Sunday, December 30, 2012

2012 Blog Goals Recap!

Here's a recap of my goals accomplished for 2012! I have accomplished almost all of them!!

Fav things made in 2012
Favorite things made 2012

2012 Goals: 
  • Finish my Swoon quilt - free motion quilting it by domestic machine (even though it's huge!) - DONE!! Finished on my new-to-me Juki Tl98e. This was one of the first major projects I did on the machine!
  • Finish my {Sew} Beautiful Bee quilt - drunk love with AMH. It's even huger than the swoon quilt! Done! It now lives on my bed! :) 
  • Try a mid-arm or long-arm machine. Just to say I did. I know it's been offered before but I'm still a little shy about it. I need to give it a try. Done and not done. I tried out some long arm machines at a quilt show this year and it was a lot of fun! However, I didn't quilt a whole quilt on one yet. My friend Marla has offered to let me come play on her long arm - and I intend to take her up on that this coming year!
  • Do a bit more designing of quilts and tutorials. As in actually record the how and what. Maybe put together a quilt pattern? Several new tutorials here on the blog this year, as well as a couple projects on Pellon's website. I have a couple more coming too! I've gotten a lot better at keeping track of my measurements and process too.

  • Sell, swap, etsy, or commission. I'd like to sell something this year to make money for more fabric. Done! I've funded most of my upcoming trip to QuiltCon already by selling some pouches and Christmas stockings. All these things were by commission and I welcome future commission work too. 

  • Meet local bloggers (specifically Sally, Sara, and Angela). I met two of the three! Sally and Sara are both just as sweet in real life! I'm so glad to have met the m in person! I look forward to meeting many more blogging friends next year at QuiltCon!
  • Continue with swaps and bees. Pushing myself each time to learn something new and challenging myself to work on more and more difficult blocks. Done! I continued with the Doll Quilt Swap (and became a mama, and now head mama!). I also did Pillow Top Swap and Ratz Swap! Some of my most intricate work has come from swap projects!
  • Work on making connections within the sewing industry community. Also, I'd love to take a class on sewing machine repair.... anyone have an idea of where one learns such a thing? Done (although this step will never stop being done). I've learned so much from other bloggers, local guild friends, and facebook friends. You guys are all great! Although I haven't found a way to learn sewing machine repair!
  • I'm toying with the idea of trying to get published somehow. I'm working on this. I have two projects in an upcoming book by my friend (eek!) But I won't consider this accomplished until I see my name in print. I suppose I would also consider my Pellon Projects to be "published" too. So cross this one off the list!
  • Go on the quilt retreats offered by the CMQG - continue getting to know those fabulous ladies! Done! I had the absolute most fun at the last retreat, and I feel like it really solidified a few major friendships with fellow guild friends. I learn so much from these talented ladies and I'm glad to share the journey with them!
  • Co-host a new swap with Emily. We did this swap and it was a real hit! My {modern} Robin quilt top is finished and I just need a bit more of a specific fabric for the backing. The swap itself was so much fun and I think Emily and I should do this again sometime!
  • Quilts to make this year 
  • Michelle's Celebration Quilt - almost finished! The top and backing are both done, and the binding is prepped! I'm just waiting for Michelle to order her batting. This will be one of my first finishes of the new year!
  •  A quilt for Lindsey - Done! It's finished and she loves it

I did pretty good on my goals for the year. I've been working on a new list of goals. I'm looking for more challenge and growth this year. It's always fun to come up with new goals! They all start as pipe dreams!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Who else needs a hug?

My quilt didn't get accepted into the quilt show at QuiltCon. 

I'm sure all the ones that were chosen are beautiful etc, and I know those are probably pretty fantastic quilts, but it's still hard to know that mine wasn't chosen. 

I guess all of us who weren't chosen can have our own little pitty party today. That quilt is my best work ever, and I'm still proud of it. It can be enjoyed every day in Mona's sewing room. :) 

Does anyone else need a "my quilt wasn't chosen" hug? 

Monday, December 24, 2012

{Sew} Beautiful Bee - Lindsey's Quilt Finished!

This post has been on the back burner for almost a month - I was in a rush to finish it before our trip to see family at Thanksgiving, and with the pouch hop starting right after, I just didn't have the time.

Lindsey was excited to receive her quilt!
So here it is! Finally!

For my month of the bee this year I sent pieces of several fabrics in Joel Dewberry's Heirloom line. I asked my bee mates to create any block they wanted measuring about 5" x 7" - then border it with the 1" white sashing, and again with the print fabric. Each of these blocks were unique and I loved seeing the designs my bee friends came up with!!

I had chosen my cousin Lindsey as the recipient of this quilt last Christmas because she is really close to my family in a special way. It's hard to describe, but Lindsey is present in our family - she's there to be a support and a helping hand even though she doesn't have to do it. Throughout the past few years Lindsey has visited my sister's house very frequently, she's helped my sister through a lot of things especially by participating in the "late night baking" that my sis does as a way to de-stress/unwind etc. Any time that I'm in town Lindsey is there. She's even come all the way here to visit me!

spoonflower quilt label

I guess what I'm trying to say is that she's more than a cousin, she's more like a sister. She deserved a quilt.

The quilting process was intense!
I'm really glad to be able to share my sewing with people I love. I hope that this quilt will always be that great big hug when Linds needs one, and the knowledge that we're praying for her too (I write prayers inside all my quilt bindings... so she's literally wrapped in love and prayers!). 

Prayers inside the binding.

What's even more sweet is how excited Lindsey was to get this quilt - she really appreciates it, and understands the worth of a handmade quilt. It makes me happy to know that she loves it. 

Free motion quilt detail.
It was a real hurry to get this one finished in time to gift it at Thanksgiving, mostly because I had put off quilting it for so long. I did it though. I quilted each block with a different free motion design, and stippled throughout the white sashing. I didn't pre-plan my quilting designs for the blocks, but rather went with it once I got to a block. It was scary, and some of the blocks are better than others. 

Overall I'm really happy with this quilt. It expresses a love I have for learning new things, even if the quilting is less than perfect.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

New Moo Mini Cards!

Mini Moo Cards!

I've been meaning to re-order my Moo Mini Cards recently - I really love the last batch that I'd ordered, but I had accidentally left my email address off the card (not very helpful!). So it's been on my to do list recently.

I knew if I waited long enough they'd offer free shipping - and last week they did! Moo has a friend referral program where orders using the friend link will get 10% off their first order - and the referring friend gets $ toward moo products. Apparently I'd blogged about the last time I ordered Moo Minis because I had some money waiting on my Moo account! Pretty good deal! I paid nothing for this order!

I don't know what the process is to print these cards... but I placed my order last Thursday (late night), and they arrived Monday. That's crazy!

I use these cards in swap packages, as tags on any custom orders or gifts, and to pass out whenever I have the need - at work when I'm chatting with a fellow quilter, etc. I especially wanted new ones with my email on them for QuiltCon! Now I'm all ready for the trip! Ok not ALL ready, but still, one step closer!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Handmade Teacher Gifts!

Chocolates and Pouches for the teachers, bus driver, and bus attendant.
Earlier this week I was sewing with my friend Mary Lois, and I whipped up two of my go-to size bags. These are essentially the Pontoms Pouch but using the starting measurements of 10.5" x 6.75" pieces (and the boxed corners are cut using a 1.25" square). They finish at about... 7" x 3" x 3". Perfection. One for Allie's teacher and one for the teacher's aid. 

Then tonight Allie and I had some fun and made this super simple peppermint bark. I found the recipe on pinterest - it's fool proof. We used the crushed Andes mints from the baking isle since I couldn't find any of the peppermint/chocolate baking chips. I'm pretty sure the Andes chocolates are better. :) Oh and we used crunched up pretzels instead of nuts - I hate nuts and didn't want to mess with them. 

Finally while packaging them up I needed a super cute tag which I found courtesy of Rachel @ Imagine Gnats - follow the link for a super cute free printable! 
Tomorrow Today will be a bittersweet day for us. It'll be Allie's last day in the Hearing Loss classroom for pre-school. This is really really exciting because she has tested at or above her hearing peers in all areas. But it's sad because we really love her teachers and her classmates. These are her first friendships outside of family. It's precious and heartbreaking. She misses them over the weekends - it's hard trying to explain that she'll be at a different school when we come back after break (there was no hearing loss pre-k class at her home school, so we've been at a different school a bit farther. Her current school doesn't have room for another kid in the regular pre-k class). 

Allie playing animal doctor - on a school field trip.
We've been fairly sure that Allie would be mainstreamed once she got to kindergarten. Her speech is great, and with her hearing aids she has access to almost everything. She was placed in this classroom because she aged out of the state's "Early Intervention" (birth - 3), and wouldn't have any speech guidance otherwise since all the pre-k classes are so packed we couldn't get her into a regular class. 

It makes me think back to when she was just a couple months old and we had only just learned that she had a hearing loss. It was all a whirlwind and we just didn't know what to expect. I've been thinking about that time period a lot recently; a distant cousin of ours recently had a baby who also has hearing loss (the situations are probably not related since she has other issues as well). Our cousin has been stressed out with the same questions, will she hear my voice, will I ever hear her say "I love you"? I'm really grateful for the support we've had throughout the years - for all those sweet people who helped us to teach our baby how to hear and speak! We'll be adding two new teachers to that list after today. Allie's first school teachers who have had so much patience with her! Thanks ladies, for all that you've done to help us! 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Winner Winner!

I almost forgot to draw the winner for the Pattern Crush Tula Pink giveaway

Our winner was comment #14 Rachel BoothWho said: "I really like their shipping policy! I hate how sometimes you have to keep paying additional shipping... :) But that's just me!! :) Thanks for the chance to win!" 

Congrats Rachel! We'll be contacting you soon! 

How to buy a gift for a quilter:

pinterest wish list fabric
Note: add prices to your pins so that it's easy for a gift giver to choose based on what they want to spend! 

As a quilter (or any sort of artist really), it's hard for people who aren't quilters to understand what exactly we'd like for a gift. In the past it seems that the gift card to Joann's is fairly standard. While that's a great gift it lacks the "You got me something absolutely perfect" that every gift giver would love to see. (Essentially a gift card to Joann's will buy needles and rotary cutter blades, possibly a ruler... usually not super exciting things, but super necessary things!)

So what is the spouse (or friend, or family member) of a quilter to do? Well I personally love the surprise of not knowing what my husband is going to get me for Christmas or birthdays etc. No matter how big or small it is, it's fun and exciting. So here's what I did. I started a pinterest board for that! 

I know, I know, that's a little forward of me to do such a thing. Truthfully, this board came about by me wanting to do some online shopping, but needing to wait for my bonus from work to do so... I wanted to make sure I didn't forget about "that website that sells this..."etc. So I made myself a list. This also helps since I end up deleting products from the list after reading enough reviews saying that it's not necessary or that another product is better!

These came for my birthday, straight from AMH's studio!
Last summer, my birthday was the first time Wally used this to shop for me, and it was a wild success! It was crazy when the mail came and it was from Anna Maria Horner's studio! I knew it was going to be something great (and it was!). That's the reaction a gift giver loves! 

Of course this idea isn't for everyone, but I like it since it's personalized. It allows Wally to surprise me without the surprise being that he picked the wrong fabric or paid way too much for something because he didn't know where to buy it. Also, it's really fun making and curating my little list. My someday purchases.

I'm not sure if Santa is watching my pinterest board this time around, but if he is, he should keep in mind that it's cutting it close on shipping for those things to get here on time! (That reads as though it's a reminder to Wally - but he doesn't really read my blog so I suppose I could say anything without him noticing). 

What's the most thoughtful sewing/quilting related gift you've ever been given? Does anyone in your life just "get" your sewing style enough that they can just pick out the perfect yard of fabric for you? 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Little Gifts...

pouch gifts
Pouches for gifts!! Only one of these will live with me.
As a quilter do you find yourself making little gifts for everyone around Christmas time? I always do. It's not something I mind though. I keep an open mind about gift giving - and 90% of my gift giving is handmade. I don't make myself feel like everyone has to receive equal amounts etc every time. Handmade doesn't really work that way. I make what I love to make, so if I know someone in my family who adores whatever it is that I want to make - they may get more. Another thing to weigh when it comes to these things, is that I consider the gift of a quilt to be a gift good for several holidays - you know what I mean, a quilt is a BIG gift of time and artistic energy - not the same as giving a simple zip pouch. :)

paper pieced flying geese ark
WIP - Bella Quilt - Hopefully done by Christmas? 
Some gifts are made specifically with the recipient in mind (color, style, etc), others are made with a use in mind (pouches and pillow cases). So there usually comes a point in the season when I make the list of who gets what. It was pretty exciting this year when I made my list only to find that I had very few Christmas presents left to make! The pouch hop challenge helped a lot!

Mug rugs! Gifts for my MIL's co-workers!
Here's a glimpse into the projects for my family this year: tons of pouches, pillow cases, super hero capes (yet to be made), and hopefully one finished quilt! 

Pillow cases for Christmas!
I'm feeling really excited about giving the pouches. At Thanksgiving time my mom, aunt, sister, and cousins were chatting about different types of zip pouches - it turns out that there has been a bit of jealousy going around -- my sister gets a lot of zip pouches because she buys me zippers in bulk (and constantly uses her 10 million pouches!) With that in mind, I know that the pouches I've made will be well received.

Linking up with WIP Weds over at Freshly Pieced.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Zebra Bow Clutches

zebra bow clutch
Zebra bow clutch - the colors are slightly off in this pic - that top one is bright pink!

As I'm working on some serious paper piecing these days I figured I'd share some more pouches! 

I made these three bow pouches last week in a hurry for my friend Shannon. Shannon saw the pink clutch I made during the pouch hop and asked if I'd make her a couple for herself and a couple friends. Of course! :) She had the idea of using two fabrics - and when I showed her Elaine's two toned one she was sure she needed one (or three!). 

I'm really glad for Shannon's fabric choices - the suggestion of zebra print (and the fact that I knew Joann's had some = instant gratification!) was perfect! I'm in love with these! 

Looking back, I realize I've made a whopping 11 of these pouches! I've made quite a few changes from the original tutorial - including using my own cutting diagram so that it takes up a lot less fabric. ... I've changed the construction methods on the zipper, strap, and the small part of the bow. I will still continue to credit to Whitney of Elm Street Life who posted the original tutorial. I guess I just don't like following instructions. I made it my own way. :) Her way is a great place to start though!

As for these zebra pouches, they're already making their way back to Ohio. Shannon will hopefully have them in time for Christmas!

Pattern Crush : Tula Pink Salt Water Giveaway!

Today my lovely sponsor Pattern Crush has a giveaway for you guys! 

For those of you who missed the announcement last week, Pattern Crush is my newest sponsor It's a brand new shop, and it's owned by my local friend Samantha.

Hop on over and take a look at the shop - and use the coupon "Hohoho" to get an extra 10% off  at checkout! (Coupon expires 12/31/12)

Pattern Crush is currently taking pre-orders for Tula Pink's awesome new line Salt Water (which is currently on sale)!  Today you have a chance to win a fat quarter bundle of Salt Water in the aqua colorway! 

Tula Pink Salt Water FQ Bundle in Aqua
For a chance to win please check out Pattern Crush's shipping policy and leave a comment here to let us know what you think about it. 

The shipping policy is a bit different than many etsy shops because the shipping on the total purchase is combined instead of adding a charge for each cut of fabric. For example, the first item purchased has a $4.95 shipping fee and there is no shipping fee for additional items (up to 10 yards). If half a yard or less of fabric is purchased $2.45 of your shipping will be returned to you. 

Samantha would like to know what you think of this different format for shipping policy. Do you like it? If not, how could she make it better? 

(Giveaway will end Wednesday Dec 19th at 6:00 (central), and a winner will be chosen using

Saturday, December 15, 2012

In Times of Tragedy... I Paper Piece.

I think we have all had a bit of an emotional day with the tragic school shooting. We're all hugging our littles and trying to grasp the reality of what happened. 

After watching approximately one news cast this evening I couldn't take any more. I needed something to provide a bit of numbness. So I went to my old friend, foundation paper piecing.

Yes, I paper piece when I need to clear my mind / when I don't want to think / when I need to feel something other than the emotions in my head. (is that weird?) 

It seems that I haven't taken a photo of this since adding the last border -- which is a wide border in a black and white print... 
It didn't hurt that I've been wanting to finish this quilt before Christmas... but I keep putting it off because this next step requires drafting another giant circle of paper pieced flying geese... which to say the least, is not easy. (I'm fairly sure there's a computer program out there somewhere that would do this for me, but I haven't yet learned). 

So. That's what I did tonight. I drafted up that giant arc of geese... each "unit" includes 8 geese (approx 3" x 4" each) - and the arc will require six units of geese. I finished one unit and cut the fabric for the other 5 units! I feel accomplished. The piecing of the other units should go fairly quickly since everything is prepped. 

This is truly mind-numbing work - but not in the normal sense -- doing all the drafting and prep work takes a lot of brainpower / measuring / double checking  It leaves no room for any other thoughts. Such a luxury on a day like today. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Mug Rugs By The Dozen!

You might be thinking that with all the pouches popping up around here that I haven't been quilting at all. Well that's only partially true. but I've been working a lot on some long term projects - harder piecing, and finishing some little stuff. 

One of my major projects the last few months has been a commission for 13 mug rugs (yes, thirteen!). My mother-in-law has had a couple made by me (and even made by Allie) mug rugs on her desk at work. Her employees like them... so MIL had me make them each one! 

I worked toward having a variety of colors and styles - there are a few guys who will be receiving them so I couldn't have them all girly! As it turns out, a couple of my favorites are those gender neutral ones!

I've been working on these slowly since September, and sat down to do all the quilting in one afternoon. It was fun to play around with a variety of quilting for these. 

I also tried homemade spray starch when I was preparing the bindings. I decided I don't like spray starch (after it singed onto the bottom of my iron - and I can't get it off!). It's nice that it makes things crisp, but overall not worth the hassle.

I made my own labels (printed on my printer), fused to the mug rug backs, and sewn into the binding. I know these won't be permanent, as the Wonder Under washes away in a few washes, but they're nice to have on there. 

Finally, I used a bit of embroidery floss to tie one of my Moo cards to each one. I like using this as a little tag, so people know who made the item, and they can then follow my process here on the blog. 

I'm hoping these mug rugs are well received - either way, they've greatly helped fund my trip to QuiltCon

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Little Pouch Hop: Week 2 Winners!

Finally we're ready to announce the week 2 winners for the Happy Little Pouch Hop! 
Congrats to all the winners! Check your Flickr Mail soon, you'll be hearing from us!

Prizes have generously been donated by:

$10 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop - #3 SuddenlySandra

Gathered clutch pattern #24 SuddenlySandra (again!)

Oh Fransson!
Oh Fransson! perfect zip pattern - #28 Negligent Style

Oh Fransson! perfect zip pattern - #10 jennyWrenCameron

One package of Pellon SF101 - #43 Hook and Needle

While Baby Naps - kit - #61 Paskiaq1

And the last prize, the co-host's fav pouch... 
$10 gift certificate to Fat Quarter Shop - Cutsewpresslove, which was one of the only pouches found in both Elaine and I's flickr fave's! :) 

Thank you to all of our sponsors and all our great pouch enthusiasts who played along! I can't wait for next year's pouch hop! Be sure to follow Elaine and I's blogs, we make lots of pouches throughout the year too! :) 

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Doll Quilt Swap 13 - Sketching and Planning!

Just after Thanksgiving we received our partner info for the thirteenth round of the Doll Quilt Swap. I'm really excited about this, and I'm feeling really inspired by my partner's style. 

So here's my plan (so far), I'm going to start piecing some foundation paper pieced stars, English paper pieced stars (like those Camelot stars), free pieced stars, and some half square triangle chevrons to mix things up. The scale of these stars will vary from about 4" - 8". 

I'm not quite settled into a color scheme yet, but since my goal for swaps is to challenge myself, I'm pretty sure I'm going to try to accomplish a balanced low volume, scrappy, grey background. I have a few fabrics in mind... but it's going to be strange for me.

PS: Linking up for WIP Weds @ Freshly Pieced!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pattern Crush - A New Modern Fabric Shop!

Today I'd like to welcome my newest blog sponsor, Pattern Crush! 

Pattern Crush is a brand new online fabric shop owned by Samantha who is inspired by modern fabric designers such as Tula Pink, Deneyse Schmidt, Kate Spain, and Laurie Wisbrun. Samantha has been sewing and blogging over at her blog (also named Pattern Crush), and she's just starting out in the scary and exciting venture of fabric shop ownership!

Pattern Crush is up and running, and is currently taking pre-orders for Tula Pink's Salt Water! These fabrics are priced at a reduced sale price for all pre-orders! This fabric is set to arrive in the shop soon, and will ship soon after! 

Please help me welcome Pattern Crush as my newest sponsor! Go see what they have to offer, and snag some of that Salt Water so you'll be the first to get your hands on it! 

For frequent shop updates follow Pattern Crush on Facebook! 

HLPH {Challenge} - Final update!

It figures that on the last night of the challenge I would make my favorite pouch all week!

happy little pouch hop

I set out to make something just for me - I guess I was feeling a little down because I've made all these awesome pouches, yet I'll be giving them all away at Christmas this year. SO, of course I needed one just for me.

happy little pouch hop

I decided that it should be a pencil pouch since I don't have one, and because then I could use it every day in my purse! I initially thought of this tutorial, but it makes an unlined pouch. Then I thought about the way these were constructed, and knew that the lining part would work just the same (essentially it is the same, without boxing the bottom two corners). Then I added a bit of this (I sure love my "purses" pinterest board - pouch inspiration galore!). Finally I added this as the color inspiration! (yes, I essentially stalked my flickr account like I would for any swap partner!

Happy little pouch hop

I love the results! I wasn't quite on spot with my colors - but I was working with what was handy - and these hexies were already basted and joined into a rainbow strip. I'm love love loving the pull tab - I used two layers of Pellon 809 Decor Bond and Pellon 805 Wonder Under.

happy little pouch hop

Finally, a little bit of pretty pouchiness for me! 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Happy Little Pouch Hop: Day 10 - The Final Day!

Can you believe our two weeks have come and gone already? I just can't believe it! Elaine and I have had a lot of fun gathering all you Pouch Enthusiasts together to share ideas, tutorials, and pretty pouches! Thank you guys for making this blog hop so much fun!

Let's take a little look back at what we've made...

Pouches made by you!!! Find the proper links to all these pics tagged here.

HLPH {Challenge} - Pouches made by me in the past two weeks!! 

As a lover of pouches I must say that I don't want the pouch hop to end! So you can all continue to post your pouch makes in our flickr group and.... Join us again for round 2 of the Happy Little Pouch Hop - the same time next year! That's right - We're planning to make this a yearly gig which is absolutely perfect for finishing off our christmas sewing (pouches! Everyone gets pouches!)

I sure hope you guys have enjoyed this as much as we have!

I'm sure you'd all agree that it's time to thank our fabulous sponsors! Be sure to check them out for all your pouch making needs!

Prizes have generously been donated by:


Don't forget to submit the pouch(s) to our flickr discussion for this week to be eligible for our fabulous giveaways! Submit your pouches to the discussion page no later than Saturday, December 8th at 12:00 Noon, CST! We'll draw names using, and we'll also choose one "Happy Little Pouch Hop Favorite" which will be chosen from Elaine and I's favorite's (I hope we can agree - since they're all so awesome)!

If you'd like to weigh in on our decision please check out our flickr group page and leave a comment here with the link to your favorite pouch made during the swap (this week or last). I can't wait to see what you guys think!