12 December 2012

Making a house a home

After a month in the new place, all the furniture is finally where it should be and the unpacking is winding down.  There are a still couple of boxes of lagniappe items, which I either didn't have the heart to donate, or have been too lazy to put away.  But there's nothing like the impending visit of an old friend and a dinner party to spur some action, so those boxes will be dispatched before the weekend.

Now that the dust has settled, I'm ready to devote some time to the decor.  In its former life, the house was a farm when it was built in the 1920's, so I'm trying to throw a little farmhouse chic into the mix.  Doesn't this early Christmas/housewarming gift from Mom fit right in?

Suddenly I feel the need for a little Urban Cowgirl in my life to make a quilt for the sofa.  I'm also on the hunt for more yardage of Garden Party for curtains- I'm thinking the Waltz print in any color would look nice.  I have a few Drawing Room prints which were originally intended to make sofa pillows and a tablecloth.  But the thought of spilling food or drink on such beautiful fabric horrifies me, and it would be sinful to cut up the large-scale Trellis print for a pillow, so I'm considering using them as backing for a quilt and to reupholster a chair. But first things first.

Our expected guest will be staying in Antonio's room, so the Urban Chic quilt is top priority by default.  The back will be pieced from these two flannel prints:

They're washed and pressed, so I'm hoping to piece and baste this evening.  We actually have a formal dining room now, so I'll be able to use my dining room table for basting. I didn't have the luxury of using the leaves to extend the table at our old place, so basting was always done on the floor.  Now I can just pop the leaves in and away I go!  It's the little things that make life good, isn't it? 

I'm also going to try to squeeze in a couple of pillow covers (I may cave and cut up Trellis, after all) and a few more Vintage Holiday blocks before the weekend.  It would be nice to actually finish the Christmas quilt before Christmas!

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.


24 November 2012

Black Friday Madness

While the rest of the country shopped or spent the day recovering from a turkey hangover, I stitched.  And stitched.  And stitched like mad.  I stopped long enough to have breakfast and cut down a Christmas tree (okay, I picked the tree and hubby chopped it down) with family and friends. 

Then it was nose to the grindstone to finish up my 4x5 bee blocks.  The block I chose is called Geese All Around.  I've had this block bookmarked for quite some time, and I was happy for the chance to finally make it.  Here's what I learned from making these blocks: If you are going to wait until the last minute to sew multiple bee/swap blocks, do not choose a block with 56 pieces.  Enough said.

The move went pretty smoothly, with the exception of breaking one of the glass doors from my china hutch.  And breaking the glass from the dryer door.  Doesn't bad luck come in threes?  I should just go ahead and throw a glass on the floor and get it over with, because we've still got a few mirrors to retrieve from the old house.

The rest of the weekend will be dedicated to unpacking, and decorating the Christmas tree.  Out of curiosity, has anyone else gotten their tree yet?

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

16 November 2012

Wrap it up!

The feeling of accomplishment after completing a project never gets old.  It's inevitably followed by inspiration to finish other projects, and while that never gets old either, reality steps in.  This house isn't going to pack itself, and the big move is Saturday, so no more sewing until after the weekend.

I do have a couple of finishes to share.  First up is a long-overdue quilt for the Love Circle at do. Good Stitches.  My month to host was July, but the backing fabric got boxed and put in storage a few months ago.  The fabric was finally unearthed and the whole quilt kit came along to the SBAMQG retreat.  There the backing was pieced and quilt sandwiched basted (no quilting due to walking foot debacle), and I finally quilted and finished the binding at home this week.

Here are detail shots of the quilting (stitch-in-the-ditch) and binding (Kona Coal):

This one is hard to send off, but it's going to a great cause.

I also finished my partner's pillow cover for The Pillow Talk {Swap} Round 9 (last-minute,of course).  Batwing blocks in front, hexies on the back.  Quilted very simply, with a top-zipping invisible zipper closure.  This was the first pillow cover I've ever made, and I definitely see more in my sewing future.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

14 November 2012

Almost there!

This is the first round of The Pillow Talk {Swap} that I've participated in, and it's been fun.  It's always so nerve-racking to me to make something for another person.  Even though my partner made an inspiration mosaic and left comments on discussion threads and other PTS9 projects, I never know if I'm getting it quite right.

The top is now pieced and quilted, and thanks to some great tutorials on how to use an overlock stitch (I didn't even know it, but I had an overlock foot amongst my accessories!)  the pillow top and back have been serged.  So thrilled to have learned how to do this!  I'm just a few hexies for the back and a zipper installation away from finishing this pillow.

Then it's on to my 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee blocks.  The fabric pulls for my beemates were done fairly early, but I agonized too long over block choice.  I thought I'd get around to at least making the test block with my own colors by now, and I could offer up any number of excuses why I haven't, but I won't.  There will be some crazy times ahead since we are moving this weekend and the deadline is a week from Saturday...

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Have a great week!

07 November 2012

Weekend Sewing- Retreat among the Redwoods

I do so love a quilt retreat, especially one that's rustic and remote.  The South Bay Area Modern Quilt Guild organized such a retreat (their first) and were gracious enough to open it up to members of sister Modern Quilt Guilds in the area.

Who goes on a quilt retreat but forgets to bring her walking foot?  Yep, I'm the genius that did that.  Grand plans for quilting my Converging Corners quilt for do. Good Stitches and completing a pillow cover for The Pillow Talk {Swap} Round 9 foiled!  Several people kindly offered the use of their walking foot (feet?), and I actually tried a universal walking foot offered by Miriam, with whom I was sharing sewing space.  But my Singer 301A is a persnickety little thing, and she will only quilt with a walking foot modified especially for her (which I purchased from Jenny at Sew Classic).

Luckily, I was still able to work on these projects despite the forgotten walking foot.  I pieced the backing for the Converging Corners quilt, as well as the front of the pillow cover.

The pillow cover is based on the Batwing Block from The Farmer's Wife (I drafted my own templates).  I stalked my PTS9 partner's ispiration mosaic and favorites, as well as her comments on other projects posted to the Flickr group, and I hope I got it right.  Now I just have to figure out how to quilt it, as well as hit up some tutorials on how to actually put together a pillow cover.

Aside from these projects, I was busily engaged in making new friends with the ladies from the guild- such a fun and friendly group!  I loved the flow of chatter and exchanging of advice, ideas and (of course) fabric.  And there were so many great projects being sewn up.  Unfortunately, I didn't think to take pictures, but most of them can be found here

Since I didn't get to quilt Converging Corners at the retreat, that's the current task at hand.

The goal is to finish up the quilting today, then bind it before the weekend is over.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

24 October 2012

Playing catch-up

My sewing has been sadly neglected as of late.  October has been all about parents visiting, home showings, house-searching and kids activities.  The sewing list needs some attention.

Over the weekend my guild had another Charity Sew Day, so I was able to start a charity quilt (which still needs quilting).  Jennifer pre-cut strips of studio remnants donated by the ever-generous Julie of The Intrepid Thread.  Our challenge was to piece a Strip and Flip crib-sized quilt top using a tutorial from Cluck Cluck Sew.  Here's my contribution:

We deviated from the tutorial a teeny bit by using twenty 2.5-inch strips rather than the called-for twenty-seven 2-inch strips.  This is a quick and lovely quilt top, and a great way to use up half of a jelly roll.  Or you can use those favorite prints you've been hoarding without depleting them since you only need a 2" or 2.5" x WOF strip!

I also managed to start a few bee commitments despite the busy schedule.  Kate sent Metro Living and Field Study pieces for the September Design Camp block but a mailing mishap caused a delay in the fabrics reaching me.  Just a little left to do... I'm only a couple rows short of finishing the second block.

October's blocks for do. Good Stitches are EPP stars.  Rachel requested  this pretty fall palette.  I've finally gotten around to cutting the fabric, and as I've fallen in love with English paper piecing, these should go fairly quickly.

In other sewing news, I'm eagerly anticipating the Get Your Curve On class this weekend.  Time to start pulling fabric and getting my gear ready...

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

18 October 2012

Travellin' Pic Stitch Blog Hop- Next Stop: Segovia

Welcome to my stop on the Travellin' Pic-Stitch Blog Hop!  Thanks to Laura at Quokka Quilts and Katy at The Littlest Thistle for giving me the motivation I needed to learn the art of English Paper Piecing.

When my husband and I got married almost a decade ago, our lives were in transition and we didn't go away on honeymoon.  A couple of summers ago, we decided to go on that "honeymoon we never had" (our third).  On a whim, we chose Spain.

One of the cities we visited was Segovia, which is famous for it's 2,000 year old aqueduct system:

 the Segovia Cathedral:

 and the Alcázar of Segovia (rumored to be one of the sources of inspiration for the Disney Castle):

 My inspiration photo for my EPP blocks is a picture of street signs leading to the Alcázar.  I used Palette Builder at Play Crafts for the colors:


Pulling fabric was a challenge since most of my stash is packed away in boxes at a friend's house.  From the limited selection I had access to at home, I pulled a Jennifer Paganelli Bell Bottom print in green, herringbone in yellow from Riley Blake's Apple of My Eye, Kona Cerise, and Heath in black.

Working under a very steep learning curve, I went with EPP hexies and stitched up a few Grandmother's Flower Garden blocks.

I think I'm officially addicted to English Paper Piecing!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be sure to visit Susan at Patchwork and Play Margo at Needle Little Balance for the next stop tomorrow.

And if you want to play along, details about the blog hop are here, where you can find a list of all the stops, a linky party with prizes, and a list of lovely sponsors who made it possible.  Go check it out!

06 October 2012

Frankie's Bride: My first paper pieced pattern!


We're at the end of the first week of October and the Something Wicked This Way Comes blog hop is well underway.  Soma of Whims and Fancies had the brilliant idea of putting together a Halloween themed paper piecing blog hop and was kind enough to invite me to design a block.  Thanks Soma!

When I think about Halloween, I think of the classic horror movies I grew up watching.  No, not A Nightmare on Elm Street or Halloween.  Go back a little further to movies like Dracula, The Mummy and Bride of Frankenstein.  I picked one of those characters, cartoon-ified her, and voilà:

It...is alive!

This block is 10" x 10" finished.  You can find the pattern here and the piecing instructions here.  Did the hand-drafted and colored templates give away that this is the first time I've shared a pattern?  If you haven't tried paper piecing or just need a refresher, Jennifer of Sewhooked has a wonderful tutorial.

The blog hop runs through the month of October, complete with weekly giveaways.  Follow along for more wicked fun blocks! 

03 October 2012

Paper piecing frenzy

In looking over my sewing to-do list, there's an inordinate amount of paper piecing of all three varieties.  I've got freezer paper piecing for the Piece Bee gals, foundation piecing for a blog hop, and EPP for both a blog hop and a bee.  Whew- by the end of this month I should be a paper-piecing guru! 

I've just clipped the last thread on a block slated for a blog hop hosted by Soma at Whims and Fancies.  Here's a little sneak peek:

The only thing left to do is figure out how to format my hand-drafted design into a template to share without the use of software.  Check back here Saturday for the completed block and free pattern.  In the meantime, visit The Halloween Paper Pieced Blog Hop, which runs through October 31st, for the blocks shared so far.

There are a few other freezer paper foundation piecing blocks on my short-list.  A photography-themed block, a classic British toy block, and a Viewmaster block are due (in some cases, overdue) to my Piece Bee With You beemates.  The pattern for first two have been planned, but not drafted, and the third has been provided to the group. 

Having only tried my hand at freezer paper and foundation paper-piecing, I'm excited to finally take a stab at EPP.  Hexa-Go-Go has been collecting dust on my shelf the past few weeks while I scour the interwebs for tutorials and video how-to's.  First up are EPP stars for the do. Good Stitches October block.  Rachel was kind enough to provide printables for the 6-point stars.  She also has a wonderful instructional video for those, such as myself, who may need help.  

Just to give myself a little added pressure to learn English Paper Piecing, I've joined up with the Travellin-Pic Stitch Blog Hop hosted by Quokka Quilts and The Littlest Thistle.  This blog hop runs the whole of October and November- check it out!

Linking up to Lee at Freshly Pieced for:

17 September 2012

Simple pleasures

Sometimes all the need-to-dos get in the way of enjoying life.  We're so busy with obligations, tasks and responsibilities that we forget to just be in the moment.  At least that's how I feel.  My mind is always trying to stay one step ahead, and weekends end up feeling rushed and busy.

The family and I actually slowed down enough this past weekend to engage in some nice-to-dos.  Apart from the kids' soccer games, everything else was impromptu: breakfast at a favorite restaurant, lunch at another, playtime at the park, a movie.  Of course, that left the weekly shopping and a mountain of laundry to address this morning, but I have no complaints.

Before the idyllic weekend, I finally pieced a bee block that is super tardy.  For Design Camp (I won't even tell you which month), Anne sent out solids and asked us to make a 15" tiny house block.  The colors I received were begging to be made into a mid-century modern style house.  A huge MCM fan, I was only too happy to comply. 

I also finished up a couple of wonky pinwheel blocks for do. Good Stitches.  Isn't the color palette Natalie chose gorgeous?

I found piecing these addictive, and a small project made of these blocks is in order.  Should you want to make some yourself, Natalie provides an excellent tutorial here.

I've got one more tardy bee block to take care of, then I'm caught up and can turn my attention to other bees and swaps due soon.  But first, I'll have to go visit my stash, currently stored at a friend's house, to pull some fabric.  Or maybe I should just do a little light fabric shopping since everything is packed away so nicely...

12 September 2012

A little progress

Yesterday I began piecing the September blocks for the Love Circle at do. Good Stitches.  Natalie wrote up a fun tutorial for Wonky Pinwheels and requested blocks in rich, warm tones.  Pulling fabric is always fun, but it was a little challenging finding a nice variety since the majority of my stash has been packed away.

Luckily, I had a bit of kona white and and scraps of Pure Elements in linen still accessible, as well as some essex linen leftover the secret swap pouch.  All thirty-two units are at least half done, with a couple of them completed. 

I'm really itching to open up those packing boxes to pull more prints in order to give the blocks more variety. 

Natalie's wonky pinwheel is yet another block I'm pinning for later use.  I love improv blocks that require a ruler and a rotary cutter.  I like to feel edgy, but also maintain a degree of precision.  That said, my goal is to make a more concerted effort to do some forget-the-ruler improv piecing.  I'm hoping that the timing of a Sherri Lynn Wood class currently being organized works with my fall schedule.  If it doesn't, I may have to do some shuffling to make sure it does.

Between packing up the stash and dealing with a sick toddler, I regret to say that this the only bit of sewing I did this week.  The chain-piecing was a nice break from all the chaos.  My goal is to finish the pinwheels, as well as a few overdue bee blocks.  Also, finish this little bit of stitching on the binding of a charity quilt- so shameful to have stopped so close to the end!

 Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.  Pop over and take a look at the great projects in progress!

06 September 2012

Something old, something new

The family and I had a lovely Labor Day holiday at Lassen Volcanic National Park.  There were some amazing sights, and the park wasn't too crowded.  Here are some highlights of the trip:

I should have planned better and brought along a new project Martina and I want to make together.  We purchased Tacha Breucher's Hexa Go-Go last week and love the Over the Rainbow quilt .  Our plan is to work on it in our spare time and finish it before she graduates in nine years.  Pretty reasonable time frame, don't ya think? 

Martina has decided she wants to raid my precious stash of Anna Maria Horner prints for this project.  Ummm... we'll see.  She can definitely use Innocent Crush and Field Study since they're replaceable (right now, at least).  The jury's still out on Garden Party and Good Folks.  She'll have to catch me in a generous mood. 

This week, I'll be getting back to Antonio's Urban Chic quilt.  He liked the geometric lines of this pattern and chose a grey/yellow/black color scheme.  I threw in a little aqua for some punch. 

I started this quilt last summer, and the poor kid has waited long enough for it.  I'm not sure how I'll quilt it.  Any suggestions?  In the meantime it's on to the dreaded pin-basting.  I think I'll pop some ibuprofen now for the backache that's sure to follow.

Linking up to Diane at from blank pages.

from blank pages...

31 August 2012

Zip it!

Just a quick post on the completed secret swap item.  The zipper install was well... much ado about nothing.  I referenced a few zippered pouch tutorials and things went off without a hitch.  I think I mainly used this tutorial at Swim, Bike, Quilt! and this tutorial at Skip to My Lou.  And of course, this tutorial from Diary of a Flutter.Kat.

My partner expressed a fondness for Flea Market Fancy, bright colors, linen and pouches.  I hope I'm not too far off the mark:

It's roughly 12" square- large enough to hold an embroidery hoop and some hand-stitching necessities.

Since this first zip pouch was a cakewalk, I'm feeling the need to make one for myself.  Plus, I've got some essex linen and a quite a few HST's leftover from this project...