Friday, December 31, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope all of you enjoyed a fantastic holiday season with family and friends!  We've had a busy couple of weeks here, but have loved every minute of it!

The December Le Petite parade will be happening over at the Pink Pincushion and A Quilting Life tomorrow.  Be sure to swing by and check out all of the fabulous projects.  This month, our project was Moda Bake Shop's Prairie Point Christmas wall hanging:

(The original by Cara of CaraQuilts)

After purchasing so much fabric recently (and getting a bit of a light-hearted scolding from my hubby about my growing stash), I was bound and determined to make December's project using only what I had on hand. After some hemming and hawing, I finally chose to use some fabric from one of Debbie Mumm's Christmas lines from a few years back.  I had to use a smaller square for my prairie points so that I didn't run out of fabric, and unfortunately that resulted a very squat tree.


I half-way considered mixing in some other prints and adding some rows to make the tree a little taller and even things out a bit, but it grew on me over the holidays and I decided to leave it as it was.

As always, I'm looking forward to seeing everyone else's projects tomorrow morning, and I'm hoping to have the rest of my holiday project photos upload to share tomorrow as well.

Hope you have a great New Year's Eve and that your New Year is filled with wonderful family and friends, much happiness, good health, great wine ... and lots of fabric!  HAPPY 2011!!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Holiday Crafts

Every year my hubby's office hosts a Holiday handmade gift fair, where employees (or their families) donate handmade gifts that are sold at the fair, and then all the proceeds are used to purchase Christmas gifts for the homeless or foster kids in need.

I had originally planned on just donating this winter table runner ...


... but when I came across Jennifer's (from That Girl, That Quilt) tutorial over at Stash Manicure for a Mug Rug with a tea pocket, I decided to give to make a couple of extra gifts to donate as well.




I've been seeing these "mug rugs" around blogland for awhile now, and after making two of them, I understand why they're so popular!  I mean, what's not to love about using those scraps from your favorite projects (that probably were too small to save for anything "practical" but were too beautiful to throw away) to make such cute little mini-quilt-coasters that can be completely finished in an hour flat!!  Plus, I'm finding that it's a great way to use batting scraps too!  I always feel so wasteful throwing away all my quilt sandwich trimmings, so I love having a new use for them.




Besides working on these three little holiday projects, not a whole lot of sewing has been going on in my little crafting room.  I did, however, take advantage of some crazy good "Black Friday" sales going on over at Connecting Threads and Burgundy Buttons.  I guess I went a little overboard ... as in 26 yards, plus a jelly roll, plus a layer cake ...



It's a beautiful sight to me, but hubby wanted to know if I actually was planning on using any of the fabric I already have.  I guess they just don't understand. :)  Needless to say, however, my stash for the year is WAY out of control.  I think it's best just to accept them and get ready to do much better in 2011!

Since I did have some small finishes this week, here is my current stash update:

Stash Update: November 4th - December 9th:
Used: 1.5 yards ... whoop-dee-doo.
Bought: 34.34 yards ... yikes!  (biggest purchase of the year, btw)
YTD: +93.9 yards

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Le Petit Project for November

Hooray!!  Today is the Novemeber Le Petite Parade over at The Pink Pincushion and A Quilting Life.  As always, everyone did a beautiful job.  I love seeing all of the different results that come from the same pattern. 

This month's pattern was Butter Churn by This and That Patterns:


I really liked the "Greek Square" and ribbon ends blocks, but for some reason, I just wasn't feeling the HST blocks around the border.  After playing around with the blocks in Electric-Quilts-6, here is my take on the quilt:

I just mirrored what were the "Ribbon V's" so that were "X's" instead, and then added a couple of extra Greek Square blocks so that everything was symmetrical.


I had originally planned to use the cream color background print in the middle of the Greek Square units again, but my Awesome layer cake came with so many great cream prints that I decided to include a few to offset the squares and break up the white a bit.


Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to quilt and bind it before today's submission deadline ... (hopefully this isn't going to become a habit with all of my Le Petite projects!!!!), so I can't count it towards my stash busting.  Bummer! Especially since my stash report is about to get out of control with all the post-Thanksgiving-Day sale fabric that is headed my way this week.

I'm taking a little break from my sewing machine this weekend, before I have to hunker down and finish all my super-secret Christmas gifts, but I'm hoping to start a new knitting project today (or two ... darn Ravelry has way too many cute projects!!!!), so maybe I'll have some new pictures to share soon.  Until then, happy sewing!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Free Holiday Cards at Shutterfly.com!

Hi fellow bloggers!

I know it's a little bit scary that I've mentioned the holidays and the end of the year in at least my last four posts.  I guess it's time for me to admit that the holidays are truly right around the corner!

Now, if you're like some of my friends and family, your Christmas cards have already been written, stamped, and are ready for the post office the day after Thanksgiving ... but if you're more like me, you're probably realizing that you really should get busy!!

This year I've found my favorite Christmas cards at Shutterfly.com.  I really enjoy the fact that they have modern, elegant cards with lots of photo placement (and editing!!!) options.  My favorites are here, here, and here.

They have some really great personalizable gifts like calendars and photo books as well!  I definitely have some Christmas gift ideas!

While most of the Christmas products are currently on sale, Shutterfly.com is giving bloggers 50 holiday cards for free, in exchange for a write-up or review of their Holiday Cards on your blog.  Details can be found on their website.  Hope you can take advantage of this great deal too!  Thank you to Poppy Seed Fabrics for posting the info on their blog!

2010 Projects

As mentioned in yesterday's post, I've been on a huge cleaning kick lately.  I've decided, while I'm at it, to clean up my blog a bit.  As 2010 is drawing to a close, I've decided to change all the individual headings of my major finished projects this year to "2010 Projects."  Here is a list of finishes this year that now "live" under this heading.

Puppy Dog Tails:


Cherish:



Haunted Home:


Modern Haunts:


Autumn Daisies:


Eva Striped Runner:




Falling Leaves Table Runner:


Martinique Twin Quilts:
(only surviving picture ... bummer!!)

Incognito



In the Jungle:


Allspice Quilt:

Northern Solitudes Table Runner:

Grandma's Birthday Quilt:


Valentine Disappearing Nine-Patch:



(Any other finishes for the year will go here)

I have to say, it's been a great year so far!  I think this is my largest number of finishes to date.  Yipee!

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's New?

Fall is my absolute favorite season, and I'm happy to say that it is finally hitting the Sacramento region!  While most of our trees have been picking up a little bit of color since mid-October, we've been having some unseasonably warm days lately, making it a little difficult to get into the autumnal spirit of things.  As of Saturday, however, the temperatures have dropped back down to where they should be, and we've some great, gloomy, rainy days -- and even some snow as low as 1500 ft!  Yay!


While this time of year is usually my favorite to either snuggle in with two puppies and a great book, or to hunker down in my craft room for some quality sewing time, lately, I seem to be off my groove.  Hubby and I are making some changes on the homefront, so we've spent most of the last week and a half in a frenzy of Spring-Cleaning-like activies.  I spent a good couple of evenings cleaning up my craft room, ironing and putting fabric away ... and I even tackled my crazy "shove" closet.  Everything is all neat and organized now ... but other than that not much has been going on, craft-wise.

I did happen across a stash of fat quarters that I purchase along with my sewing machine back in 2007, along with my first attempts at "quilting."  I had to laugh, because the blocks were really awful!  I hadn't invested in a rotary cutter or rulers yet, so I traced the shapes onto the FQ's (with no idea that grain direction made a {BIG} difference), and cut them out with scissors!  I hadn't quite figured out the whole 1/4" seam bit on my machine, so those first blocks were incredibly wonky, none of my seams matched up, and most of the blocks were about 3/4" (or more) smaller than they were supposed to be!

Unfortunately, I didn't stop long enough to take pictures ... I was really in "purge" mode at the moment ... but my first blocks really did make me smile and appreciate how far I've come!  I also have to say a big THANK YOU to all of you fellow bloggers - I've learned so much and been so inspired by your shared creativity!

While no significant new sewing has been going on, I have decided to use some of these scraps from my first blocks in a new quilt I'm working on.  My plan for 2011 is to do a series of quilt patterns using modern fabric with traditional quilt blocks.  The first pattern in the series should hopefully be releasing in the first part of January ... provided that I can be a good girl and finish all of my Christmas sewing in a timely matter.

Unfortunately, my super secret Christmas projects haven't received any love, which is scary since Christmas is only like 5 weeks away.  Yikes!  I have several open evenings this week, and a 3 day weekend following all of the Thanksgiving festivities, so I have no excuses for not having some sneak peak pictures ready soon!

I have made some progress on this month's Le Petite pattern (Butter Churn by This and That Patterns ...


... but after playing around with some of the square blocks and the little "ribbon" squares, I decided to make my piece a little bit bigger and completely re-worked the outter border, so that the finished project is about 40" square, instead of the 20-something" square shown in the pattern.  Leave it to me to make a project more complicated, especially when I'm on a tight time frame with other projects!  Oh well, it'll all work out.  It always does.

Happy Sewing!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fun with Wordle

Have you discovered Wordle yet?  All you have to do is enter in a series of words and phrases, or even just a web address, it it creates these fantastic word art pictures.  Just for fun, I plugged in my blog address and came up with this!



I love it!!  Especially, how the biggest words kinda reads like a Nike commercial ... "JUST QUILT!"

Wouldn't this make a great gift for a loved one in your life!  How special would it be to have all the kids and grandkids in your family brainstorm words and phrases describing thier parents/grandparents and then have the wordle printed and nicely framed!  Hmmm ... might have to add that to my Christmas gift list!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Stash and "5 Boxes" update

I didn't realize how long it's been since I've posted my stash update and the status of my 5 little boxes - yikes!

Stash Update: Sept. 18th through Nov. 4th, 2010
Used: 10.96 yards on Puppy Dog Tails, Cherish, and an autumny wall-hanging with matching table runner to be revealed soon!

Purchased: 18.78 yards, of which 12.5 will be used on super secret Christmas gifts and 4 yards was already used on Puppy Dog Tails.

YTD:  + 61.06 yards  ... good thing we get to start over in January!!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

5 Boxes Update

Boxes # 1 and #2:  Sorry to disappoint, but these two boxes contain super-secret Christmas WIP's.  I may post some sneak peaks over the next few weeks as the projects, but that's all the detail I can divulge at the moment!



Box #3 has been dedicated to my month Le Petite projects.  While October's Le Petite hasn't been bound yet (and thus, can't be counted as a bust yet), it's time to move on.  November's pattern is Butter Churn by This and That Patterns.  I've decided to make this into a wall hanging, but I can't decide whether to continue destashing (like I did for October's project) or to order that Awesome by Sandy Gervais layer cake.  We'll see


Box #4 still holds the pieces to my Country Inn quilt.  I've made absolutely no progress on it whatsoever, but I love it and can't put in on the shelf just yet.

Box #5 is currently empty.  Technically, it should be holding the 4 or so unfinished Fat Quarter Shop BOM shipments that really need to be completed ... but I'm going to leave it empty in case any surprise inspiriation comes my way!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *

Don't forget to check out the Blogger's Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side to check out all the beautiful quilt submissions!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival - Fall 2010

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt FestivalAmy's Creative Side is hosting a fantastic Blogger's Quilt Festival showcasing the many talents of our fellow quilty bloggers.  I was so inspired after looking at all the beautiful quilts that I decided to add my latest finish to the parade.

If you're interested in participating as well, Amy is accepting submission through Friday, November 5th.  All the details are here!

Our family and friends have been blessed with an abundance of babies lately!  Last count, we have 7 babies who are happily on the way or who have just been born.  As my absolute favorite gifts to give at baby showers are baby quilts, there have been a number that have left my sewing room over the past couple of months.  While I've loved them all ... this latest quilt is turning out to be my absolutely favorite!


This quilt is for a little guy who should be making his debut in just a couple of weeks.  I knew that the mommy-to-be was planning her nursery in shades of blue and brown, so I seized the opportunity to get my hands on that Pure layer cake and matching brown polka dot yardage I'd had my eye on for awhile.  I had been finishing up my Cherish quilt when I ordered the fabric online, so it wasn't until I actually had it in hand that I began to get an idea in my head of what I actually wanted to do with it.


I've really had a thing for quilts with a crisp, white background as of late, so I knew that I wanted to use my favorite white-on-white polka dot print behind some sort of a pinwheel-ish block.  After seeing all the 10" blocks laid out side-by-side in their colorways, I decided to pair up the blue/white prints and the brown/cream prints into two-tone double pinwheels.  With a little bit of chain piecing, the blocks for this quilt really flew together!!



One new-to-me technique that I used while piecing the blocks was directional seam pressing, as opposed to my normally favored method of just pressing the seams open.  I know that there is a lot of debate out there over these two methods and that there are pros and cons to both.  I've always personally just pressed my seams open because I felt like it gave me more control over precisely aligning my seams.  After having given the "other" method a shot, though, I have to say that I was very happy with the results and will probably (occasionally) use the method again.


In my mind, I had originally planned to set the blocks with white polka dot sashing and only use the brown polka dot print for the interesting squares at the corners.  Once I had all the blocks finished and laid out, the white was a bit over powering and almost made the quilt a bit feminine.  I set the blocks against the brown polka dot sashing instead and that was it - I was in love!


I've named this quilt Puppy Dog Tails, not only because "... that's what boys are made of ..." but also because when my little pups are happy, their tails wag a-mile-a-minute, kinda like pinwheels.

Luigi 

Lily

Thanks so much for stopping by on your Blogger's Quilt Festival parade!

If you're interested in making your own version of Puppy Dog Tails, please visit my etsy shop or my bigcartel shop to purchase the pattern.  Right now, it's on sale for $4.49!


Monday, November 1, 2010

Le Petite - October 2010

Today was the first Le Petite parade.  You can view all the submission at The Pink Pincushion or at A Quilting Life.  It was so much to see all the different interpretations and fabric choices come together from a single pattern.  We all started with Carrie Nelson's Paganini Schnibbles pattern.



The pattern included directions for four different piecing options, but I had had my eye on the pattern cover quilt for quite awhile, so that's what I opted to make, myself.  There was just something about that scalloped border!!

I purchased two Eden charm packs last spring and they seemed to be just the thing for this particular quilt.  I used the pink, yellow, purple, and white colorways, along with my favorite white-on-white floral background and came up with this:




I love how the brightly colored charm squares make the white background POP!

My initial plan for this quilt was to add a scalloped border, in white, just like Carrie's ... but once I had all the squares put together, I suddenly was having a hard time picturing the curvy border, but kept seeing a square, white border instead ... possibly with some multi-colored embroidered daisy-like flowers with a scrolly greenish vine -- perhaps a fantastic variegated matching thread?  This is just a really basic mock-up, but I think you get the jist of it.


I'm still playing around with ideas ... so this quilt top may go into hibernation for awhile until I'm sure of exactly how to finish it.

November's Le Petite project is Butter Churn by This and That Patterns. I'm think of using Awesome by Sandy Gervais to make a cheerful autumn wall hanging.  Please click on the Le Petite button on my side bar if you're interested in joining up in time fore the next parade.  Quilt pictures have to be submitted no later than November 30th.


Paganini pattern review, stash and 5 boxes update, plus new patterns should all be posted soon!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!  Hubby and I had a great day with my family.  We carved pumpkins together, stuffed ourselves with homemade goodies made by Mom (Thanks Mom!!) and celebrated our nephew's first Halloween.  Hubby's pumpkin was Baby Stewie from the Family Guy and I gave myself carpal tunnel carving out a witch sitting in her cauldron.

(We couldn't get Luigi out of the picture ... poor little guy just wanted to lick the pumpkins)



Hope your Halloween was just as great!!

Don't forget!  Today is the last day to submit your Le Petite quilts for October to either http://pinkpincushion.blogspot.com/ or http://www.aquiltinglife.com/.  Can't wait to see the parade of quilts tomorrow.  Here's a little sneak peak of mine!


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pacific International Quilt Festival Favorites, Part II

One of my favorite parts of going to quilt or trade shows is getting to discover new (or at least new-to-me) fabric and pattern designers, so I thought I'd share my favorite new-to-me designer from PIQF: Verna Mosquera from the Vintage Spool.  Her applique quilt patterns are absolutely to die for!  To be honest, I would have to say that Halloween is probably my least favorite holiday - so I was really surprised that my favorite Vintage Spool patterns were BOTH Halloween pieces.  But, if Halloween isn't really your thing either, she has some gorgeous Christmas and Valentine patterns too!

Pattern #1 is a Block-Of-The-Month project aptly named "EEEK!"  All the blocks are so adorable!

(Pattern and Photo Copyright: Verna Mosquera, The Vintage Spool)
Pattern #2 is another beautiful Block-Of-The-Month project called "Happy Hauntings."
(Pattern and Photo Copyright: Verna Mosquera, The Vintage Spool)

For more yummy pictures (including close-ups of the blocks) or to order a pattern, visit the Vintage Spool website.