Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February AYOS finish

This month's AYOS project was I.S.T.H. aka "Insert Snappy Title Here":

photo courtesy of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co.
Apparently, there's something about this quilt pattern that renders it un-namable, since I couldn't come up with a name either!  So here's my "project":


I had such a hard time getting started this month that I gave up on the idea of making a full quilt, and just made a table runner instead.  I opted to use four interior stars, rather than three, just to give it some extra length.

Because the runner is so skinny, I felt like there wasn't a ton of room at either end for a checkerboard pattern, so I went for solid borders, and used my light tonal prints for checkerboard setting and corner triangles.


I finished the runner with some echo quilting around the stars.  I really wish I had planned this part better, though - when I started quilting, I didn't realize that the outer star tips would be touching, and as my hubby so sweetly pointed out, not all the tips match up.  Thanks honey.  It's not off enough that you could notice it from a galloping horse, as one of the gals in my quilting group says, so I'm not going to rip it out and re-sew it ... yet.  We'll see if it {still} bothers me in a couple of weeks.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to swing by A Quilting Life and Pink Pincushion to see the rest of the parade!

OH! And I almost forgot - I didn't share Mom's AYOS picture today ... because she started her own blog!  You can visit her at http://quiltingnona.blogspot.com/.

Happy Sewing!

Jewel Stars

I'm fairly new to Flickr.  I've been aware of it for awhile, but it wasn't until recently {thanks to lots of browsing while sitting on the couch, nursing} that I've really spent much time perusing!  When I first decided to start working on an actual paper piecing project, I spent a lot of time looking at projects on Flickr and  I was really drawn to this specific formation:

Source
I think part of my attraction to the piece was that the pattern is so retro and fun, but could really be stunning if the blocks were made with some soft, modern fabrics.  The blocks aren't as complicated and time consuming as my Rose Star Blocks ...


... but not quite as mindless as the hexies ...


... and they look like they'll go together faster, since they don't have quite as many connecting pieces.

These blocks appear to go by a variety names (Texas Star, Star Flower, Irregular Pentagon, Jewel Flower, Jewel Star), but I couldn't find a template for any of them anywhere, which only left me a few construction choices:
  1. I could purchase the pre-made templates from PaperPieces.com ... but I'd have to wait for them to be shipped, and even though they're fairly reasonable, I'd need a ton and have already blown my crafting budget {for the next few months} on new fabric.
  2. I could purchase the e-files for the templates from InstantPiecing.com ... but the files include a 1/4" seam allowance.  Again, since I need so many blocks, this potentially wastes
  3. I could figure out how to make my own template.
I knew that I wanted to use a 1 inch hexagon as my flower center since this works well with a 2.5" scrap of fabric - perfect for my use with my charm packs - so I went to http://incompetech.com and made my own hexagonal graph paper.  From there, using one of my quilting rulers, it was really easy to create my own template!  Here's the result ....

... and here's the resulting block!



If you're interested in making your own jewel star, please join my brand new Flickr group: Jewel Stars - English Paper Piecing and share your finished blocks with us!

Just to make life easier, here is a full-scale copy of the template:

English Paper Piecing - Jewel Star Pattern

Just print this baby out on card stock -- making sure that the printing size option in Adobe Reader is "ACTUAL SIZE." -- carefully cut it apart, and then go to town!  I'm hoping to have a tutorial posted some time in the next week, and have some other .pdf documents to share soon for mass production of the shapes.  Can't wait to see some more finished blocks!

Oh! Almost forgot - I'm linking up over at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.  So many great projects out there!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, February 27, 2012

Swoon Update

Just popping in to share my latest Swoon Along block!



Sorry for the crummy photo!  I had to snap it with my phone as my little one was just waking up from his afternoon nap.  The block desperately needs to be pressed, but my iron needs to cool off and be cleaned before I dare use it on the front of such a light colored block!  I have just one more white-centered block to make with red and blue accents and then I'll be 25% done - yay!  I think this is my favorite so far!  My progress is here (box #5).

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Homemaking

For the first time since high school, I'm not working - it's a little strange to not have to worry about work responsibilities or get up and dash out the door every morning, but so far I'm loving being a stay-at-home mom and wifey.  Now that hubby and I have adapted to having our little munchkin around and said munchkin is starting to sort-of stick to a nice little schedule, I feel like I can finally start paying attention to keeping up with the household!

Photo source

Don't worry, we're not planning on starting our own little 1950's compound out here - we'd probably starve since the closest I've ever come to growing my own food is playing "Farmville" on facebook. :) - but I am going to start trying out some fun projects here on our homefront.

First up, I'm going to try making homemade laundry detergent and homemade dish soap this week.  I found both recipes on Being Creative to Keep my Sanity blog and a friend has tried both with great success!  Has anyone tried either of these "recipes" or have any pointers to share?

And ... just to be cheeky ... 


... he he he ....

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Spring Cleaning!

I think that maybe one of the reasons I've been enjoying my handwork projects lately is that my work space (and desk, if we're being totally honesty) is completely overflowing with various projects in various stages of completion.  It's a little overwhelming ... and avalanche-esque ... so I've decided to devote the rest of the week (I know ... two whole days ... whoppee!) to getting things whipped into shape.

First up, here are the latest numbers for my stash update.  They're not pretty.  Yup - about as small of a finish as anyone could get.

Stash Update: 1/27/12 - 2/13/12
  • Purchased:  7  yards including 3 Charm Packs each of California Girl and Papillon for my paper piecing, and some solids to be used in some upcoming projects.  More on them soon!!
  • Used: 0.25 yards - for my measly little mug rug!
YTD: + 18.38 yards

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Second up - I'm reinstating the 5 boxes rule for my own sanity!  Several years ago, my sewing room was in a similar state of disarray, and so to save some poor archaeologist having to excavate my sewing table through hundreds of layers of fabric a thousand years in the future, I bought 5 little plastic boxes and {tried} to limit myself to only five projects going on at a single time.  Well, when we moved last summer, I used those five little boxes to help transport my sewing room ... and never really got around to cleaning them since I hardly touched my sewing machine in the last half of my pregnancy.  So, lately, instead of storing all my WIPs in those little boxes, I've been storing them in stacks!  And looking at those stacks this afternoon, there are WAY more than five projects, so I'm starting fresh!

Just to keep myself honest - I'm creating a new page here on my blog to track everything. You can click on the link at the top of the page to see all my current projects, but here's the basic gist of the box contents.  
  1. The monthly Another Year of Schnibbles project.
  2. My current handwork or paper piecing project.
  3. An old WIP that needs to be finished.
  4. A new project of my choice!
  5. The Swoon Along project.
*     *     *     *     *

Third up - I'm starting another page to track all of my WIPs (including those that have been shelved), Floppy Tops, and Yearly Finishes, just for fun.  Plus, I love lists and since my sewing space is about half the size as the one in our last house, I'm in some serious need of organization.  I'm hoping that this will keep me motivated, curb my crafting ADD, and keep me on track for some record finishes in 2012.

How do you organize your current projects and curb your crafting ADD?



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Adventures in English Paper Piecing

It's official - I think I'm addicted English paper piecing!  I spent yesterday's morning nap time pouring over pictures on the web, trying to find a couple of great handwork projects to use with some new fabric coming in the mail this week.

The first block I fell in love with was the Star Rose block.  There's even a group dedicated to these beauties on Flickr and one of the members made a handy-dandy printable template so that impatient people like me can sit right down and get started.  Here's my test block:

Fabric: Verna by Kate Spain
Once I got the hang of making the kite squares and the pentagons, this block went together really quickly.  I think that these blocks definitely require a bit of planning, however.  If I were to do this one over again, I would make the inner ring of pentagons all orange and the outer ring of pentagons all pink, rather thank alternating them.  I'm glad that I took the time to make a practice block.  Now I'm all ready for my Papillon fabric to get here!  To bad the mailman never comes until dinner time!

The second block, which I haven't had the chance to test yet, is a Star Flower or Jewel Flower.  I found this great picture on Flickr!  Check it out!  I'm still working on my own template, since I can't seem to find one on the web.  Has anyone seen one?  My plan is to use my California Girl charm packs and my favorite white polka dot for this one!

... And, because it's Tuesday, hop on over to Quilt Story to see some other fantastic fabricy projects.


Fresh Poppy Design

Happy sewing!!


Friday, February 17, 2012

Hexi Love

I love, love, love my little man, Aiden.  He really is a great kid!



Sunny personality, fantastic eater, sleeps through the night more often than not, and is usually a great napper.  This week, however, we've decided that short naps give us more play time with mom and dad ... and more opportunities to eat!  My crafty time, however, has been practically non-existent, though.  I mean, how much can I really get done in 15 minutes?

Yesterday, however, I was browsing through my favorite blogs and came across Pleasant Home's inspirational Wednesday photo gallery.  Last week Jodi was featuring a bunch of beautiful Hexi projects!  I seemed to remember playing around with paper piecing last spring, before our big move, so I did a little searching in my crafty closet, and lo and behold! One of my five boxes had a bunch of Aster Manor scraps and one finished hexi block!

So today, I used my mini-nap breaks to put together a few more hexis ... and I think I'm hooked!

Sorry for the glare ...
They're so quick to put together and I'm finding that the hand-work is very therapeutic and relaxing.  I'm not sure what these are going to be yet, but I did have to order some more fabric from the line, just to have enough to play around with!  I was lucky enough to find one single layer cake left on etsy, all the way from Canada.  Can't wait to get it next week.  In the meantime, though, we're off for a play-weekend with cousins.  Have a great weekend and I'm looking forward to seeing all the great weekend finishes out there next week.

Happy sewing!

Monday, February 13, 2012

It's a "Mug Rug" kind of Monday

It's a super gloomy Monday and I really should be using my little guy's long morning nap to get some things done around the house ... especially since I really didn't do anything productive all weekend ... or last week for that matter!

Instead, I spent the morning fiddling around with little scraps of fabric ...


... and have managed to make myself a little mug rug.  Which probably means that the afternoon will be spent curled up with Aiden, a cup of my favorite tea, and a good book.  Heaven!



How are you spending your Monday?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Well, despite my best efforts ...

... I didn't get any sewing OR organizing done yesterday.  I really have to blame it on all the wonderful blogs out there ... and pinterest.  Do you have the same problem I do?  Pinterest makes all the clocks in my house speed up 10x's!  I mean, I sit down for 10 minutes to browse when little man goes down for his morning nap ... and before I know it, two hours have gone by.  Holy cow!

I made a conscious effort to stay away from my computer (other than to flip on the newest Coldplay album for some groovy background music) and managed to complete five blocks for a new pattern I'm playing around with.

Sorry for the crummy picture - very cloudy out today and can't get my lighting right!
I've seen so many great Carpenter Star blocks out there in blog-land that I had to start playing around with my own.  My original intention was to use only a brown palette for this wallhanging.  Once I started cutting my fabrics, I decided that I needed a little bit of red thrown in, probably in the binding, to bring things together.  Now that I have four of these blocks made, I've decided that I definitely need some red stars thrown in for contrast.

I love it when quilts and patterns just kind of evolve while you sew them!  I'm hoping to have more progress to share soon.  And, I'm liking this fabric combination so much that I might just use it for February's Schnibbles pattern!

Today is Fabric Tuesday over at Quilt Story.  Hop on over and check out all the great projects!


Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, February 6, 2012

Design Wall Monday!

Happy Monday!  Hoping you all had a nice weekend.  Hubby, little man, and I enjoyed a weekend full of wonderful friends, awesome wine, and great food!

On Saturday, we hit the Placer Wine trail to try some new-to-us wineries.


We've always been big fans of the Amador and Fair Play wineries, but the last few times we've visited, it has seemed like the area was slowly being infiltrated with more commercialized wineries, and that the tasting rooms were really overcrowded with drunk chicks (who probably turned 21 about five minutes ago) on their bachelorette parties, pretending to enjoy wine, but really just looking for a quick way to get tossed for free.  While I'm by no means a wine snob or sommolier, I do know a little bit about wine and really enjoy getting to know more about each vintner's history and how they like to make their wine.

To avoid the weekender crowds this weekend however, we met up with our best friends and hit the backroads of Placer County.  First stop was Wise Villa Winery ...

Photo courtesy of http://placerwine.com

...followed by Mt. Vernon ...

Photo courtesy of http://placerwine.com


and finally Fortezza!

Photo courtesy of http://placerwine.com

The wines at all three places were very good and we came home with a nice variety of bottles to enjoy after our little guy's bedtime!

The highlight of the day, however, was dinner at La Fornaretta in Newcastle, CA.  Oh my lord, the food was phenomenal!  If you live within a 2 hour radius, you have to try this restaurant!  Believe me, it's worth the drive!!  The restaurant is small and rustic, but is so completely welcoming.  The owner greets all the diners at the door and spends the evening wandering through the dining room making conversation with those that desire to.  He kept coming over to our table to coo at Aiden and tell us what a good baby we had!

Every single person at our table was raving about how good the food was!  I tried the Penne alla Norma, which was eggplant in a superb Sicilian-style tomato sauce over penne and smothered with fresh ricotta.  I couldn't even tell you what the rest of the party had since I was so enthralled with my own plate.  The only thing that looked better than my pasta was the amazing pizzas that kept passing by the table.  We're already planning to go back next weekend to try them!  So fantastic!!

*     *     *     *     *

With all the adventuring this weekend, though, I never even set foot in my sewing room.  I'm hoping to finish up some projects that have been just sitting around for awhile so that I can start fresh with some ideas that have been brewing lately.

First on the list of {planned} finishes for the week is the checkerboard quilt made from the leftover scraps of my niece's birthday dress.


I'm hoping to have the top finished by tomorrow so that I don't have to feel quite as guilty about running out on Wednesday to get a few more coordinating prints for a couple of ideas I've had bouncing around in my head.  

If you're like me and need some inspiration to get moving this morning, pop on over to Patchwork Times to see what's on our fellow quilters' design boards today!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!  I'm spending my morning with a nice cup of coffee, a gaggle of flying geese units, a plethora of HSTs to square ...



... and Grey's Anatomy on Netflix!  Pink Mist still gives me goosebumps!


I love Season Two ... but if I don't watch it all the way through, does Denny still die ...?  Might need to add some kleenex to the above list ...

Happy Sewing!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Fun Stuff for a Thursday morning!

The Another Year of Schnibbles parade over at Sherri's and Sinta's blogs from yesterday were great.  I'm always amazed how we can all take the same pattern and put our own individual spins on them to come up with totally unique projects!

February's Schnibbles project is I.S.T.H:

Photo Courtesy of Miss Rosie's Quilt Co
Usually when I see a pattern, I can almost immediately see what fabric line I want to use and what my finished project will look like.  For some reason, I'm having a really hard time with this one, though.  What fabric line are all you other participants using?

*     *     *     *     *

If you're looking for a fun diversion this morning, hop on over to the Moda Bake Shop!  They just announced yesterday that they'll be hosting their own fabric-y version of Chopped!


Check out the rules, requirements, and mystery box "ingredients" for audition project:

The Challenge? All audition submissions must be some sort of Office/Studio Accessory. 
It can be anything that would be used on or at an Office or Studio setting.

Sewing Basket of Mystery Items:
  • Fabrics used must feature at least one type of Moda precut. Additional Moda fabrics may be used to complete your project.
  • Project must use at least one type of buckle. This can be any size, shape or color.
  • Project must also include Quilt Batting somewhere in or on the project.
All projects are due by 2/29/12 and the actual competition begins in March!  Prizes will be announced on 2/14/12.  We have a busy couple of weeks here on our homefront, so I don't think I'll be participating, but I can't wait to see all of the crafty submissions!  Will you bet joining in?