Monday, February 28, 2011

Mug Rugs Sent!! ...and other crafting.

The scraps on the fishy one are hiding some revealing stitches...
So today was the last day to send for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap... and guess what? Those rugs I made all that time ago, finally made it into the mail! lol. I seriously was done a month ago. I feel a little bad to be keeping my partner waiting... but I just didn't have the energy to get to the post office? No excuses I guess. But they did in fact make it out by deadline! 

On another note, for the first time today Allie and I played with beads. Last week I picked up this little ($1) kit from joann's - it's supposed to make a bracelet, but Allie was so much more content to string them all up, then dump them back in the bowl to start over again! She did this probably 20 times before getting bored with it! My little crafter!

Quilt Retreat...

A stowaway? Cute!
I'm going on a quilting retreat next weekend. After (finally) attending my very first meeting with the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild today, I'm super excited! Although I have absolutely no idea what to bring or what to work on. Any tips? 

I'm thinking of taking a few projects so I can flit between them as I like. That way I don't get burnt out on one project. But I'd love to see some FINISHED results from this retreat.... I'm thinking of bringing one of the unfinished/hiding at the bottom of the closet projects out to be finished (it really just needs to be basted and quilted). I may work on two other quilts I'm in the middle of right now too. But I want to bring a bit of stash fabric in case I want to try out something new or do something on a whim... I don't have a lot of stash to go with though. Most of it's spoken for already. lol. 

I did accidentally buy some fabric online last night. What can I say, it was about 1:30AM and it was calling to me. I actually compared prices for about an hour before deciding what and how much and from where.... hopefully sewmamasew gets that fabric to me quick! :) One of the projects that I could foresee myself finishing at this retreat includes some backing fabric I bought. Thanks Aunt Kathy for the Christmas fabric money (a check that I found in my wallet a week ago! lol).

Seriously though, any tips of what to bring / what not to forget? I'd really appreciate it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

To do tonight (if Mary comes to sew)

  • Make more Drunk Love blocks for my bee quilt
  • Assemble more wonky stars for that quilt
  • Cut, prep, and sew binding on the DQS10 quilt
  • Put together "extras" and a note for my mug rug swap (needs to be mailed by monday! Eeeek! It's been finished FOREVER!)
  • Figure out a backing and quilting pattern for my Urban Home Goods Swap mini. Figure out how I'm going to finish it
  • Make more mug rugs from my idea sketches from this round of the swap.
  • Bake a cake for Mary's birthday (last week)
  • Eat some of that cake
  • Plan what I'd like to work on/what to take on the retreat next week
  • Hope that my blog readers don't get annoyed at these kinds of posts... for some reason putting it out there gets me off my butt and checking things off!

So much to write about!!

First of all today has been a great day - for once I actually had use of our one car and got a ton done! We went grocery shopping, to Target, and to JoAnn's. I got some great deals at Target, two plain decorative pillows for just over $5 each on clearance! And, two packs of cloth napkins (sets of 4) for just $1.50 each! Score! lol.

When we got home I made us yummy sandwhiches for lunch and Allie played around me as I did the Old Person's Yoga DVD for the first time (it's some dvd from PBS that we got in at work... for people of all ages - beginner friendly/ not intimidating). The Yoga was great. I must say that I must use some crazy muscles shelving books at work because I was able to do the "advanced" methods for all of them (no chair for stability). I guess I could have started with a regular yoga DVD. Cool.
Now the baby's napping and the mail came. It's a good mail day! Two more of my {Sew} Beautiful Bee blocks came in! I actually built up a pretend design wall yesterday (scraps of batting hanging over the "toy wardrobe" in the sewing/play room. Here it is. Seeing them all up there makes me so inspired to make more of them!! Which is a pretty good thing since I still have about a half a dozen to go! This is going to be one big quilt! 

I did quite a bit of sewing the last few nights but I'm going to go ahead and save those for a different post, since I'm already rambling. There may be a tutorial to be made. We'll see! Happy Friday!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

I think I'm going to stick with my gut from now on.

Wonky Star Quilt

Because I keep trying to go "outside of the box" with projects (outside of my box... which amusingly is snugly where most modern quilters are). I tried to make a subdued sweet little star quilt today. DH took the kid to his moms for a couple hours and I got right on it. Well first of all somewhere along the line the math I did didn't add up to the right number of blocks (not that that mattered since I didn't have enough background fabric in my stash anyhow). I made up 6 star blocks - well two still have to be sewn together. I like them but my subdued fabrics just don't pop the way that I'd like. They kind of blend in to the background. I don't like that. Well the blocks turned out nice, but I'm not amazed by them. Should have gone my normal route (bright and bold); I think I'd be happier with them!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hope for spring!

A little hope... being put together for my Urban Home Goods Swap partner. 

Dear swap partners...

(DQS10 & Urban Home Goods) I'm so overwhelmed right now with ideas I want to make for you. I love your style, and we have similar tastes. I want to make it all.

I'm really loving the plethora of inspiration from both partners. Especially UHGS partner. My DQS10 partner makes the most amazing stuff. Seriously drool worthy. I feel like I like all their stuff and all their styles, so I should just go with my heart. But I want to make something just so special for them.... lol. Ah. So I think I have a good start.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A little personal and a little planning.

The butterfly fabric will be the centers of the stars, and the two grey/blue/green fabrics will be the points. The background will be light pink, white, or grey.
The personal: I love Danielle Rose. Yes. She's a catholic musician who spent a while in discernment at a convent. She's super sweet (I met  her in person in college), she gives great hugs, and loves the Rosary. I found myself listening to her music on youtube tonight while finally planning out the details of a wonky star baby quilt. I'm so happy when I listen to her poetic lyrics. They get stuck in my head and become a prayerful reminding of so many wonderful things. So as a way to share my quilt planning experience, I'll give you links to the songs and pics of my sketches/notes.

I started this time with Pinterest. I talked about it already here. I really like this. I can use google image searches, my own faves from my blog, flickr searches etc, and put them visually all in the same place. here's the pintrest board. Enter Danielle Rose songs... first "See You In the Eucharist" (if you're new to Danielle, or new to Catholicism feel free to pause to check out her explanation of this song here. She wrote it just before she entered the convent - where she discerned for some time before feeling lead to continue her music ministry outside of the convent.). I did lots of math deciding that I can indeed use this set of three FQ's to make up to 16 blocks that are 12" finished.

Next song, more math. "Shelter Your Name" my favorite line is "...Break down these walls, take all my brokenness, rebuild me to shelter your name..." It's a very soothing song, one that is nice to have stuck in your head. Figure out that to make 16 blocks I'll need 128 squares of background fabric that measures 4.5" square... (2 yds will be needed in total). The total quilt will measure 36" x 48" - crib size. I'll need to buy a yard and a quarter of backing fabric.

Next song... now I'm just listening to Danielle Rose... ok and sketching out my pictures of the front and back of the quilts. "Give and Take" (a new favorite), and "Litany of Humility" (I'm always a sucker for a litany) both great for trying to stay humble when it comes to my own wishes, which is becoming increasingly hard to do.

Friday, February 18, 2011

{Easy} Glasses Case Tutorial

This weekend my neice Katee is in town with us and she asked to sew. Of course we came up with an awesome little project (and we took pictures along the way to share). 

To make an awesome padded glasses case you'll need just some scraps of pretty fabric and batting.

***To be sure that your glasses will fit please first measure your glasses, folded up, from top of frame to bottom of ear piece. Ours folded up pretty narrow. If you need (or just to be on the safe side) you can add an extra inch or more to all those 5.5" measurements to allow extra room for larger glasses.***

Cuff Fabric (pictured in purple): 2" x 5.5" 
Contrast fabric (grey): 1" x 5.5"
Main fabric (teal): 5.75" x 5.5
Lining fabric: 5.5" x 7.5"

1) Sew cuff, contrast, and main fabrics together as desired.
2) Stack fabrics in this order: on top - lining fabric, right side down
                                               middle - outside/patchwork, right side up.
                                               bottom - batting
3) Sew short side together.
4) Open up fabrics and iron seam allowances and batting toward the outside fabric.
5) Fold entire piece in half width wise (hot dog) and pin.
6) Mark 2" section on side of lining to leave unsewn.
7) Sew around the three sides (backstitch at beginning and ends), leaving open 2" gap in lining.
8) Clip corners and turn right side out. Press.
9) Hand sew or machine stitch opening with scant seam allowances or invisible stitch.
10) Push lining into outer fabric (using chopstick --or paintbrush handle lol), press, and enjoy!!
Here's the beautiful finished product! Katee and I finished from sketching it out to putting our glasses in, in about half an hour. Katee (age 10) sewed everything on hers by herself. I'll bet you can't guess which one above she made!

(Linked up here for Sew Modern Mondays)

Public Service Announcement!

Good etiquette for the modern blogger week
Go on over to Mummas Time To Create to see my guest post on blogging etiquette! :)

Using Pinterest to Plan My Next Quilt

I just started using Pinterest to file away pictures of pretty things. Is there a better way of saying that? lol. I started a Pinterest board to gather inspiration for my next quilt, which will be a wonky star quilt. I'm not sure how to post a snapshot of my pinterest board of this... so here's the link. If anyone knows how to share a pinterest board visually on a blog post please let me know! It's a pretty cool collection so far. I'm really thinking I want to go cut up some fabric right now... if only it weren't 2am. lol.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Quilt Story Feature!

Hey everyone! Be sure to stop by Quilt Story tomorrow (Friday) to check out my quilt(s)! I'm sure all of you know of Quilt Story by now, but if you don't then head on over and follow them. They share great stories about quilts!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

I am Spartacus!

I am Sparticus.... A few faves from the three swaps I'm in right now.
1. another tiny work :)!!, 2. DQS 10 Sneak Peak, 3. Day 14: Dresden Quilting, 4. Back to the Sewing Table...., 5. Urban Home Goods Swap Sneak Peek, 6. DQS 10 Idea #1, 7. DQS10 finished, 8. UHG Sneak Peek..., 9. swap - tiny circle flying geese, 10. DQS10 front detail, 11. Sunny mug rug 1, 12. Ready for quilting, 13. Hexie bee mug rug 2, 14. Mug Rug Mania~option #2, 15. Different colourway - can I add this to your quilt partner?, 16. another bunting mug rug ... :)
As I've mentioned a few times here, I'm in three flickr swaps right now. First off, the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap III - awesome. I love the inspiration here... and I'm pretty sure my partner will love what I'm making  her. Then there's the beloved Doll Quilt Swap 10 - it's always so much fun and there's a TON of talent there. Seriously! I'm pretty darn happy with my project for that one too. DQS9 was where the whole "I am Spartacus" thing started... it pretty much means "be still my heart, I hope that quilt is for me!" lol. Then there's the Urban Home Good Swap... my first time in that swap and I'm pretty happy with my one finished project, but need to get thinking on a "big" project. The above mosaic is just a small amount of the work from those swaps that I LOVE. I didn't even stop at the swap group pages to make this... it's entirely from my flickr faves.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Brought to you by my husband. He's yummy, like these chocolates. 

Ok, so I actually haven't tried one of them yet... they're just so pretty I want to look at them for a while longer. They're crazy flavors - I need to read the little booklet to see which to try first!

**Edit to add flavors: Top row, Raspberry white chocolate, cherry cordial truffle, peanut butter, pistachio cherry, sweet tea. Second row, cookies 'n' cream (made with oreos), true love (dark chocolate w/ dark chocolate ganache), mango, milk chocolate truffle, and passion fruit. Wow. So far I've tried the white chocolate raspberry. It was yummy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Have I ever mentioned...

That I love Dominicans? 
Ok, Sr. Maria Gemma is not a Dominican, she's Franciscan, but I didn't want to use someone else's picture here.
Also note, that's me and my daughter, and two of my bestest friends from college. We're sisters I swear.
In a couple weeks I'm going to be going on my first ever quilting retreat!! I've been really thinking/wanting to plan on going to the Sewing Summit next fall. But I just don't know if I can spend that kind of money on myself. We'll see. In the meantime I got a notice from the president of our local Chicago Modern Quilt Guild - about an upcoming retreat. I hadn't heard about it because, silly me, I haven't made it to a meeting yet! I thought about it for a few minutes/hours... then the deciding factor for me - it happens that the retreat is being held in Wisconsin at a retreat center on the grounds of a Dominican convent!! Oh I love nuns (one of my best friends is a Franciscan). And I studied at a dominican college. And St Catherine is my favorite - she's dominican. 

lol. Sorry. I'm sure you guys don't want me getting all nerdy about saints. But here's the thing. I don't actually know anyone who quilts. I mean my friend Mary - but she's just learning and not really crazy about it. I'm excited to get to know some people in my general area, who also love to quilt!

But... what do I bring? What should I work on? lol. It's barely three weeks away. It's so exciting! I am thinking of bringing all my bee blocks (if they're all in by then) and sashing them up - wouldn't it be great to have a finished bee quilt a week after your month is over? Or do I work on something smaller and more free? I've never sewn anywhere but in my 

I hope you're all enjoying my rambling. I hope the provided meals are made by nuns... oh convent food is yummy and made with prayer! I hope I get along with everyone and make some sewing friends. 

Edit: I just got a little gushy looking through my pics of Sr Gemma's entrance to the convent. It happened to be my baby's first birthday. They shared their special day together! I can't begin to tell you how happy my heart is knowing that Sr. is so happy! 


The other night my husband and I were watching our recorded episode of Biggest Loser (Go team AQUA!)... and our lights went out. Naturally we looked around outside to see if the neighbor's lights were out too. Here's what we saw.
And later apon walking to the corner... I saw this:
Our favorite polish deli, on fire. It took more than 100 firefighters several hours to put it out. Such a bad night for it to happen; the coldest night of the year. Still no word on what caused it. I'm sad, we'll have to find somewhere else to find our sausage. It was my dad's favorite place in the city! Luckily no one was hurt. I hope they'll rebuild --it's certainly a popular place!

I'd never seen a building on fire before. It was pretty crazy seeing the water spraying down, and all the smoke. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I think I've made a decision.

I've been going back and forth for a long time about whether or not to start up an etsy store. The big reason I haven't is that I would hate to begin to create just for the sake of a sale. I've made a decision; I'm going to do it. I actually worked on three projects for my soon to be shop (oh that's even scary saying that) today. 
Two tiny 6" Dresdens, destined to be a pair of mug rugs.
I've decided that since I love making tiny things, and I like the thrill of finishing projects, I should make small projects. I'll make them a couple at a time and work with modern/popular fabrics that I enjoy. I figure I don't need 10 fabric journal covers... so maybe someone would like to buy one of those? Same with mug rugs... I've got about a million of them and love the mug rug swap so they'll keep coming! I love the creativity of a small project. I can try out a new thing, but am not at much loss if it doesn't work out. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Just a reminder...

Watch my girl Courtney on Biggest Loser tonight!! Go Courtney & Marci!! Team Aqua! :) Oh exciting!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Quiltstory's Block Party!

Quiltstory is hosting a block party this week - the three categories of blocks are traditional, modern, and creative. 

Fresh Poppy Design
Here are my entries:
made for my DQS9 quilt... tiny, about 3" each.
made using this tutorial.
made for a mug rug swap. really fun pleats.

I'm really enjoying checking out all the blocks being linked up there. Head on over and submit yours!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Fabric Basket and Journal Covers!

Here they are. Fabric Journal covers! I'm so excited about these! I had the idea in my head to do one of these for my Urban Home Goods Swap partner, and that's how I came to be making 2" stars... I actually could have made them smaller because in my head this top journal cover should have three stars on it! It all worked out in the end though because I just couldn't leave that last star alone, I made a cover for myself too! I love paper, and I love fabric! These journals have been sitting on my shelf for about a year, I bought them on clearance at the bookstore I work at (can't beat $0.50 for a journal with nice unlined paper). They were just crying out from my shelf to be covered in tiny stars! The inside cover of the light grey/navy one has some pretty tree of life fabric, and the navy/AMH Good Folks one has Owls on the inside. I used this tutorial, and it worked out great!! The interfacing gives the cover just enough sturdiness to make it feel wonderful! I can't stop looking at them. It might actually make me take up real journaling again (I have probably 2 dozen full journals from college... can't bear to get rid of them). Maybe it'll be more of a spiritual journal. That may be good. :)

Next up. You may know that I like to be as generous as I can with swaps... well this round of the Urban Home Goods Swap they changed it up making it manditory to only send two handmade items. I'm struggling with that. I wanted to make a bigger item (like a pillow or sewing machine cover) and a couple/few little items. I mostly wanted to do this to have an excuse to really put my heart into some little projects. When I make things for myself they tend not to be as polished as swap things I'd send out, example: this fabric bucket.

I took my time on it, I made it all pretty and even etc, but had it been for a swap I'd have made that band of navy a band of patchwork with embroidery and such. Nope. For me it's quick and easy. I guess it's just a good thing to try it out before getting all fancy, but still. So I'd like to make my partner a pretty and detailed (and much bigger than this) fabric basket, but I'm thinking of going the pillow route instead. To me a bucket just isn't a "big item." Will the swap police yell at me if I "accidentally" send three items? hehe. Oh and I want to make a hoop too. Scatterbrained I guess. PS: this bucket was made with this tutorial, minus the patchwork. It worked like a breeze. My little girl will surely like to put her little treasures in there.

By the way. We got some snow, did you? 20" is enough for me. I'm ready for spring!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Dear Urban Home Goods Swap Partner...

This little guy was used today.
I just made you something that I really really really want to keep for myself. I sure hope you love it just as much. Pictures will follow... but for now it's too dark to take them.

I used this tutorial (sort of)... I didn't follow it very well and didn't really measure so ended up having to re-do several parts. But it was way worth it in the end. I want to just look at it all night.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It's official...

Here in Chicago it's Thunder-snowing. Cool! Ok... well the possible foot of snow we may have in the morning, not so cool, crazy. Glad I have nowhere to be tomorrow but here!

Tutorial: Tiny Wonky Stars

As all of my regular readers know, I love tiny piecing. I also have recently been captivated by wonky stars. I first learned to do wonky stars here, but the tutorial there creates a 12" block. Awesome for a full size quilt, not so great for a doll quilt, or a pillow. Obviously you can just scale down your pieces, but to make a star so tiny (a mere two inches) you'd go crazy trying to sew those bits together. So read along and see how I make mine so tiny.

First, read and understand how to make a wonky star (link here, but I use a full square for each point, it's less work. You can also check out this link for more uses of interfacing to get perfect tiny points).

Cut a stack of 1.5" squares (9 of your star color, 8 of your background color); assemble the four point segments according to the above tutorial. Trim and iron seams open (this is really important since this star will be quite bulky).

Now using a grid ruler trim the sections to 1" square. Line up your point sections as such. The spot where your two points meet should not be within 1/4" of your edge (otherwise it will end up in your seam allowance after sewn). I like to keep this spot just a smidgen more than 1/4" from the edge, and centered.

The points of your star shouldn't be within a quarter inch of the other edge, or they'll be lost too. Before you make each cut look at those dots and make sure you line them up properly or you'll be losing the points of your stars!

You'll now want to cut a 3" piece of light weight fusible interfacing (I use Pellon brand a bolt of which I found for just a couple bucks on clearance). Trim down one star colored fabric to 1" and you're ready for the next step.

Lay the fusible interfacing glue side up on your ironing board, lay the first three segments of your star in a row (background fabric, star segment, background segment), and iron just those three to secure (be careful not to let your iron touch the rest of the interfacing). Do the same for the other two rows of squares. It will look like this: 

Now fold one row to the side right between the fabric pieces, like so: 

Sew along that fold using a scant 1/4" seam allowance.

Do the same for the seam parallel to the one you just sewed.

Using scissors carefuly trim just a very little bit off of your seam allowances (to cut the interfacing). Iron seams open. This may be tricky, I generally use a few sprays of water to help set my seams cleanly. 

Now go and sew the other two seams the same way, cutting and pressing the seam allowances open. 

Once all the seams are sewn give it a good press, again using a spray of water or starch to help it set. Trim down those corner pieces and you're finished! 

And just as a good example of a bad example, here's what you'll get if you don't measure those cuts just right:

Enjoy!! Please give me a link back if you use this! I'd love to see your tiny stars!!
(linked up at Quiltstory for Fabric Tuesday!)