Monday, April 29, 2013

Have you seen me around?

I'm working on expanding my scope a little bit. Growing little by little. 

I have joined the Instagram crowd. I have to admit I really like instagram. It's a lot like flickr was back in the early days. I love all the WIP action going on there, as well as the general awesome friendly support. So if you're on Instagram follow me so I can follow you back! 

I've also recently added a facebook page for my blog. It's another way to receive updates. I'll be linking to all my new blog posts there, as well as announcing any giveaways. 

Finally I've been doing some twittering. Not a ton, I feel really restrained by the character limit! But I do LOVE joining in for Talkin Tuesdays (#talknt2 is 1-3pm est, #talknt is 9-11pm est). Join in tonight - it's always fun! Follow me over there on twitter!

And as always I'm on flickr. Flickr is my go-to time killer. I'm always taking part in or leading a swap (or two) on flickr, and I find a lot of inspiration there. 

I'd love to follow your pages too - leave me a link in the comments so I can find you! 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mini Quilts: Mug Rugs

I've always been a huge fan of mug rugs. They're tiny, fast, and useful. It has only been recently that I've begun to really think of them as mini quilts though. I can put some intense piecing and quilting into a 5" x 8" mug rug - so why not recognize it as something more than a coaster?

I'm rambling.

What I'm trying to say here is that I made a mug rug recently. But I haven't been able to bring myself to use it yet. Actually I considered giving it away - I have the intention of making a mug rug soon for a friend - but this one isn't quite perfect enough. 

I love this little guy though. Scraps of some favorite fabrics, bound in the most perfect orange fabric (my last bit of it!)

Then there's the back. The back!! I wanted to test out my skills after long arm class, but the mug rug top didn't want fancy quilting... so I quilted the back separately. These are the best flowers I've ever made! Now I need to work on getting some consistent swirls! 

All this rambling, for a sweet little mug rug. I love it though, that's what matters. 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Impulse Sewing

Do you guys sew on impulse? Tonight my husband was out with friends, so once Allie was asleep I was left to my sewing - only I couldn't decide what to work on. 

Maximum capacity (one pouch) = 7 OB Tampons!

Naturally I scrolled through facebook/flickr/instagram while I decided. (naturally). My friend Susan had mentioned on one of our quickie swaps that we should swap pouches to carry tampons/pads. Susan has mentioned this before - so light-bulb moment - that's what I sewed tonight. I made a "PonTom" pouch for Susan. Lucky that she uses the same brand tampons as I do!

Tiny zip pouches!

I made an extra to post in my upcoming Etsy shop - but my sister already called dibs (do you think I could charge her for it?) LOL

If you'd like to make a teeny pouch of your own the tutorial is right here. It really isn't hard. 

By the way, these were made from oilcloth, the leftover bits from making these pencil pouches - four pouches came from those teeny samples from the QuiltCon swag bag! 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

WIP Wednesday

It's been a while since I did a WIP Wed update. Since the last one I have managed to finish two quilts and a mug rug. 

Finished this quilt last week! Tutorial for Pellon coming soon!

My major WIP's right now involve editing photos and tutorials, and working on blog layouts etc. I'm hoping to make a few changes to my blog here - and to work on picking up a couple new blog sponsors. I have big goals. 

Finished this one last week too - blogged about it here.

I also have a lot of formatting / organizing / etc going on. I have just taken on the role of co- technology communication officer for my local modern guild. We've grown a lot in the past year, and the Tech position is a new officer position, so we have a lot of coordinating and cross referencing to do (we use several social media outlets: blog, facebook, flickr, and bigtent). 

One of many projects that needs to be finished! I STILL haven't bought more Kona Coal! 

Aside from all of that boring computer stuff, I decided to clean up my sewing room last night -- which means I have all my unfinished projects right in front of me. So I'm going to spend the next month and a half finishing. If you'd like to join me feel free!! I'll be blogging about it a bit more specifically soon - but as for now I want to challenge myself to finish several projects by the end of May. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Project Night Night - String Quilt

This winter my guild has set to work making quilts and stuffed animals for an organization called Project Night Night. Project night night gives tote bags filled with a quilt, a stuffed animal, and a story book to children as they enter homeless shelters. Their hope is to provide some consistency and comfort for these kids. 

Emily and I with our donation quilts.

Our guild managed to fill nearly 50 tote bags for Project Night Night!! 

I pulled out this old (OLD) quilt top to finish up for Project Night Night. I doubt anyone remembers this quilt from the blog (read about it here) Hello, project started in January of 2010! LOL! Well it was going to be a big quilt but I lost interest. I'm glad I took the excuse of this service project to pull it out and give it a fulfilling life in the arms of a child!

The quilt finished at about 36" x 45" and I quilted it with a meandering stipple (with a few hearts and stars included). I used Pellon Legacy Batting in 100% Polyester (left over from a little project). This was my first time free motion quilting using poly batting. It was pretty interesting! I had no problems with the batting at all, but it was surprising as I quilted because it's poofy-er than the cotton. Considering the poofyness added with all those bias seams on the string blocks I expected to have more issues with quilting it - but it really was no big deal. :) I quilted it using Aurifil - that spool of thread lasted SO LONG! 

I'm glad this little one has made it out of my WIP pile of shame and into the arms of a kid in need!

For a bit more about the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild's meeting check out my post over on the guild blog!

Whew! What a Week!

Our household is finally back to normal after the crazy storms / lightning strike issues of last week. Our internet / water / heat / etc are all working. So what do I do? Stay up until 2am blogging and editing pics! 

I haven't been at my sewing machine in a few days due to all that weather related drama, but tomorrow I surely will be back to it! 

Tonight I spent some time typing out and editing for a future tutorial - It's always amazing to me that writing out and editing tutorials takes about 5x as much time as sewing the actual item! I've got a couple tutorials coming up soon - so stay tuned. :)

Another major thing happened - as of yesterday's guild meeting I'm now an official Chicago Modern Quilt Guild officer! I'm sharing the post of "Technology Communication Officer" with my guild friend Peta. We'll be in charge of keeping track of the guild facebook page, big tent page, flickr account, and blog. It's going to be a fun year but for now there's so much to do and so much to get used to! 

Oh and since the last time I really shared anything here I've finished 2 and a half quilts! There's a sneak peek of them up there... but I'll share them in full soon!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Under Construction.

As many of you mid-westerners know, we had a big storm blow through this weekend. Several inches of rain fell in my neighborhood. The big kicker was that a bolt of lightning hit our tree in front of our house (terrifyingly this happened while my husband and kid were about 10 feet away inside the house!).

Thankfully no one was hurt, but the whole day Wednesday was spent with city construction crews tearing down the rest of the tree. It was a huge ordeal to say the least -- I'm sad I didn't get any decent pictures of it -- that tree was about 60 years old!

Then later that night we realised our house was a bit chilly -- our gas line was damaged by the lightning too. We've spent the past two days without hot water, heat, or stove. (Frozen waffles for dinner?!) The guys are back at it today trying to put a new line in.

On the bright side the lightning didn't do much else - it fried our wireless internet router, and even though many areas around us are under serious flooding, we only got about 2"in the basement. That's not enough to damage anything we have there (it's all up high on shelves.

I hope this week and this storm have been better to you guys than it has been to us!!

I'm leaving you with pics of Allie playing on her new stump, with the gas company digging in the background. She loves that she was a construction worker just like them!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rapid And Tiny Zakka Swap - May swap signups open!

1. Coffee Cozy Tutorial, 2. Coffee Cozy, 3. One for my sister, one for me, one for my sis-in-law. Just need buttons! :), 4. Hope mug cozy, 5. Coffee Cozy Sleeve, 6. Coffee cozy on Starbucks cold drink cup, 7. coffee cozy, 8. French Press Cozy, Coffee Cozy, Tea Cozy, 9. Tea Love Mug Cozy, 10. Coffee Cozies, 11. Coffee Cozy, 12. darjeeling mug cozy, 13. Aidan, 14. Argyle Reusable Coffee Sleeve, 1, 15. Tropical Garden Coffee Cup Cozy, 16. Coffee <3 a="" cozy="" cup="">

I'm excited to say that one of my little flickr swaps is starting up again.

The RATZ Swap (Rapid And Tiny Zakka) - is a monthly swap where we (the swap mamas) choose a quick and useful item for each month's swap. For the month of May we'll be swapping coffee cup cozies!

Our group is for swappers of any experience (even newbies), you only have to be a flickr member to join! (if you're not yet on flickr go sign up - there are a ton of fun groups and discussion boards there!). Head on over to the RATZ page to sign up! Sign ups will end later this week!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Things to do while not retreating with the CMQG.

Notes.... new projects in the works - eventually!

This post started earlier this week while I was feeling sad about having to miss out on my guild's spring retreat this weekend. I made a list thinking I'd try to get lots of sewing done - pretend I'm with the girls sewing my weekend away. But it's pretty obvious with work and a four year old that's not going to happen....

So here are a few things that I have done so far - while the CMQG ladies are retreating:

I... dragged my MIL to Joann's (she waited in the car b/c Allie fell asleep). LOL. 

I did manage to pick up some batting and backing fabric for a Pellon project that's been lurking on my WIP list for several months. 

Then my MIL took Allie for the evening (sleepover!) - and Wally and I went out on a date? We're such a lively couple took a trip to the tea store and bought some new tea... then randomly decided to drive out to Sonic (out of our way but worth it). Now I've managed to piece a backing, baste, and quilt that Pellon project! Crazy. :)

And I'm still sipping on my slushie from Sonic! 

I'm sticking with some more reasonable goals for tomorrow... (since I do have to go to work)... hoping to be able to bind the quilt from tonight, as well as that purple one from earlier this week. 

I really need to order some fabric and start a new quilt. I'm getting annoyed at all these small projects, and finishing old WIP's. The old projects just aren't as exciting. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Oilcloth Pouches - and a new sewing student.

This weekend we had guests in town - it's not that uncommon for us to have houseguests. Living in a big fun city means that most of my friends and family back home have more reason to visit!

This time around it was my sister's friend Jenna and her two kids - as well as my neice Katee - a stowaway! :) We had a ton of fun, and Allie loved having the kids around (Jenna has a girl allie's age, and they LOOOOVE each other).

Jenna's pouches! She was on a roll!

In the evenings once the kids were worn out and in bed, Jenna and I sewed.

She had very little exprience sewing, but was a great student. Over the course of two evenings she made three pouches! Hers are made from laminated shopping bags - repurposed into zip pouches! It's much more economical than using real oilcloth.

Oilcloth pencil pouches!

While Jenna sewed I made a couple pencil pouches myself - two of them are made out of the Oilcloth samples I got in the QuiltCon goody bag. The oilcloth really is nicer. The third pouch I made used the laminated shopping bags (the blue pouch).

I think I'll put these pouches up on Etsy - that's my goal for the week.

If you're looking for oilcloth check here and here (laminated cotton). That shop is local to me, but they have a few decent choices. 

Detail of the front of the mug rug!

The second night of Jenna sewing I worked on a nice little mug rug. It's been a couple months since I made a mug rug - I do love them.

Some FMQ practice. This is the back side of the piece - which sows the quilting so well!

The real exciting part of this was playing around with the FMQ on the back piece (I quilted the front and back separately). 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Original Sewing & Quilt Expo - Shaumberg

Yesterday I was lucky enough to be able to go to the Sewing Expo. You might remember my post about it last fall. My guild's doll quilt challenge quilts are traveling with the Sewing Expo quilt show - so it's super exciting to be able to see them on display!

Pretty examples of quilting. By Lisa Sipes!
This time around I was really lucky to be able to take a longarm quilting class with Lisa Sipes (you might recognize Lisa's work - she quilted the best of show from QuiltCon, as well as many other awesome quilts at the QuiltCon show). I love Lisa's work and her crazy spirit - but I wasn't able to sign up for the class. Lucky for me though, my friend Sara had signed up for the Thursday class, but she had to be out of town that day -- and without being able to get a refund for the class she passed it on to me! Do you guys understand how sweet Sara is? Totally sweet! (Thanks Sara!!!)

My FMQ sample from Lisa's class - much less inspiring than her quilting... I have a way to go!

So I headed to class Thursday and it really was a blast! I had taken a longarm quilting class with Angela Walters at QuiltCon so I had a little experience with the machines beforehand. Lisa was great - crazy and fun. It was a lot of fun to play on the machines too. 

As far as class went I feel like I learned a bunch, built upon my previous knowledge, and I"m a little bit more comfortable on the longarm (remember my goal is to quilt this - renting time on a longam). In comparison to the class at QuiltCon I can say that I liked the HandiQuilter machines at QuiltCon better than the Gammil machines at the expo. We had some repeated thread breaking issues on our machine at the expo - eventually it was helped (but not solved) by having a new needle and a new bobbin... but that was class time wasted if you know what I mean. I can say too that at QuiltCon they were VERY generous with materials... we were pretty limited by materials on Thursday. -- micro quilting anyone? :) 

My FMQ samples from the QuiltCon Class - big!

Here's the thing though - the inspiration of meeting Lisa, and seeing her amazing quilts was enough to make me want to quilt something. It was a lot of fun. And... I shared a machine with a fellow Juki lover. 

So where does this leave me? I'm not yet ready to tackle that big quilt on a longarm... I'm still too nervous to do it. BUT - I'm pretty sure I'm ready to play around and try some things on a smaller / less precious quilt. I'm going to look into it and maybe this spring I'll rent some time to do a simple quilt on a longarm. It's a start. I certainly don't have the means (or space) to invest in one of these machines but I think they'd give me the ability to add a bit more personalization to my quilts. 

For those of you who longarm - any tips? 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Parenting happened instead of Sew Thinky Thursday...

Let me distract you with this lovely stack of Voile.

Sorry guys, check back next week for Sew Thinky Thursday. I hadn't pre-scheduled the blog post this week and instead of being able to come home and type it out my little one was having a rough night (not) sleeping. It didn't get written. 

On the plus side I'm going to the Original Sewing & Quilt Expo today and taking a class with the fabulous Lisa Sipes (you may recognize her quilting from the Best of Show from QuiltCon - as well as many others). So I'm off to get ready and to clean my house a bit before company arrives tonight! 

I hope you guys are having a fabulously busy week too! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Pellon has a new website!

I'm pretty lucky to be a Pellon Project Designer, and I'm glad to share with you that they've updated their website! Look how pretty it is!! :)

Pellon's new website! 

Check out info about all Pellon's products, as well as a ton of cool project downloads. You can find my artist page here. You'll find the projects I've designed there. Hopefully I'll be adding a couple new projects there soon! 

Oh and while you're at it go check out the new Pellon University videos on the youtube page.

Enjoy! :) 

Monday, April 1, 2013

Truth is, I'm not much of a businessperson...

There I said it. 

Hoping to buy backing for this project and finish it up soon!

For the past few months I've been working at adding sponsors to my blog. I feel like I've got a fair amount to offer a sponsor - regular readers, interesting content, etc...

I'm finding it pretty interesting because I simply am not a businessperson. I don't enjoy trying to get myself out there - I don't like rejection (does anyone?) and it just takes so much more time to do things that you don't enjoy. 

But fabric isn't free, and if I want to keep turning out the projects I'll need to keep finding some sponsors or start selling my stuff. Both leave me at the same place - sell my stuff and I'll have to figure out taxes (taxes! ugh), or keep courting sponsors. lol.

Just figured I'd keep it real here. :) Anyone else hate business-y things?