Friday, December 21, 2012

My all-time favorite Christmas album is John Denver's Rocky Mountain Christmas.  I am by no means a country music (or John Denver fan) but I can listen to this album over and over again this time of year.  When I was little, it was the record my Dad always played Christmas Eve after we came home from an evening mass.  I have memories of sitting in front of a roaring fire, enjoying the music and peppermint hot chocolate, waiting for my Mom to put my youngest brother to bed, so that we could finishing prepping for Santa and putting together our tray{s} of Christmas cookies for breakfast the following morning.  When I was a little older and generally chose to spend all my evenings in my room, I remember if the house was quiet enough, I could still hear the music playing from the family room, downstairs below my bedroom - maybe I even left my bedroom door cracked open a bit for the occasion.  When my hubby and I started dating, and we would spend Christmas Eve with his extended family, I always made sure that I had a copy of the CD in my car for the ride home.  There was something about driving home in the quiet of the wee hours of Christmas morning, enjoying the peace and serenity of the music, coupled with the fog-muted glow of the neighborhood Christmas lights, that made the holiday seem a little bit magical.

I happy to be stealing a few minutes tonight to unwind and listen to my favorite songs - it makes me happily anticipate our long drive home this Christmas Eve.  I know that these few days before the holiday are typically filled with stress, and bustle, and maybe even a little bit of drama - here's wishing you a few quiet moments of Christmas peace to enjoy!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday WIP

Seasons Greetings {man ... it feels weird to be saying that already!}

Sorry for the inadvertent blogging break!  Between Little Man's first birthday and party, family visiting, the Thanksgiving break, and about 1,000,001 germs that seemed to all move into our house in rapid succession, my little blog has been sorely neglected!  Rather than try and catch up on everything that's been going on, I'm just going to jump right back into the swing of things with my Wednesday WIP post.

Now, as of yesterday, my plan was to share a colossal quilt I've been working on since August, using Etchings by 3 Sisters for Moda.  The blocks have had control of my design wall for way too long, and construction seems to be limping along, at best, even though I really love the pattern and the fabric is so gorgeous!  Unfortunately, while uploading my photos this morning, I happened to notice that I pieced several of the blocks backwards.


It might look like a minor mistake from afar, but it will take quite awhile to fix and pretty much undoes all of my sewing efforts from the weekend - sigh! - so, I've decided that this quilt needs to take a break for awhile, at least until we can be friends again.

I decided, instead, to get my work space into a more festive frame of mind, and have pulled out my trusty 2010 Fat Quarter Shop Christmas BOM.  Their fabric allotment is always SO generous - I found that I had enough to make three of each of the blocks just by providing my own background print for half of them!


Luckily, the majority of the unfinished blocks are already cut, so I'm looking forward to some piece-ful sewing evenings with some good audio books.  Maybe I might even get lucky and finish in time for Christmas this year!  Fingers crossed!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

My little man is turning one!

I know that every single parent says this about their child, but I cannot believe how fast the last year has flown by!  Hubby and I were waxing sentimental last night, looking through Aiden's baby pictures - it's so amazing to see how much they grow and change in such a short span of time!

I've had my heart set on an owl-themed first birthday party for awhile now, and I've been going a little crazy on pinterest the last couple of days.  There are just so many stinkin' cute ideas!  These are just a few of my favorite inspiration pieces from my owl board...

1. EfemeraInk 2. Retro Mama 3. Wants and Wishes
4. Fondant Fantasy 5. Magenta Cakes 6. My Sweet Prints
7. Christines Critters 8. Mary Had A Little Party 9. Cake Central
I've spent the last few evenings having way too much fun with all sorts of crafts and I'm hoping to finish them up this weekend so that I can post a few pictures ... but until then, here's a little sneak peak.  I love her!!



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

{More} Fall sewing

I think fall is my favorite season for sewing!  There's just something about the color palettes that make me happy and inspired to sew!

I think my favorite quilt block this year is the Carpenter Star - I love it and I've used smaller versions in several projects already, but I wanted to play around with a project that used one big block!



Now, I'm usually more of a minimalist when it comes to quilting, but I decided to step out of my comfort zone with this project and went with some dense, straight line quilting around the insides of the outer blocks, and a medium-crosshatch for the inner block.  Even though burying those threads took forever, I'm thrilled with how it turned out.

available in my shop
This design really makes a quick and easy fall project - the perfect project to get a quick fall fabric fix!  Patterns are available in bout our etsy and craftsy shops!


I also managed to finish the binding on a project I started a few years ago.  I used fusible webbing and applique to create "cheater" Drunkard's Path blocks ... and named it "Hard Cider" after one of my favorite fall potables.


I really love how the alternating white and color rounds give the piece a fun, art deco feel.

available in my shop

I'm linking up this week with Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story - be sure to stop by and check out some great projects in blogland!

Oh - and before I forget!  The pattern for Cotillion is finally available on Craftsy and Etsy.  Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fall Sewing

It's still been a little melancholy around here.  My grandfather is finally at rest and I feel so fortunate that we were able to spend some quality time with him and with the whole family in those last few weeks.

The hustle of all the travelling and planning has quieted down, and the three of us are over all the gross germs we picked up from the airport.  It feels like we're finally starting to sink back into our familiar rhythms at home.

I've actually managed quite a bit of sewing, but {shockingly, I know} haven't quite been able to keep up with sharing them here.  Since it's WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced, I thought I'd start with my current fall WIP:

This quilt top was originally an UFO from 2010.  The project started out as a pattern from the monthly Le Petite Club, but to be honest, I just wasn't crazy about it.  After playing around with the basic building blocks and dimensions a bit, I came up with a design that I really liked ... but it looked nothing like the original!


At the time, I was at a loss as to how to finish the quilt.  I felt like it definitely needed some sort of a  border - and more than just a solid one, at that - but I couldn't figure out for the life of me what it was supposed to look like.  Flying Geese and HSTs just weren't fitting the bill, so into the back of the closet the project went, awaiting further inspiration.


When I pulled it out again this fall, the first thing that I noticed was the large white square in the center of the quilt:



I've really had a thing for quilts with secondary patterns lately, so I sat down with EQ to figure out how to extend the edges of the quilt to get that same square for the outer Churn Dash blocks.  Here's how it came out!


I've been back and forth over the last couple of days as to whether it needs one more brown border around the perimeter.  Looking at the photo, now, I think it definitely does.  Hopefully, next week I'll have the think quilted and bound, with more pictures to share!  

In the meantime, the pattern is now available in both my Craftsy and Etsy shops.  Thanks so much for stopping by!!





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Autumn Ohio Star Wallhanging or Table Topper

Autumn is definitely my favorite season!  Davis Ranch has tons of great fall veggies, fresh corn, and they should be getting ready to harvest pumpkins any day now.  Apple Hill is gearing up for another season of yummy apples, baked goodies, and fun crafts.  And, of course, it's almost Big Crush season in Amador County wine country!  All the leaves are changing colors and all our favorite wineries are gearing up to release their latest wines.  Hooray!

Around our house, we're finally catching our breaths from the frenetic summer season,  Last week, Aiden and I braved their airport, all on our own for the very first time, to visit my ailing grandfather in southern California.  It was an unexpected trip and I came home in a bit of a tired, melancholy fog.  After a few days of lounging in our PJs, I sought comfort in my little sewing room and {after a quick trip to JoAnn's} settled in for some fall sewing!

With as scattered as I feel I've been the last few weeks, I've happily been able to focus long enough to finish several projects.  I should have pictures to share soon!

In the meantime, I'd like to introduce ....


This pattern is fat quarter and scrap-drawer friendly, and features a traditional Ohio Star quilt block along with fall leaf appliques and pinwheel blocks.  It's a perfect foray for new quilters and a quick, festive project for experienced quilters!

The pattern is available on Craftsy and Etsy.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dangerous!!

Earlier this week, little man and I ventured across town to visit ... the Hobby Lobby.  Wow!  Let me just say that that place is dangerous!  They have way toooooo many fun things that are just dying to hop in your shopping cart and come home with you!

Maybe I was tired ... or maybe I was expending too much energy trying not to laugh out loud at my little bug who was doing his screechy best imitation of two real-housewives-y gals in the next isle that were just a little too excited about an amazing{ly tacky ginormous} chandelier to hang over their teenager's bed ... for the record, I wasn't the only one in the store trying not to laugh at these gals, but I digress ..

... but I was able to finally leave the store with a few modest purchases!


Ever since my embroidery class last year, I've been wanting to try my luck with some flour-sack towels.  I just happened to come across this cute little set of Aunt Martha's Superb Herbs and decided to stitch a couple up for hubby's grandmother's birthday this weekend.  I was only able to finish one, but I think it turned out well!


I used an outline stitch for the lettering and a plain 'ol backstitch for the picture.


It was such a quick and easy little project that I'm looking forward to working on a few more.  Happy sewing this weekend!!


Friday, August 24, 2012

Another Kit!

So, I'm slowly but surely working my way through some boxes in my sewing room, and I came across this kit!!


I can't believe that I haven't posted it sooner!  The kit includes all of the PRE-CUT fabric needed to make my Pretty in Pink quilt, which finishes at 48" x 48".  That's almost 4 yards of fabric!  It's currently available in the etsy shop and I only have one kit available.


The pattern is finally available in my Craftsy shop, as well.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A New Kit and A New Coupon Code!

Just popping in for a second to share a couple of new kits from my store.

I have just one more 24 piece Regatta Gala table runner kit available for $3.50.  Get it while it lasts!

I also just put together a new kit with the same fabric line for a nice and scrappy table runner.

available here
The kit includes all of the pre-cut fabric (top and binding) to make a Scrappy Stars Table Runner.  The kit includes a full-color .pdf pattern as well.



Use the coupon code "POPLUN101" to receive 10% off your order through 9/1/12.

Now, I'm off to sleep, as a nasty little stomach bug is kicking my butt - blerg!  Sweet dreams!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Too much heat!

I don't know about you other Californians, but I've HAD IT with all the heat.  I miss my morning walks and enjoying the delta breeze through open windows in the evening.  I know we're supposed to be enjoying summer and all, but I'm longing for fall ... now.

To try and put me in a cooler frame of mind,  I'm releasing this fun Halloween Wall-hanging pattern ...





The pattern is both Charm Square and Fat Quarter friendly.  It goes together much quicker than you'd think and would look great with any type of prints ... even summery ones, I guess.



The pattern is available on Craftsy and Etsy.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Housekeeping!

{Is that line from Tommy Boy in your head now?  He he he}

I simply can't believe that our little monkey is almost 10 months old!  Time is flying by so quickly that it makes my head spin.  Our life with him is so wonderful and it's so amazing to me to be able watch him grow into his own little, independent man and learn new all sorts of new things every week!  I'm really enjoying my time home with him


I'm not {by any means!!} one of those people who has to have a perfect, spic-n-span house at all times.  I've come to accept over the years of our marriage that hubby and I are both a little on the clutter-ish side ... but as long as we keep the chaos to a controllable minimum - as in the house can be presentable in 45 minutes or so - I'm happy!  Before this little munchkin came along, we didn't have much of a housework routine.  We both were working full time jobs, so just took care of little things as they popped up during the week, and generally spent an hour or two tidying up on the weekends.

That all went out the window with Aiden, as you can imagine.  Most days, I've been lucky to get the dishes from the previous night done in time for dinner and I can manage the occasional load of laundry.  A couple of weeks ago, however, I came across this House Cleaning List on pinterest.


Hubby and I decided to give it a shot and I have to say that it's really working out well.  I started out with a chore'o'the day, but that derailed rather quickly.  Instead, we keep a reasonable list of chores for the week underneath the family calendar.  I can usually manage one during the day, depending on nap schedules (or Aiden's willingness to play or bounce in his chair without me in his direct line of vision).  Hubby pitches in in the evenings, and I can usually get a noisier chore {vacuuming} or task {like bathrooms} done that require me being out of the room while he and the little guy have their manly play time after dinner.

It's been going so smoothly, in fact, that I don't even feel guilty over spending naptime or evenings after bedtime with a good book or my sewing machine, because the housework is getting done too!  I know we have lots to learn and adapt as Aiden gets bigger and as our family grows, but it's nice to feel like I've found a nice balance that fits our life right now.  Do you have any tricks or secrets that help keep motherhood, homemaking, and crafting in balance?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Design Wall Monday!

I'm so happy to actually have finished some sewing this weekend, even in spite of the triple digit heat wave we're experiencing.  Last week's epiphany led to several more "Ah Ha!" moments over the weekend, and I was finally able to complete several blocks in my latest project!


I recently treated myself to an Etchings fat quarter bundle to use specifically with this pattern and the fabric is just so beautiful to work with!  It's so silky, which makes piecing and pressing a dream!


Eventually, these cross blocks will be joined with floral blocks to make an 80" square quilt!  I'm not quite sure if I want to tackle the quilting on this one on my own yet!

I also made some great progress on Shiloh.  The paper pieced setting triangles slow things down a bit and makes for a ton of scrap fabric and wasted paper ... but boy do those points come together beautifully!


Since my little one decided on an early bedtime tonight, I'm hoping to finish at least four more Shiloh blocks ... that is if I don't get distracted by my latest Nook purchase!


I cannot put this book down!  I've flown through the almost 600 pages in less than a week and I'm so thankful that the sequel was released last month - I'll probably be picking that up tonight!  If you're looking for a fantastic summer read, especially for one with a little bit of fantasy, lots of history & research, a bibliophile, a love story, and fantastic wine ... all tied together by a superb author ... pick this book up now!

In the meantime, don't forget to stop by Design Wall Monday @ Patchwork Times.  Happy Sewing!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Aaugh!

Have you ever spent hours and hours and hours working out a complicated new project, making sure your measurements are 100% accurate, the piecing directions are spot on, maybe even going so far as to chart out all the cutting instructions in Excel {I know ... don't ask ...} just to make sure it's all correct ... to finally sit back and realize that there was a freakin' MUCH easier and simpler way to go about the whole thing!


That was my epiphany last night ... or should I say this morning at 12:15AM!  So this morning, I'm heading back to the drawing board.  I did make a big pan of this amazing baked oatmeal this morning - found the recipe on pinterest earlier this week - to help ease back into things.  It's so yummy ... and only 6 WW points for a giant serving!  I definitely {highly} recommend it!

Photo & Recipe via Emily Bites!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Fabric Tuesday

Well, my design wall didn't stay empty for long!  

This is the first block for my new quilt tentatively named, "Shiloh" - more on the name soon.  I can't wait to share, since it's a beautiful story!



This block is a traditional 1930's Dogtooth Violet block.  The historian in me really would like to know more about the pattern and how it originated, but there just doesn't seem to be any information out there on the web.  Does anyone know of any good sources?

I'm really enjoying working with Barbara Brackman's line, Lately Arrived from London.  As I mentioned yesterday, this is the first Civil War Reproduction fabric I've ever purchased.  Originally, I toyed around with making a quilt with a classic 19th century block to really showcase the fabric, but I just kept returning to this block.  I'm really pleased with how it's turning out!

When I originally mapped the pattern out in EQ6, I had planned on using two of the lighter background-ish type prints in the line for the sides of the setting triangles ... but then I spent all my fabric allowance for the month on a beautiful fat quarter stack ... so I decided to throw caution to the wind!  I used my go to white-on-white print that I already had on hand.   It's definitely not traditional, but so far I'm loving how the white just makes the dark, Victorian-ish colors pop! 

After struggling with all the triangular points on my Robot Roulette quilt, I decided to give foundation piecing a shot with the setting triangles, and boy, am I in love!  Granted, the fabric waste is much higher with this method of piecing, but man - absolutely perfectly pieced blocks are so worth the waste!!
Ummm ... quick tangent for a minute: has anyone else experienced difficulties with foundation patterns printing from EQ6 in the WRONG SIZE????  After making several test blocks, I just couldn't figure out why my block wasn't working out.  I checked my math several times, because surely the error was my fault ... and not the fancy computer program's fault.
Sure enough, my math was right, thank you very much ... and the foundation pattern printed directly from EQ6 was over 1/4" too small!  Unfortunately, I already printed the foundation pieces for the entire quilt already and had to reprint them in the correct size ... so this pattern will be responsible for the death of not one, but two small trees.  Won't be making that mistake again!
So, now that everything is all worked out - and little man and his Dad are happily enjoying some male bonding time this evening in the front room - I'm off to enjoy a glass of CG Di Arie's Primitivo Block 4 {YUM!}, watch some trash TV, and piece my little heart out!

Be sure to stop by Fabric Tuesday @ Quilt Story to see all the other awesome projects going on in blogland!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Check out the 'ole design wall!

Happy Design Wall Monday!  Check mine out!


That can mean only one thing!  Robot Roulette is actually finished!!


 Ok, technically, I still have to stitch the binding down, but this baby has left the wall! I tried to be as random with the four robot prints as possible and overall, I'm please with the way that it turned out!  There were some inadvertent color clusters, but nothing that stands out too much ... at least if you were viewing it from the back of a galloping horse!



My inspiration came from Jennifer @ Sugar Stitches, but I used my pinwheel template from Fig Tree & Co's "Salt Water Taffy" quilt.  I love, love, love the pinwheel effect and the resulting circles they create.  Once the binding is all in place, it's off to it's new home with Aiden's newest little cousin!


This afternoon, I'm playing with ...




This line is a first for me - Reproduction fabric isn't usually my cup of tea, but I love the colors and the prints in this line.  I'm excited to step out of my little box with a new project for fall!  We'll see what happens.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Laissez le Robots Roulette!

Ok - I've seriously been procrastinating on my Robot Quilt!

March 2012
This quilt has been in the works since January!!  

April 2012

If Chandler Bing were here, he'd ask me, "Could you BE moving any slower?"


June 2012

The little man this is intended for made his grand entrance into the world Tuesday ... and we have the chance to swing by and visit next weekend!

July 2012
So, no more time for excuses!  It's time to finish the last two columns and get this baby quilted!!  I have three more episodes of the Bachelorette to catch up on, and my little guy missed his nap this morning and just conked out ... so I have my fingers crossed for a productive afternoon.  No more excuses!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Introducing: Harvest Hearth Table Runner!

The weather here has been so weird lately!  Last week it was in the lows 60's when little man and I went out for our morning walk - we actually had to go back into the house for a blanket!  This week it's been hot, hot, hot, and two nights ago we had a crazy summer storm with amazing thunder and lightening.

Photo courtesy of  US National Weather Service Sacramento California.
For days, I've been feeling like we're in this weird place between summer and fall ... so I almost laughed when I came across this project while cleaning out my craft closet!


It was a wall-hanging that was almost complete - it just needed the binding stitched to the back! Perfect for my mood: warm fall colors and plaid {which always reminds me of a Scottish Harvest Festival ... too much Diana Gabaldon, I guess} with just enough sunny sunflower prints to keep a hint of summer around!  In the space of an afternoon nap, the binding was finished and it's now living happily on our kitchen table!



So, I'd like to introduce ...


... now available in the craftsy shop!

The pattern uses 5 Fat Quarters and some yardage, which gives you more than enough fabric for both the wall-hanging and a bonus table topper.

Well - I'm off to decide whether to brave the heat from the iron and the afternoon sun in my sewing room ... or to curl up on the couch under the fan with a good book.  I have a feeling the book might win ... happy sewing!