for some kits they were selling.  So, I do not know the actual color name.  The lighter one is called ‘Breakers’ and no color name is listed for the darker teal.  All I know is that I find these colors very appealing and I had to have them!  Also during that sale, I ordered a Free Spirit assorted fat quarter box.  About a third of the box was these very muted florals that I may never use (all were from the same line as well), a third included some great modern prints that I will show in another post, and a third included some solids.  All but the two blue ones came from that box.  It’s a nice array of colors.  The two blue ones came from a Scrap pack that I got at The Intrepid Thread when I visited a few weeks back.  (I didn’t see them on the website so the scrap packs might just be available in store.)  Now I need to decide how I want to start incorporating these solids into my quilts or other projects.  This will be a challenge for me but I feel that as I get more confident with my quilting then I will feel more comfortable adding these solids in.  

Any suggestions on how I can get started with that?