Wednesday, July 23, 2014

a visit to yellowstone and grand teton (in pictures)

 It was an amazing trip!

And if you look closely, you'll see that I'm actually in one of the photos - that doesn't happen often but I realized that really need to start being in at least a few of our family photos!

Friday, July 18, 2014

friday (miscellaneous)

I've been reorganizing my photos on my computer and realized that I have a few projects that I meant to share but never did. This is a boxy pouch I made when I went to Sew South in March! I had thought I would write a blog post specifically about the retreat but. . .  you know how it is, right? Anyway, Sew South was wonderful! It was so great to not only meet so many of my blog friends in person (including one of my best blogging friends) but to actually spend the whole weekend with them (and make new friends as well!) Another tidbit about this pouch (made using a leftover piece from this) is that it is the first time I used interfacing.

We were all sent home from Sew South with plenty of quilty swag including these charm packs. And one of these days I'll actually make the quilt that I planned for using these - yes, one of these days.

My daughters have been baking nonstop this past week. Which is great and um, not so great. After seeing so many baked doughnut recipes, we finally bought a doughnut pan. Does anyone have any good recipes for baked doughnuts to share?

And we finally were able to grow tomatoes - I think it only took 4 years! Not sure what (if anything) we did different this year but it worked and they are delicious.

I regularly read a few (not sewing) blogs that provide links on Fridays to random things from around the web that they wanted to share with their readers. I'm not sure if any of you would be interested but here are a few things that I enjoyed this week:

This salad from Pinch of Yum (one of my favorite recipe sites) has my family eating and loving kale (well, if you don't count the littlest members of my family.)

This series from A Cup of Jo about motherhood around the world. I thought it was fascinating and actually read back through the whole series.

Hmm, when I started writing this post, I actually thought I had more links to share. Would that be something you would be interested in (my providing random links to sewing and non-sewing things)? It wouldn't be every Friday (and it wouldn't even necessarily be on a Friday) but I'm wondering if I should start keeping a list of things and then when I have a few, write a post - what do you think? Do any of you do that?

And what is going on in your life this Friday?

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

blog hop week #4

Well, that went by fast. This is the last week of the 2014 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop. To see the list of bloggers from previous weeks, click here. And here is the list of bloggers to visit this week (and remember these bloggers will link you to another set of new quilt bloggers to visit as well!)

Serena @ Sew Giving
Jenny @ Jack's Room

Find more information about Chelsea Michal Designs, Custom Longarm Quilting, by visiting their facebook page (click here) and you can also follow Chelsea on Instagram (@chelseamichal).

And until July 31, 2014, Chelsea is offering 10% off your first long arm quilting service done by Chelsea Michal Designs to everyone who mentions "plum and june" when booking.

Friday, July 11, 2014

another pillow and a pillow question

oakshott ruby quilted pillow

Not much to say about this pillow. I just really liked the two pillows I made using the oakshott ruby F8th bundle that I wrote about a few weeks ago so I wanted to make a few more. For this one, I again used essex yarn-dyed linen and most of the fabrics from the bundle.

oakshott ruby quilted pillow

If you squint, you can see that I quilted just a few lines near the seams on each side of the more orange-y fabrics and then I densely quilted the linen. With the exception of a bright pink and a bright aqua, I don't have a wide variety of thread so I used the thread from my stash that matched best but it stands out a bit more than planned - oh, well.

oakshott ruby quilted pillow

Here's my question: I wonder if I need to get new cushion inserts because my pillows seem to have lots of extra fabric in the corners. I just keep recovering the same inserts - do you think they are shrinking from use? Admittedly, in real life, I don't even notice this but it really stands out to me in the photos. Still, if you have a solution, I would love to hear it! If it makes a difference to your suggestions, I basically always use the envelope method for the pillows and I do make them about 1" smaller than the insert. And if it seems that a new insert is the answer, then I'll just use the inserts I have now for pillows in my daughters' room - I doubt they'll care!

If you are looking for the fabric giveaway from Mad about Patchwork and/or the schedule for the new quilt blogger blog hop, click here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

blog hop week #3 and fabric giveaway

Welcome to the 3rd week of the 2014 New Quilt Blogger Blog Hop! As a reminder, I'll link to one group of new bloggers here and then when you visit them, they'll have another list of new quilt bloggers for you to find. And one more reminder, each of these bloggers is not only posting to introduce themselves but they will also be sharing their favorite blogging and quilting tips! To see the list of bloggers from past weeks, click here.
Janet @ Simply Pieced
Kristyn @ Melon Patch Quilts

Rachel @ Quiltineering

Linh @ Calling All Stitchers

And to celebrate the return of the blog hop, how about a fun fabric giveaway. Mad about Patchwork, one of my blog's sponsors, is giving one lucky reader a design roll from their shop - if you win, you can choose either Empire or Pretty Potent. *the photos in this post show just some of the fabrics in the design rolls, click on the links to see the actual design rolls.

Here is a little more about Mad about Patchwork from Pam, the shop's owner:

Mad About Patchwork is a Canadian online shop offering fabric choices for modern quilters. Over 180 bolts of Kona cotton solids, and the complete range of shot cottons from Westminster are always in stock. Lots of other popular basics are also well-stocked - Essex linen, Pearl Bracelets, Oval Elements, and Riley Blake. New in the shop are Anna Maria Horner knits for garment sewers. There is also an ever-changing selection of current designer collections, with books and patterns to inspire you. 

Pam started the shop from her home in Stittsville over 7 years ago, and has recently moved into a more spacious and well lit loft space just down the road. The new location makes it easier for local customers to drop by - same great fabric, same great service, same great prices. Kaisa and Sharyn help out in the shop, and Laura is opening her new Waffle Kisses Sewing Studio in the shared space.

Look for monthly features like the Kona Stash Builder - 10% off a selection of a seasonal selection of Kona - and the new Pitch It To Win It feature on the blog that gives you a chance to get some free fabric. There is a new curated bundle on sale every Monday, and Flickr Fridays give you another chance to win some free fabric. 

1. To enter to win an Empire or Pretty Potent design roll from Mad about Patchwork, just leave a comment on this post - any comment will do but if you want a topic, how about this - are you visiting any fun places this summer? (one entry/comment)

Bonus entries:
2. Plum and June followers - old and new - get a second entry. Just leave a comment saying how you follow. (one entry/comment)

3. For another entry, take a look around Mad about Patchwork and leave a comment with your favorite fabric (or fabrics) from their shop. (one entry/comment)

You can enter up to 3 times. Please make sure that your email address is in your comment if you are a no-reply commenter. The giveaway will stay open until Monday, July 14th at 8pm ET and a winner will be chosen at random and contacted by email.

Thursday, July 3, 2014


I just got back home from a vacation with my family (more on that soon) so I'm trying to figure out what I want to start working on. I don't really like working on more than one or two projects at a time so I think I'll finish this improv patchwork quilt top that my daughter and I started a few weeks ago.

While I mixed in other fabrics, most of the fabrics in this quilt are from a fat quarter bundle of Meadow by Leah Duncan. 

I was hoping to have enough of the bundle leftover for another project but that might not happen. Why? Well, I actually made the backing for this quilt first and it is huge. I think at least half of my fabric stash is novelty prints and while I love these fabrics, I just don't use them as much anymore - at least not enough for them to occupy so much shelf space. However, instead of destashing (which I usually do by giving fabric to my daughters to use), I decided to piece a bunch of backings for future projects (well, I've only actually made one backing so far.) And yes, I could just save this backing for another project but since as I said, I don't like having too many WIPs, I've decided to make the meadow quilt top large enough to match this backing. Plus, big quilts are better for cuddling under, right?

Have you done this before? Made the backing first? Made something specifically to use up your stash of a certain fabric? Actually, it will be great when I finish the top that the backing is all ready to go - don't you think?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

the quilt that almost wasn't

Back in early May, I made this quilt using an upcoming line called Feather River from Birch Organic Fabric for quilt market. I was excited to work with this line as I really liked the colors and patterns in these fun prints.

I finished the quilt top with plenty of time to spare (despite that I had just returned home from my 3rd trip in 5 weeks) and got ready to quilt it with my walking foot. Well, no point in going into details again but my walking foot was "unavailable" so I figured instead I would FMQ (free motion quilt) it. That would have been no problem a year ago but since it has been about that long since I've FMQ'd anything bigger than a mini, I kind of had to remember how!

I started FMQing the flower pattern I used to use frequently but it was just awful so I did what I don't usually do and unpicked it and put on my regular piecing foot, thinking I could just straight line quilt with that. Well, um, nope - that didn't work at all. Though I will say it has before so I'm sure stress had something to do with this :)

So, I unpicked the stitches AGAIN and put the free motion foot back on and decided to try the loop quilting you can see in the photo BUT my thread kept breaking, my stitches kept skipping, and I can't even remember what else but it just wasn't working. I put a photo with a call for advice on Instagram and within minutes I had several people offering their help. Hours later, a couple of facetime chats, and tons of suggestions tried, I was still having some issues but on a much smaller scale and I was able to finish the quilt. Quilty friends are the best! 

I should note that, because of all the travel, while I finished the quilt top with time to spare, I meant days, not the weeks it would have taken to bring my machine to the dealer and get it (and the walking foot) checked/fixed. Oh, and just FYI, the binding in the above photo is the canoes print from feather river - so cute! 

Anyway, the quilt made it to quilt market and I just wrote a tutorial/pattern if you want to try this design yourself. You can find it on the Birch blog.

I really should write a post about all the helpful advice I received that enabled me to actually finish the quilt. Okay, adding it to the list . .  .
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