Sunday, July 31, 2011

Just a quick post to say...

I love Jim, the repair man from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston. :)
(even though I feel a little bad)
He spent 5 hours looking at my machine trying to figure out what exactly was making my machine appear to have tension issues (note that it wasn't actually the tension)...

Guess what it was? Apparently I had sewn so much on this machine that I actually wiggled a couple screws loose in the take-up-lever area! lol. He said it's not something he's really seen happen often, but that the number of hours I've put on this machine probably has something to do with it!

A couple other reasons I love that guy/place
  • The repair still only cost the normal $35 labor fee - even though he spent so long on it. They're good to their word on that!
  • I didn't have to replace anything.
  • Nancy is so completely dust free as a result of that 5 hour surgery... I'm pretty sure they got stuff out of places I couldn't get anywhere near! 
  • I just sewed up a couple micro-star blocks and some other stuff - it sews better than I can even remember! (I'm thinking this issue started sometime before the CMQG retreat...) 
WOW! That's all. Pictures and all that stuff later!

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Sewing Summit!!!

The Sewing Summit

Have you all heard about the Sewing Summit? I sure hope so! It's a modern sewing and blogging conference that's happening for the first time this October. I'm going (thanks to my benefactors - my work for giving me a bonus at just the right time, my aunt for commissioning me for a big project that she's paying me for, and my parents who have sent "birthday money" to tackle some of the other costs!). Amazing right? I remember when this whole thing was just an idea.... It's really happening. And...

I just registered for my classes today! While I'm at the Summit I'll be taking:
  •  Bag Making 101 - by Bari J. Ackerman - Bari offers the basics on handbag construction plus complete instruction on her popular Springtime in Paris Pocketbook. Kit available for pre-purchase on Bari’s website after 9/1. 
  • Quilting at Home: Free Motion Quilting for the Modern Quilter - by Allison Harris - The free motion quilting class will cover all of the basics for getting started quilting your own quilts. Everything from set-up, preparation, positioning yourself and your quilt, and quilting designs both simple and advanced. Come learn how you can save money quilting your quilts on your own machine! (classroom fee $3) 
  • Creative Fabric Selection: Moving Beyond Fabric Collections - by Jeni Baker - In Creative Fabric Selection, Jeni will help you overcome your color fears! You’ll learn how to put together unique color and fabric schemes for your quilts and other sewing projects! We’ll walk through the color wheel, discuss different types of fabric patterns, building fabric stacks and hopefully, get you thinking about fabric and color in a different way! 
  • Marvelous Minis: Packing Lots of Punch into a Mini Quilt - by Amanda Jennings - Amanda will be focusing on getting the most out of small bits of fabric and using them to make heirloom-quality mini quilts. Topics will include finding inspiration, staying motivated, how minis are perfect for all levels of quilting and telling a story with a quilt block. She’ll be sharing my inspiration, mini quilts, examples from my sketch books and more! 
  • Photographing Your Creations: Simple Changes for Maximum Impact - by Vanessa Christenson - Anyone who owns a camera can come to this class! There are a ton of photography classes out there that are excellent in teaching you about aperture, shutter speed, and ISO — these skills are awesome to have, but say you know all that stuff already …what then? I think setting up your “scene” is just as important as all the technical stuff. I’ll be teaching you how to take your product (your quilt you want to sell or the home décor you just created a tutorial or pattern for) and I will show you some easy steps to set up the perfect scene for that product. I’ll also touch on how to use a little bit of photoshop, and to use some of the free online editing programs out there to give your picture that much more “WOW” and having people say “did you take that picture? 
  • Improv Piecing: How To Think Outside the Box - by Jess Berrett - A hands-on class, where you’ll have a chance to try new techniques for creating lively & unique patchwork, without patterns. We’ll talk about inspiration, simple tips to for better designs, & a little bit of color theory. Using scraps (some of yours + some of ours), you’ll create a small piece of patchwork, which can be used as the start of a new quilt – or on its own as a pillow, place mat, dish mat, etc. (classroom fee $3)
I've gone back and forth all day about whether to take the Photographing one or the ....something about authoring books one. I think that the photography would be cool and I haven't really any intention to write patterns etc. I guess I can go back and change them if I want... but the other one might be booked up.

Anyway. I'm really getting excited about this. I'm planning on flying on a standby ticket from our friend who's a pilot. So - I think I'll arrive at the airport early on Thurs to ensure that I make it in time! :) My friend Amy is meeting me there and we're going to be roomies. She's not going to the conference, but will be sightseeing around the city while I am. It'll be great since I haven't really gotten to travel with her etc since we graduated. She's really excited since she has never been to Salt Lake (she's a Mormon history buff and looooves that sort of thing). I'm excited!! :)

**Edited to add links to the teachers' blogs. I think I "know" all my teachers except for one!**

Are you going??? Let me know if you've signed up for any of the same classes as I have! We'll be class buddies!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thank You Emily!!

Don't mind, she's three which means that she thought "hey mom's taking a picture I should jump on one foot!"
Last week my CMQG friend Emily came over to sew (was that last week already?). As sweet as she is, she brought an adorable handmade dress for Allie! I think she knows that I don't have the patience for such details on a dress! This one is just perfect! She even figured out her machine's buttonhole function for the bajillion buttons on this! :) Absolutely adorable - and purple which is Allie's (my) favorite color!
Allie has worn this dress twice so far (in one week!) And she keeps pulling it out of her closet and carrying it around saying, "Oh Pretty! Emily  made it for me!" :) thanks Emily!
Also please try to ignore that the first decently lit place that I thought to take a picture was at Victoria's Secret...
I swear we were there for body spray (for my MIL). lol.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Nancy is having surgury...

Nancy's dress - made by Jules of Relish Australia
So have you noticed that I haven't been free motion quilting anything recently? My main machine, Nancy, has not been working properly. She's got some crazy tension issues (where the bobbing thread gets all loopy on the bottom, and the top thread just pulls right through). I had tried everything (even adjusting the bobbin tension - which I then adjusted back to normal when it didn't fix the problem). 

Finally Saturday I got her in to the repair shop at Vogue in Evanston. Jim took a look at it (that guy is awesome) and fiddled around with it. He couldn't fix it on the spot - he said it might be that the tension dials aren't catching (meaning he has to take it all apart and fix it).... or it may be related to a small small nick in the bobbin casing... but he put some clear nail polish over that to smooth it over, and it didn't make it even remotely better. He's figuring it's probably not the bobbin casing. 

So what does all this mean? No FMQing. Since I don't have a feed dog cover for my old White (Betty). 

Also it means that I may be shopping for a new machine (at some date which I have some money to spare). I told Jim to call me if the total cost is going to be more than $50 (labor included)... since I'm not sure I want to put more than that into fixing a machine that I spent about $200 on... two years ago and about a dozen quilts ago. I'd have to think about it and discus whether Jim thinks any other issues will arise in the future. 

PS he explained why Nancy seized up a while back too - not enough lubrication in the hand wheel crank thingy (which requires taking the whole casing off to lubricate -- so not really easily fixable. But he said with some time of rest periodically (after quilting for you know ... hours and hours) it will loosen back up again. It wasn't a result of the thread I was using like the other guy said! :) I was right to not believe him.

I'm just going to let you all know...

that as of right now I'm completely cought up in reading my blogs on google reader. Without deleting and clearing them out. :) That hasn't happened in a long time. I missed a few giveaway chances by being too late to enter them. That's lame.

On a more interesting note. I made a rainbow angel food cake (in a regular cake pan) today in preparation for Allie's upcoming 3rd birthday. It turned out amazing!! Very vibrant!

Allie was more interested in the blueberries with cool whip. Whatever. :) Gotta love a fruit loving kid!

Also in recent news, my cousin's baby is freaking adorable (especially when laying on her made by me quilt)! :)

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Chicago Modern Quilt Guild Mug Rug Swap - finished!

My last mug rug was given to it's new owner at our CMQG meeting last week... so it's time that I can share them all with you!

Here's how it all worked. This was a first for me, that it was not a blind swap. I knew who I was making the mug rugs for and they knew that they would recieve them from me too. For that reason I didn't share all the pictures along the way.

My mug rugs were sent to Ebony, Terri, and Rachel. I felt like I started out with just a limited amount of info on each of them. Ebony was the only one that I had really gotten to know a bit (at the retreat last spring). So I did what I always do with swaps, try to challenge myself with at least one part of the swap item.

I'll start with Ebony's - I knew that she appreciated precision and accuracy. Also, it came to my mind while I was planning this one, that she'd asked my gut opinion on fabrics once - trying to be childlike and non-judging about what our first impressions/decisions of choices were. (I'm rambling) Anyhow, I ended up doing a porthole type block with a really fun accent fabric underneath, and a strip of "hoo-ha's" (hehe not my name for them... tutorial for them is here I sewed mine down by machine though not by hand). On the back I added a tiny wonky star and some flying geese (that almost didn't get used there because they were a little wonky in the unintentional way). I'm pretty in love with that mug rug I must say!

Then I worked on Terri's. I hadn't gotten to know her or Rachel very well so I knew just a little bit about them. From what I knew about Terri, she likes darker tones than I tend toward, and also likes batiks. Well I was working with my stash so Terri got an awesome mug rug made with the fabrics from my stash that most resembled her likes... purples and rich colors. I made an offset square block then quilted it, then cut it in a circle. That was my first try at binding a curved edge. It wasn't bad at all... but I did sew it on a little too taught and I'll do it better next time. I love the effect of the round edges and the straight quilting!

Rachel's was a fun one too. Hers accidentally ended up on the large size. I had tried the block on the front several times before, and I still haven't gotten those points to line up just so... but I'll keep trying. I really enjoyed this brighter color palate. The colors were more intentional than I usually work with. I added a tiny star on the back of this one too. :)

Now go ahead and check out the ones I received here. Also, check out the table we displayed them all on at our July CMQG meeting (click here, then click around to the previous pictures to see lots more!).

Super Awesome!

 Sawtooth Stars: they're pretty awesome! I'm really loving this eclectic color scheme too. :) Also really awesome? The idea (not my idea) that prompted me to jump up off of my computer and sew them up immediately! Now that's inspiration. Now eventually they'll have to come down from my bulletin board, but I've been thoroughly enjoying them there. :) More on this later.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mug Rugs

Yep I'm still making them!
Mug Rug for MIL
Here's a sweet little mug rug for my MIL. She starts her first day at a new job on Monday and I figured the occasion was deserving of a mug rug (not to mention that she hinted at wanting one for work). I'm pretty sure she has no idea that I've actually already made her one. I tricked her and Wally into taking Allie to the store just now so that I could finish it before her first day!

I used scraps from my DQS11 quilt... and also trimmed down those three extra string blocks too. The star measures just over 1.25" point to point... :) hehe I think that's my smallest to date. I used some new (to me) Anna Maria Horner Garden Party for the back - that I scored at Vogue Fabrics today!!! It was bound using the "knife edge/ birthing method" hehe. The Ebony style - with an opening left in the middle of the back to be hand sewn, rather than at the edge. It definitely worked much smoother than trying to sew down the turning hole at the edge! 

see how I sewed the pieces together to leave a gap in the middle for turning?
All wrapped up and ready to gift!
 I can't believe I just had time to finish this, photograph it (in the last minutes of daylight) and blog it before they've returned! :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Dear Allie...

"Dear Allie, I pray each day that you will have a long lifetime of smiles and wonderful days ahead. I love you! Love, Mommy" (Inscription in the seam allowances of this pillow.)

Ta-da! (lol) I finished this pillow about a week ago. It's been such crazy weather since... first overcast and dreary, and now hot hot hot! Today I finally stepped outside of my relatively cooler house to take some pics. 

The dresden plates here were my practice block for one of the months of the {sew} Beautiful Bee - I'd never sewn dresdens before and they're a lot of fun! I did a bit of embroidery in the middle - inspired by this pillow.

The little label was sent to me by Michelle of Delightful Disarray with my Pillow Talk Swap package. It's an iron on (handmade?) and I stitched it inside the back flap. Totally cute and professional looking!

And lastly, among those fun hand stitches, here's a tiny little hedgehog tag that I added... just too cute. There's a little red heart on the back of it... :) 


Alexander Henry Heath in Steel Gray
This fabric is making my heart beat a little faster every time I look at it. I want more... and in lots of colors. :) 

I'm working on planning my mom's quilt. I'm excited and think I've nailed down an idea for the most part. I started a "Mom's Quilt" pinterest board. Most of the fabrics I pinned there I already have. It's going to be a scrappy-ish quilt in blues and greys. Maybe a pop of Kona Curry? We'll see. :)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

CMQG meeting, etc...

Sunday was a busy sewing day! We had our July meeting of the Chicago Modern Quilt Guild. It was a sew-in which was pretty nice since most of us had hand work with us to do - it ended up being almost all of us around one table chatting and sewing. Sweet!

At the meeting we got to see everyone's mug rugs from the swap - it was pretty impressive! It was nice to get feedback about mine too. I'm always amazed when these ladies like my stuff... my style is much different than some of theirs and they've been at it for much longer than I. Such a great group! 

I decided to give away my "fish baby" quilt. My friend Alexandra is pregnant and due in a couple months... they're having a boy and that quilt is so cool and really boy-ish (as boy-ish as my quilts get). I did some bits of embroidery on it to make it a little bit more special for them.

At the meeting I had help from the other Emily - in choosing a binding fabric for my DQS11 quilt. Yes, I'm ready to bind it already! After the meeting I added a couple little borders of hand stitching too. I love it! :)

On a whim this evening (about...11:00pm?) my husband informed me that he accidentally told a friend that I was making their baby a quilt (I had made a little tag blanket and toy... but not a quilt...yet). So I decided to see what I could come up with on short notice (I don't really have a fabric stash... meaning I don't have many fabrics that I have even a full half yard of... let alone boy fabrics!). So I went with it. Thanks to my pinterest board for baby quilts I didn't have to think much before deciding on one to make. I finished the quilt top a bit ago... (took maybe an hour or so?).

One more point of business. I purchased some fabrics from our sale table at the guild meeting (everyone brings their cast offs and then we purchase fabrics that others didn't want - the proceeds go to the guild fund).. The fabrics were maybe considered "scraps" but I saw a use for them... I've bundled up part of them to be a little fat eighths bundle for you (a giveaway) and the rest are bundled for my niece for her birthday! More on that later - stay tuned!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Remember this?

If not then check out my new sidebar lists of finished quilts! This is Ali's quilt (not my Allie). :)

(and for anyone thinking of adding a sidebar like this it's not hard... but it's much easier/less time consuming to do it as you go... lol

DQS10 sent...

Really? did I never blog this?
Here's a picture...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Needle Shop

On a whim yesterday I stopped by The Needle Shop after my lovely weekly allergy shot (ack). I have had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket for a while... but I wanted to see AMH's LouLouThi fabric in person before purchasing. I'd never been to the Needle Shop so it was a pretty awesome experience all together.
First of all, that's the first time I've seen some of those Japanese imports before (Echino!). Also, they had the little blue bike fabric that I love but haven't bought yet... Don't worry I didn't go too crazy. I had my goals in mind. As far as selection goes, they had a lot of fabric, maybe not as much as Quiltology, but they I was in love with nearly every print they had (where as Quiltology not so much). They don't order full fabric lines - which is cool and not cool. It's cool because it will take a quilter out of the comfort of having a set palate in front of her - which is also a con. I did find three prints from LouLouThi that I couldn't live without. One of which was the print I walked in for! They also had several other fabrics that would go great with it (not always easy to find the bold saturated colors!). In all I ended up only buying two yards of fabric (one of that awesome fabric, and then quarter yards of the others).
The Needle Shop
Also cool? They don't cut FQ's... which means that I won't impulse buy 8 of them. I did get a couple swatches of fabrics that I might come back for (totally awesome that they do that!). I didn't mind the ripping of the fabric (I totally get that. I do). The guy working there, Johnathon, was awesome. Compared to the stiff, somewhat judgemental lady at Quiltology I'll be shopping at The Needle Shop from now on. This guy actually was interested, asked about what I was sewing, etc. And a fellow shopper asked for my opinion on fabric for a quilt too.

Overall, awesome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A year ago...

 My daughter had the awesomest birthday party ever! I'm a little jealous!! Aren't you?

Yes, I really do have a husband! He's real! :) I'm so glad to be able to share some family pics now!

Monday, July 11, 2011

{Sew} Beautiful Bee - so much fun!

Sew Beutiful Bee

This bee has been so much fun so far!

Without Obligation.

I need to keep resisting the urge to share only finished projects. This place is mine, and my followers are just a bonus --- I don't want to feel obligated to be perfect. Which I certainly don't think my readers are expecting me to be perfect, but sometimes my own thoughts keep me from sharing more of the process.

With that being said, here's a little tiny thing that I tried out a couple nights ago. I was inspired by my DQS11 partner's fav's and also by the resounding "we'd like to see you suffer and make those really tiny" that I got in response to the post of my sketches. I tried the "new york beauty" block for the first time... yes... the first time ever, and I decided to reduce it down by 75%! That's right, this block finished at a mere 4" total!!

It was challenging, but I don't think it was all that much more challenging than the block would have been at regular size. It's paper pieced so that's great. The hardest part was sewing the curved inside and outside parts - since that's my first non-free/wonky curved piecing! Really that was only hard because my presser foot is so huge that it was hard to keep those tiny pieces under there straight (without sewing my fingers!).

I see myself making maybe one or two more of these - this one isn't for my DQS11 partner since I don't think she would appreciate my "in your face" color palate. :) She'll get one that's prettier and more spring colors!

One more time...

Tune in to ABC tonight for "Extreme Makeover Weight Loss" to watch my husband's journy thus far! :)
Seriously... it's gonna be a moving show! (9pm if you're in Chicago like me, otherwise check out your local listings!)

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Support my husband?!

Stop on over and check out his facebook page - "like" his fan page and watch him on Monday July 11th (this monday!!!!) 9:00 pm on ABC!!

I promise I have some sewing related posts coming up soon - but this has been a year in the making and it'll be nice to finally share it (and maybe post a picture or two? I don't have clearance for that yet though!).


We finally have grown up and have a couch again! Which means....

We're now getting major use out of all my quilty pillows!! Two of them were made by me, and two of them I've received in the Pillow Talk Swap. They all fit in nicely and I must say that they're extra cozy since we know they were made with love! (and the one with the target $4 clearance pillow as in insert is much much cozier than the others which were a rip-off from joann's... note to self)

Now to cuddle up on our new loveseat with these pillows and maybe a quilt or two? Who said you can't use quilts in the summer... I freeze anytime the air conditioning is on!

Friday, July 8, 2011


I'm in!

I've been waiting all week for partner assignments to be sent (today)... and I'm in! For those of you who aren't familiar, I'm talking about the Doll Quilt Swap on flickr. Since they have so many people sign up, a lottery is held to determine who gets to play each round. This will be my third round with DQS and it's by far the most amazing swap group ever! Everyone is very friendly and talkative and most of all - creative! 
Sketches of possibilities. That top left one is a triangle shape quilt.
I wasted no time this morning - I stalked my partner to seek out his/her likes and dislikes. I think I have a good start. I drew up a bunch of options to put out there (see if she bites on any of them). Then I stitched up a little practice (which will eventually go into my Scrappy Tiny Fun quilt). 

String blocks, paper pieced, unfinished 3" square, finished 2.5"
Since I've already blogged about my likes etc for my partner I won't go into that now. I'll keep talking about my ideas for my partner. This sample once again, is not at all in the colors that I'm planning on working with (I'm thinking lighter and pinks and such - very spring) -- unless he/she speaks up and says that these colors are what he/she wants!

Next up, a trial of a new york beauties block - in miniature (I'm hoping I can pull it off in 4" or 5" ... I'm not sure but it might work! It's a pretty huge challenge though since I've never even made a new york beauties block.... lol. It may end up as one tiny one for the label. But wouldn't it be cool to see 6 or 9 of those in tiny? We'll see! :)


There will be a segment about Wally's episode of the show on "Entertainment Tonight" tonight (friday). We just found out.

Also - on an unrelated topic. I just realized that Yahoo Mail was eating my comment notification emails from blogger  (sending them to spam then automatically deleting them). I think I have the problem fixed so be expecting to see some replys to those comments more often!!! Yay! 

Are you ready for monday?

I'm not sure I am!

You'd better be watching me cry (I mean watching my husband's crazy year) on Extreme Makeover Weight Loss ABC 9:00 pm. Monday July 11th.
(preview here on facebook)
Wally's sexy at any size.... but me, I look terrible when I cry.

Watch it. Seriously.

Maybe soon I can bare all my crazies that I've been forced to keep inside this year...(and you wondered why I wasn't posting any pictures of him for the past year?) you know since you weren't supposed to know that my husband is going to be a sexy tv star.

I'm still pretty nauseous about all this.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trying on a new look...

I've been playing around with some new blog headers. 
What do you think? I'm leaning toward option one it's a bit different and less frilly than I normally use. I like it. I like the others a lot too. Any opinions? Which one is your favorite? 

Option 1
Option 2

Option 3
Option 4
Previous headers: