Sunday, January 29, 2012

A Brag, a Block and a Blush...

I didn't get any quilting done today...well, not unless you count the quick stitching I did when I realized I had missed one of the leaves on my block for Sunni in the Stash Bee - oops! But that's okay, I had something much better to do today. I got to attend the Northwest Georgia 4-H District Project Achievement with my youngest daughter, Trinity where she was speaking about Poultry and Egg Science. It was a crowded category, with about 14 kids giving 4-5 minute speeches on the topic. And it was actually really enjoyable and interesting. We've raised chickens for a couple of years now but I learned something new from almost every participant. And look what happened...

Winner, Winner, Poultry-and-Egg-Science Dinner!! Isn't she pretty? And a chicken "eggs-pert", too ;) So yeah, I know I'm bragging but I'm super proud of her.

I did finish that Stash Bee block last night, though. This was my's called a peace tree

And here is my finished block.

The colors still aren't right in that photo, though. The greens especially come out yellower than they are in real life. But you can get an idea.

Well, that's my "Brag" and my "Block". Which just leaves my "Blush" to cover everything mentioned in the title of this post.

What am I blushing about? Well, as I was just saying, I had a hard time coming up with a tree for Sunni's 'Tree of Life' bee choice. I looked and looked for ideas, and since it took a while for my Kona White to arrive, several of the inspirations I found turned out to have inspired others too, before me. So when I found this in a Google image search I was really excited.

It's so pretty!!! I liked everything about it right down to the color placements! But when I clicked to go to the source, it kept coming up unavailable. But that wouldn't stop me, oh no. I eyeballed those pretty swirly swirls and drew them out freehand on Wonder-Under, found similar-but-just-different-enough-to-be-different fabric choices, cut them all out, and ironed them onto the Kona White.

Right about then my mom came by and asked what I was doing. So I explained, and to give her a better idea I pulled up the bee blog on my iPad and scrolled though to show her the blocks people had already made. And that's when I saw this.

Look familiar? Uh huh. That's because it's the SAME BLOCK that I just posted above!!! It turns out the mystery maker of my beautiful block was none other than Danny from Mommy For Reals, one of the other hive members. Arrrggghhhhhhh!!!! Oh my sweet goodness. I don't think we stopped laughing for 15 minutes. I may or may not have threatened to cry a little. I mean, what an idiot. So now I have a really pretty knock-off block of Danny's block. No idea what I'll do with it, but I guess that's another story for another day. And hey, let's just keep this between us, 'kay? No need for Sunni or Danny to every hear about this, right? Right. I'm just going to show it to you ... shhhhhhhh ...

It's actually a mirror image of the real one, for what that's worth, lol. Oh, and here is another pic of my rainbow baby quilt, with the binding done. It's in the laundry as I type, getting that nice crinkly cotton-batting look. So I might not be able to resist one last picture later, if its as cute as I think it's going to be ;)

Here is a close-up of the swirly quilting my mom's friend did on her long-arm.

I also have a pic of that table runner I made for Randi's Fresh Squeezed Fabrics monthly project, but I still am having trouble putting pics on my blog. For some reason, no matter where I put the cursor, they go to the top as I add them....and in the reverse order as I add them. So confusing. And it makes it really hard to just add something spontaneously. Here is a link to the photo in my Flickr folder, though. Call it a field trip.

Okay, I'm off to my machine, to start on my last January Bee block (I'm not THAT far behind, just came this week). See you next time!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I won something, oh yes I did...

Short post, I'm at work and running behind because I went to bed way to late (again) last night. Then did that thing where you wake up feeling like you never slept at all. What the heck is up with that, anyway? Anyway, the last thing I did before I fell asleep was check my email. And I won something! A soft, pretty charm pack of this...

from April @ Kool Beanz and the Fat Quarter Shop. Yay!! I truly, truly love to win things. I don't have a lot of experience at it, but have won a couple of terrific things over the years. Last June I won an iPad. :D And the June before that I won a Wii package, with console, games, controllers, the works. And then there is that Janome I'm gonna win in a couple of weeks, lol. Anyway, back to now. I'm excited about this charm pack. It is exactly what my mother loves, even the right colors, so I see a Mother's Day project in my future. Maybe a table runner and some place-mats.

Oh, one more thing before signing off - have you seen this? Ann Kelle announced a new Christmas line today and I'm in love. I even love the name - Jingle! She's also releasing a 'holiday' remix. Double yay! Click on over and check it out, but you may have to fight me for it.

I'll be back tonight with progress on one of my bee blocks...see you then!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Rainbow Quilt

Guess what I'm doing?? I am sewing the binding on a quilt that has been sitting just waiting for it's binding for over a year. I'm pleased with myself. (That's my son's hand in the right of the frame...he fell asleep next to me as I was sewing :)

I finished it and knew right away that I wanted to bind it with a bright tangerine-y orange with white polka dots. Sounds simple, right? Wrong!! First I couldn't find the fabric anywhere. Then I found some on Etsy, already made into binding. Yay, right? Wrong!! I ordered it and and waited. And waited. And WAITED. Wrote to the seller, no response, same a week later. Finally it came. Terrific, right? Wrong again!! You're really bad at this. It was the wrong darn fabric. Orange gingham, not orange polka dots. Sigh. And the stinkin' seller conveniently closed shop right about then. She's since re-opened, but never did respond to my many, many convos. In the end, after months, I found a half yard of the perfect thing and ordered it. Then promptly left it sit on my dresser for 2 months, lol. I was kinda over it by then. But today I was ready to cut it and bind it.

Here is the quilt , with the binding machine sewn to the front

Here it is again, with my beautiful 11 year old quilt holder peeking over the top.
The back is a forest of swirly green trees. A friend with a long-arm quilted it for me with a pretty rainbow variegated thread.

I've never bought those expensive binding clips. I find that a cheap box of binder clips from Staples does the job as well or better and saves a whole lot of money. I also use Coats and Clark upholstery thread to do the hand binding on quilts. It's really strong, and after every 3 or 4 stitches I can give it a little tug and it firms up close and tight without puckering. The color is kind of a translucent cream color that blends in to most fabrics if you do a careful ladder stitch.

Besides the binding, I had a little more excitement when the mail came. I got this really cute little pattern for just a few dollars. Isn't it too adorable? And it only needs 1.25 yards of a background and 1 (40 ct) charm pack. Perfect for making a quick and easy baby blanket.

So of course, I had to get these two charm packs of Fairy Tale Friends . Just to check out my theory, you understand.

And finally, these two yards of yummy orange and red came, to be cut into 5" squares tomorrow so that they can wing their way over the ocean to Emily Levey at the Strawberry Patch where she will do her magic and send them back to us as beautiful rainbows. I can't remember the names of the fabrics - but the red is my contribution and the orange is my niece Elizabeth's. We're mailing them together to save on the international postage. Don't you wish you were us? :D

okay, I'm nodding off back tomorrow!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I cut the Kona white

I didn't start the tree, but I did cut into the Kona white to begin my Stash Bee block. It felt silky, and soft. :)

I also cut and made the binding for my runner, and took a few photos to post over at the Fresh Squeezed Sew Along Flickr group.

Pretty greens... (you can see a little bit of the binding at the bottom, I just pinned it over a little so it would show in the photo). OH! Can you see the little leaf pattern I FMQ'd on the sashing between the blocks? It's some of that pattern from SewCalGal's FMQ Challenge. But since I jumped in instead of warming up with a practice piece, it's fairly mediocre ;)

Reds and pinks....

And yellows. The binding I decided on is a white with a small black print of pin-dots and flowers.

I did the machine sewing part, but still need to do the hand stitching on the binding. I always feel a sense of accomplishment when I do that, but put off doing it. Isn't that weird? I have this one really pretty baby quilt I made, a stacked coin made with a rainbow of batiks. I knew exactly what I wanted for the orange with small white polka dots...and it took me a stupidly long time to find something so simple. But then I finally did, over a month ago, and where do you think it is? Exactly. On the shelf right above my scrap bins, lol. What the heck is keeping me from cutting it up and sewing it on? I'm a goof.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Just a pop-in with a pic...

I wanted to put up this quick pic of the fabric scrap baskets. I think I might have credited the tutorial incorrectly. I found it on, but here is the tutorial itself is from a blog called Still using my iPad, sorry for the bad quality. I made 7 all together. Red/pink, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo/Violet and, on the right hand side of the shelf above those, a Brown/Black/Multi-color bin.

Quick note -

Not sure why I want to write this quick note - no one will read it, lol. But that's okay. Even if I'm the only one that sees it, I'm still excited to tell me about what I did today! I made those little fabric scrap bins and they are ADORABLE!!! They look so stinking cute sitting in a little rainbow row on the 2nd shelf from the top. I don't have a photo yet, but will post one tomorrow if I can, just to remember it. I didn't get any of the fabric moved out of the bedroom onto the shelves yet, but I did get my sewing table cleared off and and all the scraps in their little color-coded baskets. Oh my God...did I tell you they were cute????

I still didn't do the binding on the table runner. I can't think of what color to use. I sort of want to use this black with all these rainbow blips of colors, but don't know it that will ruin the kind of 'springish' feel it has going on now. Maybe I'll get a pic of it and post it to the Fresh Squeezed Flickr group, and see what they have to say?

Nothing else to talk about today, really....lazy Sunday, lots of sewing, tiny bit of cleaning...oh, and I got attacked by our Rooster. Kind of scared the hooey out of me. Those little suckers do NOT back down. He charged me and I kicked him, and he just kept coming, I kept kicking, my shoe flew off, and I was scared. I was able to grab a bucket an swing it at him and he backed up far enough into the run for me to slam the door on him and let him cool down a little. Honestly, I wanted to get the hoe and go smack the crud out of him. I hate that. We want some more chicks but after that, I think we'll get rid of the little rapist. I'll bet the hens will build a little statue of me in thanks. He's after them every minute of the day, lol. The soap opera that is rural living ;) Good night!

Sunday, January 15, 2012


I got side-tracked today. I planned on putting the binding on my mini-quilts turned table runner. But then my husband decided that today was as good a day as any to put away the Christmas decorations. He is an amazing custom furniture builder (you can see his work at his Etsy shop, although it's mostly just little toys and stuff, and not the real furniture type work he mostly does). Anyway, for Christmas he made me a terrific bookcase where I can store my fabric and sewing stuff next to my sewing machine. So after we took the tree out and move the furniture back, I started sifting through the mountain of scraps and projects that have piled up on that table. And realized that I can't just transfer everything from one place to another - I need a better way to store my scraps. So a little Google magic brought me to this tutorial at Skip To My Lou

It's for simple fabric bins. I cut all the outside layers from tan canvas and added a stripe across what will be the front.

All together I cut 18 pieces - 6 canvas, 6 batting, and six linings...

I cut the linings from some fabrics that I don't like all that much, lol. I wanted the linings to match the color stripes on the outside so that no matter whether I look at the bins from the front or the top, I can tell what color scraps it's for. But I wasn't willing to use the best part of 6 of my prized fat quarters for this one project that pretty much only I will see :) It's hard to tell by my crummy iPad pics, but besides orange, purple, yellow and red there are a light blue and a light green (at the right). The hard part is done, though, now that all the cutting is done. All I have to do is piece them together tomorrow. I know I should have finished what I started first, but I couldn't resist. I think they'll be really cute.

Just a quick peek at the fabric strips I used for the table runner. First the greens...

Next the reds....

And finally the yellows!

Oh, and those bargain priced neutrals...they aren't quite as boring as I thought they would be, lol.

I'll post pics of all the finished projects tomorrow. With the same crummy camera. You've been warned.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

I've been busy this week!

But I won't be able to prove it to your with photos, I'm afraid. **Warning: this will be a photo-free post ;) I wanted to put better photos up than I did in my first 2 posts, so I dusted off my fancy Fuji and took some great photos of the projects I worked on this week. No crummy phone pics or yellowy iPad shots for my 3 followers, uh-uh, no way. And then I sat down last night to write this post and found out that those sneaky Fuji devils use a special cable to upload to the computer. One that I apparently did not treat with the respect it deserves. Because it has left me.

It looks like a mini USB cable. But it's about 3/4 of a nano-meter smaller than a mini USB. And no amount of shoving or squeezing or grinding of brassy looking metal on my part would make it fit. So I have a bunch or really pretty pictures, but you can't see them. Sorry. Quit crying.

The first picture I don't have is of the pretty neutrals/lights/creams/tans I broke down and bought at Hobby Lobby on Monday like I threatened to do. I'm so happy that I did! It was actually a little bit fun even though I had thought it would be boring. AND, it only cost me $2.62! Well, not counting the little seam ripper I picked up, too, because I drop mine constantly and I thought it would be nice to have a spare. But even that was only $1.20 extra because I flashed them my phone with its 40% off coupon. Yay! Not the most amazing deal eve, considering that it was $2.00 to start...but it was the only 'regularly priced item' in my very modest purchase. But back to those neutrals :) They were 30% off and I only bought an eighth yard of each of 5 different prints but it gave me enough to cut my 1.5" strips for the Fresh Squeezed Sew-Along over at I Have To Say... (click here to look at some other people's pictures of their blocks).

Even after sewing 3 of the blocks I have enough left over to pack them up with some of the colored scraps and mail them to my gorgeous niece Elizabeth, who is teaching herself how to sew. I've asked her if she'd like to do this sew-along with me this year, to practice a little. But she doesn't have much fabric of her own yet so I'm going to pass along the bits I don't use to help out. My 3 blocks came out much nicer than I had hoped for. They are supposed to be 3 mini quilts, but I never know what to do with mini-quilts. I just don't 'get' them. So I put a little sashing between them and sandwiched up a spring-y looking table runner. I've got it half quilted and will finish in the morning, then bind it tomorrow night once I decide what fabric to use.

I've also been working on SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilt Challenge so I decided to combine the two by quilting the sashing and edges of my table runner with the Leaf pattern that Frances Moore taught there for January's challenge. I had been trying to figure out what to do with each month's pattern - like a quilt, pot holders, something like that. But I've decided that since I'm doing all these other projects I don't have to nail it down now. There will be ample opportunity to practice! The timing for this one is perfect. I've been practicing on little mini quilt sandwiches
and feel like I'm about ready to tackle a "real" quilt.

But I've been saving the best for last. Yesterday a pretty, pretty package came from Sew Fresh Fabrics. It had a fat quarter of Michael Miller's Sunny Ta Dot, another fat quarter of a lovely blue with tiny white pin-dots, and - most important! - my yard of Kona White so I can start on my Tree of Life block(s) for January's Stash Bee. This one is from Sunni @ Love Affair with my Brother. I'm really excited about that one, and will find a way to post some sort of discolored photo of it by the end of the weekend.

I'm pretty sure no one will read this all the way to this point, but I'm glad I got to record what's been happening this week. The next post will have less words, more pics. Until then, I'll post youngest child, Gideon. First on a wild donkey ride - erhm, sit. Then as a bunny. How can you resist that face?? He turned 9 last week. My baby, sigh.

Be back soon!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

What to use...what to use?

I don't know if you can call what I have, fabric-wise, a "stash". It's really not big enough to be a stash, and I can't afford to buy much more fabric right now {note to self: I REALLY need to figure out how to win a few of these giveaways I'm always entering, lol}.
But I do have to figure out what to use for my upcoming projects. For the Free Motion Quilt-Along, I can actually use anything. It doesn't technically have to be something that anyone will see after the fact since it's mostly for practice. Ideally, though, I'd like the 12+ blocks to BE something. No one wants to work and then throw it away.

Because of my small stash (yeah, I'm going to call it that anyway) I have a really hard time cutting into anything. Silly. I have a small amount of scraps that I bought online from Sandi Henderson, and I find myself squeezing every inch out of that rather than cutting into any of the fat quarters I have. I only have about 12 of each color type - purple, blue, aqua, green, yellow, red, pink, orange, and peach...with a few in between shades. I have a couple of browns. Almost no black and white except for some small scraps. A half dozen multi-colors. And zero neutrals/lights/creams/whites/tans.

And what is the first monthly project for the I Have to Say ? A trio of courthouse steps mini quilts, that use a selection of creams/neutrals/whites/tans. Sigh. Usually, I can just figure out a different way to do it, but I really don't like the look of that block without the contrast of the neutrals with the color. So I have to figure out what the heck to use before Tuesday. I might just break down and spend $10 at Hobby Lobby (the only fabric store I can get to in the next 2 days) and get a few just to get past this one project. They really don't seem like fun fabrics to buy, but I'm resolving to pick up a new one every time I order online from now on, to build up my supply.

Okay, so that's two projects that I don't have fabric choice ideas for. Leah Day's FMQ project can be done on anything, so that's okay. And the Bee blocks are no problem. But these others are hard.

Here is my second block for the BeeJeebers Bee - a wonky tree. I still have to embroider the ropes for the swing, but will mail them off to their owner Jamie this week.

See ya later!!

Taking Quilting as a Second Language

I've never been one for New Years Resolutions. Mostly because I always fail at them. Then a few days ago a friend mentioned that the only way she could ever manage to keep a resolution was to tell everyone she knew what she was planning on doing. That way, she knew they would hold her accountable.

So that's what I'm doing with this blog. I want to sew more, quilt more, get involved with my local and online quilting communities. I think I'm ready. So this year I've signed up for 2 online bees (Stash Bee run by Sunni at Love Affair with my Brother, and BeeJeebers run by Melissa over at Happy Quilting, a project-a-month at I Have to Say, and 3 quilt alongs (one free motion quilting here, another FMQ, and the Craftsy block of the month class FREE here).

I'd also like to make this Scrappy Paintbox quilt, made by Elizabeth Hartment of Oh Fransson!

I've got one finish already,my January BeeJeebers quilt block for Jamie Lee

I don't expect that anyone but me will be reading this, at least not for awhile. But I am committed to posting to it, and to these few other things...
  1. Learning to take decent photos to add to my posts.
  2. Blogging about each of my ongoing projects throughout the year, making note of what I found to be helpful or difficult about each project.
  3. Inviting a few friends and family members who are also new to sewing/quilting to join me and have fun.
I'm going to learn Quilting as a Second Language :)