Thursday, November 20, 2014

Scraps, Inc - Autumn Flight

Have you heard of the Elephant and Piggie books? My 3 year old daughter has several books in that series including one called We are in a Book and while writing this post, I keep thinking of Gerald (the elephant) when he finds out he is in a book - because um, I'm writing this post to let you know that I am in a book! 

The book is called Scraps, Inc and is published by Lucky Spool. The book is all about scrap quilts (my favorite!) and includes designs from 15 designers. There really are so many amazing quilts in the book and the photography is gorgeous! You can see some of the other quilts on Lucky Spool's website by clicking here.

My contribution is Autumn Flight (shown above) and includes a bit of improv piecing and triangles. When I get the quilt back, I plan on taking lots of photos and I'll write a longer post about the specifics including my process. I did take a few pics before sending it to the publisher but I was so worried about accidentally ruining the quilt while taking the photos that well, you know. . .  

Scraps, Inc was published earlier this month and Lucky Spool is currently offering the book for 30% off until December 1, 2014 at 11:59EST. You can find it at this link - and the code is SCRAPS30. 

I am so excited to have been included in this book. Working with Susanne Woods and Lucky Spool was a wonderful experience and I think they produced a fantastic book. The book should be arriving at my doorstep any day now and I really can't even imagine what it is going to feel like to open that package. And what is also really exciting for me is how very excited my daughters (and the rest of my family) are for me - I think my 9 year old has told everyone she knows! It still seems unreal to write it but Yikes - I'm in a book! (And is it okay to admit that Gerald's reaction after finding out he is in a book resonates with me too - his next line is "That is so cool!" - um, yep!)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

blogger's quilt festival

I'm not really sure what is up with my post writing these days - I keep writing and deleting, writing and deleting, stepping away, coming back, writing and deleting. 

Well, this is my entry for the blogger's quilt festival. I really wish I had remembered that the blogger's quilt festival was this month and saved a project or two to post about but - um, well, I didn't. I originally wrote about this pillow earlier this month. It is basically my most recent try at making something for my couch that I'll hopefully like looking at every day. I've had handmade pillows on my couch since I started sewing but I've never quite made one that fits the aesthetic of my first floor. It is kind of like I wrote about in the post about why I'm redoing the removable covers for my dining room chairs. Don't get me wrong - I love novelty prints (or are they called conversation fabrics or illustrated fabrics?) and I will continue to use them often especially when making things for my daughters. And I love my pile of patchwork quilts that we use almost every day for keeping us warm but, hmm, I'm not even sure how to explain this to me, let alone write about it. I just haven't yet made anything that "fits" - well, this might be it, at least it feels like it "fits" the October 2014 me.  So, while this pillow is not an award winning, wow project - it is my current favorite and that is why I'm using it for my entry this year.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Improv Patchwork Quilt (sort of)

I'm not sure why but I have a difficult time starting something new if I know I have a WIP waiting to be finished. I know some people prefer having lots of projects going on at the same time and I definitely see the benefits of that but I prefer to start new projects with a clean slate. So, since I have a couple of projects I need to start, I decided to first finish this WIP from a few months ago.

Well, it is not that I don't like having any WIPs, just none that are as close to being done as this was. For this quilt (which I last wrote about in the beginning of July), I just needed to add several more rows and quilt it since I had already completed the back BUT I knew if I had to add the number of rows necessary to make it the size of the backing that it would continue to be a WIP and I would never start my other projects. So I just added a few more rows so that it would be a big throw size and backed it with some flannel from my stash. Actually, I guess having that finished backing means I kind of, sort of have a lingering WIP then, right?


Actually, size is not the only reason I chose to make a different back. Um, well, I only have one package of batting in my house right now (and only a very small batting scrap) and I want to use those for my other projects. Yes, I could have just ordered more batting and I considered that but instead I decided to try backing it in flannel without any batting - which I guess makes it more of a coverlet? 

Since I didn't have to worry about quilting it according the batting instructions, I barely quilted it at all - just some random, somewhat wavy horizontal lines spaced very unevenly throughout the quilt.

Then when it came time to add the binding, I'm not sure what I was thinking but I just folded the front over to the back and used that for the binding. I 'm not sure how to describe it but you can see in the photos. I've seen people do this by folding the back over to the front (which I considered) but I liked it better this way. I even got one of the corners to miter the right way!


Well, it might not be the best quilt I ever made but it is out of the WIP "pile" and will soon be being used so YAY! Right???

Monday, October 6, 2014

quilted applique pillow


When you make new pillow covers, do you just buy new inserts? Do you take off the old covers and store them for the seasons? Or do you do what I do and just put the new cover over the old one???


Eventually, I'd like to buy more inserts and have more pillows on my couch but my motivation for this pillow was to replace one I recently made that didn't fit in my living room the way I thought it would. I wanted something really simple and I wanted to only use fabrics from my stash so I pieced together the simple two color background and quilted it heavily with light pink aurifil and then added the half circle applique. 

I actually used these fun novelty prints for the back of the pillow. Since I was only using stash fabrics, I figured I might as well choose from my novelty fabrics since I don't use those as often as I used to. 

Just a side note - I used french seams to piece together the bottom panel which was quick, easy, and worked well and I'll definitely use that technique again when piecing pillow backs.


And another side note - the light was so great on my couch when I was taking these photos. I seriously should have taken pics of my kids instead!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

improv baby quilt turned sewing machine cover

Have I mentioned that I haven't sewed anything since July??? Possibly I've mentioned that in every recent post - ugh! Anyway, this is another little project I made during the summer. I can't remember how I got started or what my original plan was - though, I'm pretty sure that these fabrics all just came from my scrap drawer.  What I do know is that I didn't use any batting and that I lightly quilted it to an old(ish) flannel baby blanket and that if I just add some binding and ties, that it is the perfect size to use as a sewing machine cover -- and that covering a sewing machine that isn't getting much use these days is a good idea -- and that I'm now hopeful that I will be sewing again soon!

Monday, September 22, 2014

modern applique mini quilts

I keep writing and erasing the words for this post. I'm not really sure I have much to say about these mini quilts especially since I already wrote about the pink pineapple quilt

Well, let's see - the quilts are all freehand cut raw edge applique and I quilted the background before sewing on the applique as I described in the tutorial I wrote recently for my fox pillow. I made these all within a few days of each other back in July (the last time I sewed!!!) and they are now "displayed" on the walls of my 9 year old's room.  Hm, what else . . . my favorites are the more modern ones; my daughter's favorites are the pineapple and the flowers. 

I have to admit though that I'm not sure how I feel about these quilts - part of me thinks they look like they were made, or at least designed, by one of my daughters (they weren't.) But I really enjoyed the process of making these and plan to experiment with more applique in the future. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

acorn trail fox pillow

Just wanted to show you this little pillow I made using a new fabric line from Birch Organic. Acorn Trail was designed by Teagan White who also designed one of my favorite fabric lines last year, Fort Firefly (see the pillows I made with that here.)

Just like with Fort Firefly, I love the color palette of this line and all of the details in the novelty prints. And I plan on eventually making a fun quilt using the rest of the prints. I also made a dress for my daughter using Acorn Trail that I shared on my blog earlier this summer.

My tutorial for this pillow is now on the Birch blog - let me know if you have any questions.

And just FYI, Birch sent me this fabric but all opinions are my own!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

drawstring bags

Have I mentioned that I made a ridiculous number of drawstring bags for my daughters to organize their "stuff" this summer using a fantastic tutorial by Svetlana? So, my question is why, when my oldest daughter needed one for school yesterday, did I have to give her one of mine?!?!?! My suspicion is that my two youngest decided to keep these all for themselves - I guess I'll be going on a scavenger hunt later today!

Monday, August 25, 2014

around the world blog hop

When my friend Heidi from Fabric Mutt asked me to be the next stop in the Around the World blog hop that has been making its way around the online quilting world recently, I was happy to say yes. Basically, being part of this hop involves answering a few questions and inviting a few others to join in.

1. What am I working on?

Well, not much sewing has been going on here recently. And by not much, I mean, I have not sewn anything at all for almost a month. Yep - my kids are starting school this week with not one new handmade item to speak of (I know - cue the tiny violins!) But this is a big difference from the past two years

However, I have been inspired by Anne and her genius QDAD idea and I have been designing plenty of quilts - and maybe, just maybe, I'll actually make one of them one day.

2. How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I always like reading the answers from other bloggers for this question but it really is a difficult one to answer. Since all of our work is an extension of us, then I think that all of our work differs from others, right? But to be more specific to me, I guess I would say that my answer is that I usually prefer to use my own designs (like many others) but that since I prefer not to focus on details like straight lines and matched points, I make quilts where those things really don't matter. I don't know if just sounds like I'm being lazy - I really don't think I am, I just prefer to concentrate on other things. So, I guess everything I make really has that handmade look - intentional or not.

3. Why do I create what I do?

I seriously don't even know how to answer this question. I love being surrounded by handmade things -whether it is a quilt to cuddle under, a scarf to keep me warm, an original piece of art for my wall, or even simply a dress that makes my daughter twirl nonstop. And I like being able to give handmade gifts - which I hope the recipient will enjoy. I also really enjoy learning new skills - whether it involves fabric, thread, paper, or um, chocolate!

4. How does my creative process work?

Basically, I just get an idea in my head and then I just make it up as I go. This is especially true of my quilting process. I don't usually sketch before I start, nor do I try to figure out specific measurements. I just start sewing - making changes as I'm working. Earlier this year, I started using a design wall and that has changed my process a bit by giving me the ability to easily try out different combinations and arrangements before committing to anything. 

Now it is my turn to invite three more bloggers to participate in the around the world hop. I've chosen three of my blogging friends that I've known for a while (and who still blog regularly.) All three of them make absolutely gorgeous things and have their own distinct style. They are Erica from kitchen table quilting, Svetlana from S.o.t.a.k Handmade, and Jess from the Elven Garden. Look for their posts next Monday, September 1st.

Monday, August 18, 2014

new (removable) chair covers

I was about to start this post by saying "A few months ago, I made some removable chair cushion covers for my dining room chairs." I then searched my blog so that I could link to the post and realized the post was from June 2013 - over a year ago! I honestly thought I made them earlier this year. The worst part is that in that post I write about how I only made 4 of the 6 I needed and that I would be making the rest soon (click here to read it.) Crazy!

Well, anyway - I made the last two and I actually plan to replace the original four to match the recent ones - guess I'll write about that in 2015. 

For this first cover, I experimented with the quilting like I did for this pillow.

However, for the second cover, I just quilted straight lines on the chambray fabric since the quilted large triangles on the first one weren't allowing the cover to lay flat enough for a chair cushion cover. I also substituted a dark gray with pink dots fabric for the sketch fabric to mix it up a bit and NOT because I ran out of the sketch :) For both covers, I stitched around a few of the leaves but mostly left that fabric unquilted.

I plan to make the other four covers with a similar color/fabric scheme but to give each its own personality. And just like the original cushion covers, I just sewed some ties to the back of the cover to attach it to the chair. The ties are easy to remove from the quilts (ask me how I know!) so I'll either just keep the original covers nearby to use when these are in the wash or I'll remove the ties and give them to my daughters for doll quilts. Either way, they definitely won't go to waste.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

another almost geranium dress

acorn trail geranium dress

One of these days I plan on trying another dress pattern but I think this makes my fifth geranium dress. I guess I'm getting my money's worth! Though I think I've only made one that doesn't have a major error (user error - I don't blame the pattern at all!) If you look at the photos, you might think the mistake has something to do with the seam between the bodice and the skirt - but that is minor. The real mistake is that I forgot that you have to cut both a back and a front for the skirt and I didn't realize it until after I finished the bodice. Yes, I know I could have just used other fabric (I didn't have enough left of this one) but I wanted to use this fabric and I figured I might as well try it. Well, it isn't exactly the geranium - but it still works!

acorn trail geranium dress

I didn't think I had been able to get any good photos of the dress the first time my 2 year old wore it, so I took more photos the second and third time and then realized that I actually had quite a few to use. So here are a few more . . .

acorn trail geranium dress

acorn trail geranium dress

acorn trail geranium dress

Hm, is this last photo collage totally bizarre with the two half pics on top of each other?!?! I can't decide what I think.

I used fabric from a new line coming soon from Birch Organic. It is Acorn Trail by Teagan White who also designed one of my favorite fabric lines last year - Fort Firefly (see the pillows I made with it here.) 

And here are the links to my other geranium dresses: here and here.

Monday, July 28, 2014

pink pineapple applique

pineapple applique mini quilt

pineapple applique mini quilt

pineapple applique mini quilt

I'm still not sewing very much these days but ever since I used applique as the main technique in a mini quilt for a tutorial earlier this month (which I'll hopefully share later this week or next), I've started thinking of all the quilts I want to make using applique! Actually, it is so rare that I write about applique that I'm not even sure if I'm using the word properly in the sentence - do I say "make a quilt using applique" or can I just say "applique a quilt" or do both work? I should probably figure that out since it looks like I might be sharing lots of applique projects in the near future. 

But the real question is:  pineapple or strawberry??? My plan was pineapple but hmm . . . 

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!