Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Works in Progress

I'm so happy to share these two projects that are works in progress. They are going so well and I am very excited to see how much I can get done this weekend.

These are all my blocks for a What a Bunch of Squares Quilt (WABOSW)from Denyse Schmidt's book Quilts. I have made this pattern once before, but found that I choose all bright medium colors (yellow and greens mainly). It sort of felt like a circus quilt when I was done. The fabric here was from one of those holiday packages sold at Joanne's. They aren't holiday colors, but they were in a little tin all picked out and matching. One of my aunts gave them to me for Christmas.


My other WABOSW quilt was also too perfect. I followed more of a pattern with it. Cutting out so many of the middle, small, and large sizes. This time I really just winged it. It went a lot faster that way.


Except for when I was like 15 blocks in and I realized I might not have enough fabric. Luckily I made do and that is why there are a few crazy blocks mixed in.



I plan to border each block in white. It will be a full sized quilt for our bed. Surprisingly, most of my quilts are throw sized. I tend to stay away from the larger ones because they are difficult to manage once they get put together. I still need to finish my mom's Christmas quilt. That has been weighing heavily on me and making me feel wicked guilty. Soon, mom, soon.


I just realized looking at these photos that they are all slightly out of focus. I took them this morning and sometimes it takes my contact lenses a few hours to settle in if you know what I mean.


Okay, I am just going to show a glimpse of this project. I love this new technique and will share it with you next week when I get the book that I recently ordered. I can't believe I haven't seen this crop up on other blogs yet. There are so many options with what you can do with this.



The texture gets even better once washed. I haven't had a chance to wash this piece yet.

Leap Day Giveaway

It's here....Leap Day and Betty Ninja's first giveaway. This day only comes once every four years- Leap Day that is, of course not giveaways. In fact, if you don't win this giveaway, don't forget that I plan to do a 100th post giveaway that should be coming up soon.

So this is what you will win if you are the randomly chosen contestant.


It is a small wall hanging or doll quilt. The blocks are disappearing nine patch that I learned about on Sew Mama Sew's blog. It is actually a super easy block to make although it looks very hard. I hope who ever wins it likes it.


It is supposed to be a little hedgehog in the bottom right corner. I'm not sure if he looks very hedgehog like.

Anyway, the important stuff right? If you want a shot at winning this, please leave a comment telling me which is your favorite ninja weapon nunchakus (hard word to spell I thought it was spelled numjucks first) or Chinese star.

I will leave the giveaway open until Monday and show the winner on Tuesday. Good Luck!

P.S. I forgot to say, I will ship anywhere so feel free to join in my Aussie and New Zealand friends! (or where ever you are)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Leap Day Give-Away Sneak Peek

My first ever giveaway will be this Friday--Leap Day. Here is a little sneak peek. It will be quilted and involves this disappearing nine patch that I learned how to do from Sew Mama Sew's blog.


I will also be throwing in a few other small goodies with this. So brace yourself ya'll.


I am a quilting crazy fool these days. Starting way more things than I can finish, but I just have been gathering so many ideas from other blogs it is making me crazy. These are all the cut up pieces for a new quilt based off of Denyse Schmidt's What a Bunch of Squares. I plan to back it with another quilt. Since I have so many quilt ideas lately and my backs tend to be really boring anyway.


Here is a super link for you too. If you love Rockabilly and you love fashion check it out here.

Valentine's Day was Very Very Late This Year

So my boyfriend got a A+ for Valentine's Day. He normally doesn't fair too well with the romance so this was huge for him. Of course I was horribly sick that weekend, but he gave me a cute little card, roses (only the second time in nearly 10 years that he has given me flowers), and a quilting magazine. How thoughtful.


I, on the other hand, get a D for Valentine's Day. Notice it is not an F since I didn't really forget about it, I just never got around to giving him my gift. I think he will like it a lot. And you all are seeing it before he even gets it.



It is titled 52 Reasons Why I Love You and I got the idea from Transcraftinental's blog. In fact, the idea really saved me since I was clueless with what to do. I mean one can only give photos of the two of us so many times, ya know.

The two reasons you see here say--"because you like people who have quilts" and "your laugh makes me laugh."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bicycles and Quilts

Okay are you completely sick of hearing about bicycles lately? I am on such a vintage bicycle kick lately ever since I spotted a really amazing pink bike on Alison's blog. I will not rest this summer until I can find myself some beautiful two wheeled delight.

I would love a double bike too. When I was in elementary school, sixth graders were able to ride around the building on a four person bicycle. It was my sole ambition to ride that thing. Sadly, we moved when I was in fourth grade and I never actually have ridden on even a two person bicycle.

Make mine a double

This quilt was around my second or third ever. I wanted to do something really easy so I tried a patchwork one. Turns out patchwork that is unplanned can be very difficult. I love it just the same though. This was before I had much of a fabric stash and worked solely off of what I found at yard sales. Ahh the good ol days. Besides the gauze splurge I have been pretty good about not buying too much lately.


Did you see the bicycle fabric on it? Goes with my theme. This still needs to be tied. I finished the edges by sewing it inside out and then pulling it through an opening.

Lastly, I am loving this quilt idea today from Bling's blog.

Bumblebee Quilt

Before I forget-- blogger doesn't always show email addresses (actually hardly ever shows) with the comments. Which stinks because I want to email everyone back and chat. I love speaking with like minded folks. If you have asked me a question and I never got back to you- check back in the comments. I know I hardly ever go back into comments I left somewhere, but unfortunately it is the only I way I can think of to respond to people. So Lori with the Chinese Lantern Quilt question- check back in the comments. I don't want you to think I didn't write back. I too have many precious yard sale finds that were the ones that got away.


This little quilted project was inspired by one of Small Fox's doll quilts. Hers had a bird cage on the lower right corner, but the same squares across the top and basically the same quilting. I loved how her quilt had lots of white space, so I created a similar one.


I enjoyed making this one very much. I particularly liked how easy and rewarding it was to quilt. This was the first time I did this cross hatch quilting pattern. I am not sure I could have done it on a larger quilt, since I have a hard time twisting anything bigger than lap sized around the sewing machine. Also, I am finding that I am getting better and better at my bindings.


The little beehive was appliqued using a machine zig zag stitch around the edges.

This quilt I plan to give to one of my best friends-Stephanie. She has a four month old little boy. Maybe it would be nice on the wall in his room. I need to get her address again because she has moved and I have been very bad about actually getting packages out to people. In fact, I haven't. I haven't gotten any out. But February has become my new New Year's and I plan to become a changed women. Today on my lunch I am mailing out Shelby's Gritty Girl Quilt and clutch. See a person can change.

Seven Things

Bec from Small Stuff blog tagged me with seven random things. So my seven things are:

  1. I have had many different jobs. It isn’t that I don’t stay at them long; it is more that I have always worked. I started working when I was 11 and have always had a job since then. Often I’ve had two jobs so they add up fast. Here is a very uncomprehensive list of past jobs: lifeguard, dog watcher, nanny, photographer assistant, clothing stylist, secretary, customer service, blah, blah, blah.
  2. My favorite past time is not sewing (a close second really). It is mountain biking.
  3. I prefer beer to mixed drinks. My current favorite is Sam Adams White Ale. Although Gritty beers from Maine are right up there too.
  4. I have way too much energy as you probably have guessed from all my projects. I literally don’t stop doing things from the moment I get up until I go back to sleep. In contrast my boyfriend is very low energy and laid back. Sometimes he manages to get me to sit still for a little while with him. Mainly when I am sick though.
  5. I would love to find a free vintage sunfish sailboat with a trailer. I’d also love to score some great vintage bikes at yard sales this year. Keep your fingers crossed for me.
  6. I like really cheesy television shows. Kyle XY and Ghost Whisperer are my favorites.
  7. I'm a fast runner. Sprinter really.

I think I will tag anyone that reads this and would like to join in. So if you haven’t done a seven things yet, or you have are dying to share seven more things- please do.

Monday, February 25, 2008

A little bit about my weekend too

Okay, this post is going to be all over the place for subject matter, but stay with me because I just have so much to share.

We had a great weekend. I have been feeling sooooo much better. Thanks for all the well wishers by the way. Who would have thought when I got into blogging that we all actually care about each other? It is a really wonderful thing I tell ya.

Anywho, we went to Freeport Maine on Sunday. We really love making the trip there since we are there so frequently in the summer time. Almost all the stores allow you to bring your dog in (except LL Bean, go figure). I bought practically a whole new wardrobe at Horny Toad, my all time favorite clothing brand. It is really clothes made for being active and having fun. They were having a sample sale where everything was $9.99. Guess what? Apparently for once my size is the sample size. It was as if everything was made for me.


Brrrr. It was so cold.


But strangely, Misty was hot.


Check out this snow sculpture.


We also talked a lot about our pending vacation and the excitement is really kicking in for us. We hope to do a lot of camping in Northern California and get to see a lot of San Fran.

My Built by Wendy skirt is that much closer to being done. I sewed the zipper in on Friday and also sewed the darts. My darts are slightly askew and my zipper is in and that is what matters right? Well, the zipper instructions were really quite good, it was my first one ever though. I wish I had sewed a larger seam allowance on the top part of the zipper because I wasn’t quite able to sew down the seams since they were small. It is hard to explain. It is made from a super soft denim fabric that I got at a yard sale over the summer. I plan to do some sort of cute embroidery patch in one of the corners to jazz it up. Coming soon…

It's good to be back

It really is good to be back. I really enjoy blogging. It helps keep my creativity flowing. You may remember my love affair with these quilts from my flickr friend. Well, I searched everywhere for gauze fabric and finally ended up ordering these great blue colors from Denver Fabrics. It was on sale for around $4 a yard. Not steep by any means, but the gauze quilt needed to be several layers of gauze since it is such thin material. Sorry these shots aren't really my best.



This gauze quilt is four layers with a layer of flannel in between. It is throw sized and used around 7 yards of fabric. I had also purchased a green color in case I wanted to do different colors. Anyway, I feel quite guilty since all that gauze added up with shipping and everything to be $54. Yikes! I've been trying to be so good since vacation is just a month away. The real kicker is I just saw that Jo-anne's has gauze regular price at $5.99. With a coupon it will be a steal.


I think I am done making gauze quilts for the moment though. For one, it's pricey and for another reason it is really damn difficult to quilt. I mean you really can't quilt it. I used a sharp #9 needle and just did some edge stitching to keep the whole thing together. I didn't have the recommended darning foot and instead used my presser foot. I actually had to hand applique the circles on. I never, ever hand stitch things. You can kind of tell.

In the end I do like my final gauze quilt. It is like soft cloud to wrap up in. I also like the contrasting back.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Quick Hello

Wow, I haven't blogged in almost a week and I feel like I have been away forever. I caught the flu/pneumonia that has been lurking around and it really knocked me on my bottom. I literally didn't leave the house for days and days. It has felt great just getting to come to work for half a day and surf the web looking at all the blog news that has been happening while I have been gone. I have some great projects to post, but alas the earliest I can possibly get them up will be after this weekend. So I will be blog silent for a little longer, but than I will be back with a blast of great projects that I have worked on.




Thursday, February 14, 2008

I was lucky be home the other morning and watched Alex Anderson’s Simply Quilts on HGTV. I adore this show, sometimes the guests are a little too traditional for my taste but I always end up finding a good tip or idea from them anyway. Yesterday they had something called Artist Trading Cards. Check it out here and here. I loved this idea and think I will try to make a few of my own.

This morning, even though I have caught another flippin’ cold, I was able to add some quilting to my gauze quilt. My flickr friend, EmiShimosato has been helping me with tips since the whole gauze blanket was her original idea. Unfortunately, I did not have the recommended darning foot for my machine, but after playing a lot with tension and stitch size I was able to carefully get it through the machine. I just have to square it up and finish the edges.

Believe it or not, I don’t have a whole lot of pincushions. I have your basic tomato from the sewing store variety, but I haven’t made many. This is actually one of the only ones that I have sewn.


Also, I am going to try a give-away later this month. I have seen them on other people’s blogs and it makes me feel like “a real live blog” if I did my own. Kind of like a rite of passage. So Leap Day will be my very first give away—I haven’t decided what I will be doing yet, but I do know it will be a combination of things you have already seen featured on the blog and something new. I can’t wait!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Vintage Quilts are my Weakness

Vintage quilts always make me smile. This is one of my mom's.



Minor Failures

I am sure you all have had crafting failures before right? Well, so have I lately. This is my Chinese lantern quilt all pieced together, waiting for the binding.


I am none too happy about it. For starters, it look like a big rainbow quilt. My original design was intended to be more subtle. I think in order to do this, I needed to make the laterns half the size with more light colors mixed in. I broke the cardinal rule of quilting (I just made that up) when I used only bright medium colors. I have watched Alex Anderson enough to know that I should always have a range of lights to darks in my color selection.


It is also too traditional for me. I really don't like things that are even blocks. I am much more into the Denyse Schmidt quilts.


Even the drated photos are blurry.

This is turning out to be quite a pessimistic post. My next small disaster was the red velvet cupcakes with cooked chocolate frosting that I made over the weekend. What a bloody mess. They are not even red.

All of our kitchen supplies are kind of pieced together yard sale things. So I am missing a few key measuring devices. Also, my bowl was not big enough to contain all that red velvetness and it went all over the walls when I turned on my hand mixer.


Even the frosting didn't bring me out of my crafting funk.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Two quick things

One is I went to Jo-anne's on my lunch break. It was such a rush after having not been there for- gasp- a week and a half. It was almost like the best sugar rush I have ever had.

Also, Karyn from Fat Orange Cat nominated my picnic pleated purse tutorial over at Craft Zine. I am so thrilled and happy to have such great blog friends. Thanks Karyn!

Fruits from the weekend

As many of you may have guessed, I tried to tackle waaaaay too much this weekend. Whenever your list gets as long as mine was, you are bound to feel guilt from not accomplishing everything. So this is how I did:

  • I didn't finish the blocks for the runner
  • I hardly got to take any photos with my new camera
  • I did clean--a lot!
  • Went to softball party and had a blast
  • Didn't finish the binding on quilt
  • I looked at my gauze this weekend, I just didn't start anything with it.
  • I didn't go to Jo-anne's! Man am I strong or what?
  • I studied like crazy.
  • Oops I didn't practice obediance with Misty
  • No hiking. That is my real let down. It snowed almost all weekend.

So as you can see at least I had priorities in what I did.

This wasn't on my list, but I was able to finish this little doll quilt/ baby quilt.


I used scrap fabric and embroidered starfish and sand dollars. The quilting was meant to be wave like. I am really pleased with my quilting and binding job. It is so much easier to do when the quilt is tiny. I feel like I am wrangling 40 heads of cattle when I try to quilt anything bigger than lap sized.



How to turn a tablecloth into a cute pleated purse

I had this gorgeous old red checked tablecloth just sitting around and decided to turn it into a purse.


I was inspired originally by Amy Karol's pleated bag in her book Bend-the-Rules sewing. I wondered how pleating would look on checked fabric and with a whole bunch of pleats. It turns out that pleating checked fabric is very easy, especially is you use a really big checkered pattern. I simply sewed on the lines that the checks were on. I hope this tutorial will make sense for everyone. I tried to include as many photos as possible.
  • Cut the fabric to the approximate size of the bag you would like. Be sure to allow extra, since pleating will take in the fabric. Also you want to leave room for the seam allowances. I kept my seam allowances at ¼”. I cut my fabric according to the size of the checks. I literally counted 15 checks horizontally and four checks vertically. This equals roughly 15”x5”


  • Fold your fabric to the side approximately where you would like your first pleat to be. Start your pleat about half way down your material and sew in a straight line following your checked pattern back to the top. Where you decide to start sewing will be how long your pleats are. If the photos still don’t help you to sew a pleat, check out Amy Karol’s book Bend-the-Rules Sewing where she has a pleated bag with very nice descriptions.




  • Iron your pleat flat.

  • Continue to add pleats on your fabric either folding and sewing the pleat at every check or at every other check. My purse is pleated at every other check.

  • The top or outside of my unironed pleated fabric looks like this.

  • The back or the inside looks like this.

  • Now turn your two pleated pieces of fabric with right sides together and sew the three sides. Be sure to leave the top unsewn (the top should be where all your pleats meet).

  • Turn it inside out. The right side should now be facing out with the seams on the inside of the bag. You should now have a trapezoid shaped bag with a rounded top and bottom.


  • You may want to line your bag with fabric. So as to not reinvent the wheel check out this tutorial for lining bags.
  • Turn the open side of your purse’s seams in approximately ¼” all the way around the perimeter of the top of the bag.


  • Now you have the seams turned in but before you stitch the top seams over, make your handles. I found 24” long by 1.5” wide to be a nice size. Make your handles by sewing the fabric as below. You can leave your seams raw or pull the center through for a finished look.




  • Sew your purse handles into the bag as you sew the seams in. Go over the handles twice with your machine for a sturdy finish.


  • Your bag should look roughly like this. You can add embellishments like a button enclosure or scrappy ants embroidered on the sides.

  • I will post a quick tutorial later this week on how to make scrappy ants.