Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Wednesday - WIP and Wrap Up

What I'm working on and what I've recently finished:

Inspired by all the picnic blankets I've been seeing around like Svetlana's and Rachel's, I cut out 10 inch squares from most of the fabrics in my stash and used an old sheet for the backing and straps.  I had a good number of novelty fabrics that I added in so that I can use it for I spy when the baby gets a bit older and we are watching her sisters play soccer.

A little front zip pouch for me!  (I left off the straps but I basically used this technique again.)

Another one of Jeni's drawstring bags - this time big enough to fit several baby toys.

Getting ready for a hand-stitched hexagon project!

Testing a fun embroidery pattern for a blog friend - I'll be showing the finish later this month.  I'm also working very slowly on my needlepoint project every so often.

My school rules mini quilt was the featured tutorial on Sew Can She last Friday.  Caroline has links to lots of wonderful tutorials - if you are looking for some inspiration, you should check out her website.

 Practically Paper Piecing

And last, but so definitely not least - Kristy from Quiet Play has organized a great paper piecing blog hop (isn't that the cutest button?!?)  It starts tomorrow and my day is August 21st.  And it all culminates in a link party with some fab prizes.  Click here to find this week's schedule.

A Quilter’s Table

Debbie at A Quilter's Table started this fun link up at the beginning of July and all month, I've been telling her that I have this picnic blanket in the works that I'm going to add - well, it ends at midnight tonight so I am just in time!

I'm also linking to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Blog Hop News 11

Plum and June

Up this week:

July 31
    Audrey from Hot Pink Quilts
    M-R from Quilt Matters

Aug 2
    Jennifer from GH Quilting
    Danny from MommyFor Reals

Plum and June

The complicated rules:
1.  Anyone who is participating or following along with the hop can add a link that is quilting or sewing-related.
2. Link up any post you want - old or new from your blog.  When the link tool asks for your name, type in the name of one of the sports you are looking forward to watching (or participating in) this week.  
3. If you have any current blog events, link them here as well - just put the name of the event when the link tool asks for your name.
4.  Please consider linking to this page from your blog (either in a post or from your sidebar) so others can join in as well.
5.  Please visit (at least) the person who links up before you and leave a comment to say hello!

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Scrappy Modern Baby Quilt

Ever since my littlest was born 9 months ago, I have been wanting to make her both an I spy baby quilt and a quilt with her name on it.

I also have been trying to pull from my scrap box for most of my recent projects.

So, using mostly scraps of prints and solids, I made her this scrappy modern baby quilt with some I spy on the top and bottom and some flaps in the middle that reveal her name when lifted.

Unfortunately, the quilting is, um, atrocious!  But the intended 9 month old recipient certainly doesn't mind and I have to say, I don't mind it either.  If you read my blog, you may know that I am searching for a new sewing machine and have been using my kid's inexpensive, manual machine which has a tiny harp space and no walking foot or FMQ capacity.  I actually don't really mind using it but when I went to quilt this - yikes - yes, I really need to go shopping!  My oldest daughter told me that she actually likes this quilting and since it isn't FMQ, she decided to call it "freestyle quilting"  But, I still think it is time for me to pick out a new sewing machine and buy it!  I am sure my daughters are nodding their heads in agreement reading this as they really want their sewing machine back.

I haven't hand-stitched a binding in a long time but there was no way this machine and I would have made it through machine-stitching this one!  I forgot how much I love the look and process of the hand-stitched bindings.

I went with some colorful fabrics for the back to offset the browns and greys used for the top.  I also used some flannel on both sides thinking the baby might like the different textures.

I'm still working my way through this quilt and I am now SO glad that I decided to hand-quilt it!

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced, Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story, and Sew & Tell at amylouwho.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Blog Hop News 10

July 24
    Colby from Sew Quilt Explore
    Fiona from  Celtic Thistle

July 26
    Mary from Spoolhardy Girl
    Fiona from Finding Fifth

Plum and June

The complicated rules:
1.  Anyone who is participating or following along with the hop can add a link that is quilting or sewing-related.
2. Just link up any post you want - old or new from your blog.  When the link tool asks for your name, what about typing in the name of your favorite ice cream flavor.
3.  It is up to you but consider linking to this page from your blog so others can join in as well.
4.  Please visit (at least) the person who links up before you and leave a comment to say hello!

Hey Blog Hoppers - link the events you are hosting on your blog here and on the main blog hop page!  Just list the name of your event and your blog when the link tool asks for your name.

Plum and JuneThe Advice for New Bloggers series and The Let's Figure It Out Together Series are going on a short summer break.  Click here and here to catch up on any posts you may have missed.  Both series will be back in August and so will some more fun giveaways!
Plum and JuneIf you have a few minutes, let me know in the comments what questions/issues you would like to see addressed in either series.  

The winner of last week's giveaway from Sew Fresh Fabrics is #10:  Stephanie J.  Congrats!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

TGIFF and A "Precious" Front Zip Pouch

Wow - is it Friday already?  Okay, I'm actually writing this on Thursday night but seriously, I feel like I was just putting up the Monday Link Up and telling you all to come back to link up your finishes!

If you are new to TGIFF, it stands for Thank Goodness It's Finished Friday and it is a link party organized by M-R of Quilt Matters (who is participating in the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop) and Laura of Quokka Quilts.  M-R and Laura host on certain Fridays but the link party is hosted by other bloggers the rest of the month - if you are interested in hosting, click here for more information.

The hosting rules dictate that the host first show his/her finishes:

When I first started blogging, I rarely had any WIPs - I would just finish each project before starting a new one.  However, since becoming involved in this quilting/sewing blog-o-sphere, I've been trying so many new and challenging things and have gone from mainly making mini's and simple totes to larger, more complicated (at least for me) projects including quilts, bags, clothing, and pillow covers.  And why am I writing this?  Well, because now my WIP posts are getting longer and my finishes posts are getting well, you know . . .  

So, I was hoping I would have finished one of the WIPs I wrote about here but I just got further along on those projects - not actually finished.   Especially the picnic blanket - it is huge!  And I've been searching through the old, damaged sheets my daughters use to build forts to see if I can salvage enough material for the backing.  

But I do have a few bags to show that I've finished recently but haven't blogged about yet.  The top two are more versions of the quilted totes I love to make (the tutorial really is coming soon - more on that later!)

This last one was requested by my middle daughter - she searched through my fabric box and brought me a pile of fabrics and the cool rainbow strap.  It has been so long since I made one of these front-zip shoulder bags that I actually had to keep referring back to the tutorial I wrote a few months ago (much to my daughter's amusement!)  I made this one a bit bigger to fit a book and I boxed the bottom.  And not only did we use my Melody Miller typewriters and some Echino for this bag, I used the last of my precious Mendocino fabric (I have about a 8x4" piece left) so I'm linking this up at Kelby Sews for the My Precious QAL.  

Oh, and see that little bit of fabric on the strap? Lesson learned - if you let your 7 year old measure the strap for you, make sure you measure it again yourself BEFORE you finish the entire bag!  

Click here to enter this week's awesome fabric giveaway and to read a great advice post from Kerry of veryberrykerry.   And if you are new to my blog and want more information about the Let's Get Acquainted Blog Hop and all the accompanying series, click here.

Now it is your turn to show us your finishes! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

WIP Wednesday

I'm so excited to link up for this week's WIP Wednesday as my blogging friend Taryn of From Pixels to Patchwork is hosting.  Taryn was one of the first bloggers I met when starting my blog (through the small blog meet at Lily's Quilts) and I think she was even one of my very first followers.  And she is part of the blog hop!

This pillow is almost done - I just need to find a better pillow insert (do I say this every time I post a pillow?!?)  It was paper pieced using a template from Patchwork Notes.  And I pulled from my scrap basket for almost everything!

After seeing Svetlana's great picnic blanket, I got inspired to make one before the summer's over.  I'm using 10 inch squares - I have a few more to cut and then I plan to start piecing tomorrow.  I'm basically just using a square or two from every fabric in my stash!  Hope it all goes together okay in the end.

And this is the crazy nine patch that I blogged about here.  The quilt top is finished and I decided to hand quilt it so I guess I would say this is my lazy hazy days of summer project!

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is up to!

And don't forget to check out this week's advice post from Kerry of verykerryberry plus a great fabric giveaway - you can find it here.  Oh, and I'm hosting TGIFF here on Friday so it would be fun if you came back to link up your finishes.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Blog Hop News Week 9: Advice and Givewaway

Plum and June

Weekly Calendar:

July 17
    Katie from Kati's Quilting
    Claire from Sewing over Pins
    Caroline from Quilting in the Cold

July 19
    Jamie from Sweet Baby Jamie
    Janine from Rainbow Hare Quilts

Plum and June

This week's guest post is by Kerry from verykerryberry.  This is another of my favorite blogs - I love all her cute and inspiring projects.  And I always love her fabric choices.  Plus, with my new interest in paper piecing, Kerry's blog is a great resource (as is her other blog Sew-Ichigo.)  And she also has a great collection of blogging tips on her blog.  

Thank you to Beth for inviting me to share a few thoughts in her Advice for New Bloggers feature.  I am Kerry and I blog over at verykerryberry.  There have been some great contributors already so I thought I would narrow my focus down to voice.  This is the biggest thing for me in blogging.    Blogging is ultimately a form of diary keeping in words and pictures so I want to feel some truth and integrity beyond the pictures or the recipes, or the goods or service they may also provide.    I am attracted to blogs where I feel an openness, a willingness to share ideas and inspiration and a little bit of themselves.  I don't need to know a blogger's inner deepest darkest secrets but I like to give a piece of me when I blog and I guess I like the same in others.   When I have got to know this type of blogger better, the person never disappoints.   

Ayumi's Pink Penguin blog was one of the first I followed and she has become great friend.

Popsicles Pattern!
Image from Pink Penguin via verykerryberry

Her blog is such an inspiring place to visit.  It is clean and easy to navigate, there are lots of free patterns and tutorials and she connects with her readers,  responding to comments no matter how busy she is.  She has no pretence and is honest and open and her many blog readers reflect how much people appreciate this.

Many of you will be familiar with Lynne from Lily's quilts.  From her early days of blogging, what has stood out is her humour and her willingness to share. We have sent many emails back and forth over all sorts of quilting and non quilting issues and meeting her in person was lovely and confirmation that she is as easy to sit and chat to as she is to read.  You hear Lynne in her posts, it is like she is standing there talking with you.
ET phone home quilt block
Image from Lily's Quilts via verykerryberry
 She blogs with warmth and sincerity, straight from the heart and is an endlessly generous blogger.

Anna Maria Horner is a great example of someone who despite her busy working and family life, genuinely loves blogging and connecting- not because we are her potential customers but because she loves what she does and likes to connect with others who feel the same.  I never feel like she is corporate in any way despite being a massive brand in the quilting world.

Close up Swoon
Image from Anna Maria Horner via verykerryberry

Her blog still feels personal, never commercial and on Instagram she posts the usual mix of pics like everyone else of pets, kids, home and works in progress. I admire her hugely for keeping it real and her free flowing creativity is reflected in her fabrics, her new range Field Study, look incredible!

Blogging is a multi platform activity.  I love Instagram. It is such a fast way to capture and share images and is a great aid to blogging as the pictures are easily sent to Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.   Instagram has its own community of commenters and likers which feels friendly and intimate- it is a gentle, supportive way to connect with other bloggers.  Twitter is a little different.  It took me a while to get the hang of Twitter.  It takes time to get to know how it works- Laura did a great post on this here.  Twitter is fast and there is nothing better than your twitter friends for a speedy bit of advice, I have had responses in seconds.  Katy Jones (Imagingermonkey) is the Mistress of Twitter and Instagram.  She is fresh, funny and fast.  She is all those things in person too!

liberty constellation
Image from I'm a Ginger Monkey via verykerryberry

Katy also demonstrates the different feel you can get from a blogger depending on the social media they use.  She has a different voice for each platform and they all relate and complement each other.   She is a skilled communicator and gives a lot of herself to each medium, nothing is neglected.  It is hard work, you have to love it to do it so skillfully on so many platforms.  You need to use Twitter to really understand it and get beyond weekly tweets announcing that a new blog post is up.  Twitter is in the here and now, it is micro blogging on the run and its speed can make it the funniest and rudest place.  I laugh loudest and hardest on twitter rather than Instagram or blog reading.   I feel like I dip in and out of Twitter between the demands of work and family and sewing but there is always someone there and always something I can connect with.   If you want a way into Twitter, shared events like #fqchat create new ways to get to know your blogging friends and make new ones.

I hope my ramble helps you in the world of blogging.  Above all,  be yourself, that's the best advice I can give for life generally or just blogging!
sib blog

Thanks Kerry!
Plum and June

Are you inspired to get on Twitter and Instagram after Kerry's post?  I've been using both more often recently and have participated in the chat she mentioned - and let me just say - that was a super fun and funny chat.  One of the questions asked and discussed was what fabric would you want with you on a deserted island?!?  If you are already using Twitter or Instagram or sign up for the first time this week, find me so we can "figure it out together" - ha, ha.  You can look me up as plumandjune for both.  

Check out the list of tutorials from blog hoppers here.  And here are this week's highlights:
Intro to HTML by Echinops and Aster
Personalizing your Blogger Comment by Made by ChrissieD
How to Have Your Blog Linked in Your Profile by Fabric Engineer

This week's giveaway is from Sew Fresh Fabrics.  Peg is offering one lucky person a $40 gift certificate to her wonderful fabric shop.   She has a great selection including some really fun bundles - I especially like her stash builders organized by color and her Kona bundles that she puts together inspired by recent fabric lines.  And if you are looking for it, Peg has a great selection of Birds and Bees.

To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment on this post - any comment.  Want a topic - how about letting me know if you have used any of the advice we have received through the advice series.  One comment per person for an entry.  This giveaway will remain open until Saturday, July 21, 2012 at 8pm EDT and one winner will be chosen at random.  And, please, unless you are sure that you are NOT a no-reply blogger, write your email address in your comment.  The winner will be announced in the Blog Hop News on July 23, 2012.

The winner of last week's giveaway from Poppyseed Fabrics is:  MichalaJuly 9, 2012 6:09 AM Congrats!

The complicated rules:
1.  Anyone who is participating or following along with the hop can add a link that is quilting or sewing-related.
2.  For this week, what about linking up an old blog post that you got a different response than what you had expected - either one that got more comments, pins, or links than you would have thought or vice versa.   When the link tool asks for your name, write the name of your favorite breakfast.  
3. You can also link up your recent post - when the link tool asks for your name, write the name of your second favorite breakfast BUT I'm hosting TGIFF this Friday so consider whether you want to link your recent posts now or then (or both, I guess?!?)
4.  It is up to you but consider linking to this page from your blog so others can join in as well.
5.  Please visit (at least) the person who links up before you and leave a comment to say hello!

Hey Blog Hoppers - link the events you are hosting on your blog here and on the main blog hop page!  Just list the name of your event and your blog when the link tool asks for your name.