Thursday, December 8, 2011

I finally get to tell you...

...we are moving!!  

We have spent the past year since Brandon's graduation not only enjoying having school out of the picture but also preparing to do what we know we are called to.  He is taking a position as an Associate Pastor in Arizona, and we could not be more excited! It has been pretty incredible to see some really specific prayers answered in the last few weeks, and I think that when we finally get a chance to sit down and breath, we will enjoy seeing how God worked in our lives over this past year.

So I am going to be packing up my sewing room tonight (with the possibility of a few tears!) and will not be doing much in that regard for at least the rest of the month. I will also not be on here much throughout the month, but feel free to check in any time via email! {irenedesign at ymail dot com}  

Along with moving a few states south and much closer to most of our family, I will also not be working full time any more!  I have loved my job, but I am really excited about this next phase of being able to focus more on my family and really settling into our church and city communities.  And true to my over-ambitious mind, I have about 10 different scenarios running through my head of how I can start my own business of some sort at some point.

So here is to a crazy year almost behind us and a year full of who-knows-what ahead!!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Embroidery Hoop Christmas Ornament

Monday I found out I would be going to a luncheon this coming Sunday that included an ornament exchange. I thought about heading out and buying one, but not being one to let things be simple, I decided to make one. I knew that last night would be my only chance to do so before Sunday.

Last year, Kristie at OCD made some really cool ornaments with fabric and an embroidery hoop, so I took a cue from her and went that route.  {I didn't see this until looking for links this morning, but here is a tutorial she wrote!}

Since this was my first, I kept it really simple.  I think the background fabric is a Heather Ross scrap, but I could be totally wrong! {I got it in a scrap swap with Sara.} I used double sided fusible interfacing to attach the the flags before doing my "embroidery", but next time I will try a glue stick or my spray basting because it didn't really stick.  I hesitate to call this embroidery because I was totally guessing on what to do, but I really like how this came out!

I used a 3" wooden embroidery hoop which is a great size for an ornament. {Anyone know if there is such a thing as a 3.5" hoop?  I couldn't find any, but that would truly be the perfect size.}

Since this is the only sewing I'll be doing this week and probably my only blog post {although I do have a finished quilt to show!}, I will be linking up with Amy's Sew & Tell on Friday.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I had Della pull a name for the Scraptastic Giveaway over the weekend, and she picked Bellgirl!  I've sent you an email to get your mailing address so I can ship those to you.

Thanks to everyone for entering and sharing your ideas of how to store scraps.  It sounds like I am not alone in being only semi organized! I sort my small bits by color in clear plastic bins, and larger pieces and fat quarters go into a clear, plastic "dresser" of sorts.


Friday, November 18, 2011

New Wave Quilt and a clean machine

{If you're looking for the giveaway, it's over here.}

My mom has been oogling over my quilts all year, and she recently left me a comment wondering when she was going to get one.  I actually started her quilt back in June because I didn't know what my sewing life would look like post Baby 2, so it was hard for me to keep it a secret this long!  Her birthday was last weekend, and I finally truly finished the quilt with a label, a Priority Mail box, and a birthday card, and now it sits in its true home on her sofa.

Most of the fabrics I used were pieces left from other projects or pieces I bought for projects with my mom in mind that I never actually made! That blue and green are her favorite colors just makes sense given that my mom is someone who really encourages life in its many forms--whether in her own children {now all grown}, the children she teaches, her other family members, her church, or her garden.

From the first time I saw Elizabeth Hartman's New Wave quilt pattern, I knew I wanted to use it, and it seemed perfect for these fabrics.  I was right. I love this pattern.

The quilt came dangerously close to not making it to my mom because both my husband and daughter really liked it, but equality won out in the end since we already have three quilts and she had none!

In other news, I cleaned out my sewing machine.  When I took off the cover, I gasped. Out loud.  It was that bad.  See?! Yeah, it has never been like that before. I am was fairly good about cleaning this regularly, but I think I'll blame it on the quilt batting I have been running through my machine lately.

Holy lint balls, Batman!

I am linking up with Amy's Sew and Tell!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday!

Progress is slowing down quite a bit around here in terms of actual projects, but I did get my sewing room cleaned and organized enough to have some sweet pieces to add to my giveaway this week.

I also {nearly} completed the quilting on my Small Plates quilt. There are a few areas where the fabric was dragging and I need to go back and pick out the stitches and re-do them.  I've been procrastinating on that though {see point one above}.

Beth came over this weekend for a little craft night.  I made one earring.  That's right. Not one pair. Just one earring. Obviously I'm making great progress! You should see what Beth is doing. She is pretty classy.

Oh, and of course I did manage to make a mini quilt for Amy's Mini Quilt Challenge and it is now hanging up in my kitchen!  I have to admit I smile every time I go by it. I love the colors and am really happy with how it turned out {even though it is completely different from the original plan I had drafted on graph paper.}  Next time I'll be referring to Kate's new tutorial for her Garden Windows blocks before moving on the the rest of my design!

Issue 7 of Fat Quarterly is waiting for me to finish reading. It's all about color, and so far what I have read and seen in there is so good.

Coming up this week:
Finish the Small Plates quilt. This one is not optional.
Finish the Violet Top. {What's that? You don't know about this one? Oh, sorry. I keep forgetting to take photos to include here!}
That's it.  No, really. I doubt there will be time for anything else, but if there is, I have an Amy Butler Birdie Sling I would love to make, some fabrics I pulled last night after reading Issue 7 that would make a great mini quilt or pillow, or 2 large quilts that are ready to be started, so I am not lacking in the ideas department as usual!

I'm linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Scraptastic Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed. 

My sewing room is not seen by anyone other than me and a few friends who are brave enough to venture up there.  I love having my own space, but the down side is it gets messy pretty easily.  I would so much rather sew than clean, but sometimes I need to just quit whining and do it.  Tonight I did just that.  I sorted through my scrap boxes, refolded my bigger pieces, and squeezed my yardage into one box.  I've got a nice little pile of fabric I know I need to let go of, and I even came across some really fabulous scraps that I thought some of you might like.

{This little pile includes fabrics from Heather Ross, Joel Dewberry, Amy Butler, Lizzy House, and Heather Bailey...just a few of my personal favorites!}  

After seeing all of the gorgeous mini quilt's over at Amy's Mini Quilt Sew & Tell this weekend, I knew that these could find a good home fairly easily.  Not everyone is into scraps, and I totally get that, but if you want them, they could be yours!

Here is all the not-so-fine print:

I will leave the giveaway open through Friday, November 18 {in other words, the comments close when I get around to closing them some time Saturday morning}.  I will choose a random winner via some random method most likely involving my two year old.

Only one comment per person {no hoops to jump through this time}.  Please tell me how you sort/organize/store your scrap fabrics or what your would do with these if you win.

If you are a no-reply blogger, you must leave your email address in the comments so I can contact you!  {On that note, changing from a no-reply status is much better because then your email is only visible to the blog author where you leave your comment.  See here for more info.} I will email the winner, and if I have not heard back from you by Tuesday night {Nov. 22}, I will pick a new winner on Wedenesday.  {That's fair, right?}

Because this is self-sponsored, the scrap pack is only open to U.S. residents, but if you're an international reader, you can still enter and I will send you a surprise fat quarter :)


Saturday, November 12, 2011

A {Mini} Quilt Image of My Life

When I went up to my sewing room last night, I did not set out to sew up a perfect representation of my life, but that is what I ended up with. 

This {mini} quilt is  flawed, not at all what I had in mind, heavily improvised, still needing to be cleaned up, late, and yet it is also perfectly beautiful, and I am really proud of it.  I was challenged as I made this and reminded of certain weaknesses {like the inability to do basic geometry thanks to my High School self who thought my math teachers were full of hot air when they said I would actually find ways to use their knowledge beyond the classroom...}, but the outcome is so much better than what I had anticipated and I wouldn't have it any other way. {OK, except I am still trying to figure out how to get rid of the pencil marks and already have a water soluble pen on my shopping list.}

The quilting really makes me happy.  The great thing about a {mini} quilt is that it's really easy to wiggle around in the sewing machine, so there are lots of options for quilting.

Ha! Did you notice the hanging tabs on the bottom?

I plan to hang this in my kitchen or sewing room, so I just went with a really simple back. 

I really loved making a {mini} quilt and can see myself getting easily distracted from all the other projects I have in mind to do over the coming months by a series of minis just waiting to be made.

If you want to see more beautiful minis, head on over to Amy's blog to see other entries in her Sew & Tell Mini Quilt Challenge. 

Edited to add fabrics:
Center diamond/squares are Michael Miller Belle Rose Pink, the linen-looking fabric is Adornit Pink Dazzeled Subtle Tan {this fabric is amazing.  I just bought 3 yards to keep for other projects in lieu of solids}, and the pink trim is Melissa Averinos Dazzle Basketweave in Pink.  On the back I used a print from Jessica Gonacha Swift's Giselle collection from Red Rooster fabrics.


Thursday, November 10, 2011

On Quilts Large and Small

Remember last week when I told you about my really ambitious plan to finish up THREE quilts by the end of the year {two of which were still in the form of fat quarter stacks}?  Well, this is a great example of why I hold my plans in open hands. I will be able to finish up the Small Plates quilt--most likely this weekend--but as much as I want to give those final two as Christmas gifts, it just isn't going to happen.  We are about to hit some major turbulence of a good sort as a family, and I am going to have to use my free time for things other than sewing.  I still have plans for a few smaller items, but nothing quite like finishing three quilts before Christmas.

So what are some of those other plans? I can't really divulge a whole lot right now, but I can still give you my sewing plans ;)  I still have my Violet Top hanging in the closet with no hems and no buttons. It doesn't do me much good like that.  I also just might join in on Amy's Mini Quilt Challenge...tomorrow!  One of the great things about minis is they give the option of trying new blocks or practicing quilting techniques without a large degree of commitment.

Here is some mini eye candy for you on this fine Thursday.

It is not too late to join Amy's Mini Quilt Challenge!  It will be open tomorrow, but since these quilts are mini, you {and I} can make one tonight!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Small Plates Quilt Top, etc.

I love when I'm able to get some big "finishes" under my belt.  After spending quite a bit of time second guessing my fabric choices, I finally finished up Diane's quilt top.  That cream fabric with the brown dots is still look a little questionable in the photo, but when it isn't the center of attention, it behaves quite nicely with the others.  I'm using the Small Plates pattern from the Practical Guide to Patchwork for this one.

This one is really just a teaser. I finally bound the New Wave quilt top after letting it sit in my sewing room since I used the Long Arm machine back in July!  I'll show more of this soon, I promise!

And for those two quilts I planned...The first is going to be yet another design from the Practical Guide to Patchwork {I seriously LOVE that book. Did you see Elizabeth's news yet?!}.  I am waiting on a few more gray fabrics to arrive, but I will start cutting this weekend.

And this one is either going to be a Drunkard's Path or Half Square Triangle quilt. I just can't decide if I really want to do all the cutting for the Drunkard's Path or not.  I love that design, but now that everyone has those fancy GO! Baby cutters, I feel like I live in the dark ages with my rotary cutter and mat ;)  I may just need to suck it up and go for it... {Can I get away with not cutting the notches in the center? That is the part that really bugs me.}

My goal is to finish all three quilts by the end of the year. Am I insane? {yes. I'll answer that for you.}  Can I do it? {Let's hope so!!}

Of course, I am linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday. For some reason my button isn't working though.

Friday, October 28, 2011

My fabric stacks--and my to-do list--keep growing

I spent a bit of time playing with my fabrics recently and I ended up with quite a few fabric stacks that I think would each make an amazing quilt.  The top left is actually two stacks, so represented here are 7 quilts!  I have designs laid out for a few and am still contemplating the others.  The problem is, the design light bulb usually comes on sometime well after midnight when I am dead asleep.

The blue strips on the bottom are binding for one that is all but finished, and the red/blue/tan strips are backing pieces for the quilt I gave you a little peak at earlier this week.  The big pile on the bottom is the same as the second photo.  It's a "secret quilt," so you won't hear or see much more about that for several months.  {sorry!}  The others are just ideas at this point.

And, as if I needed my To Do list to grow, I'm also trying to come up with ideas for a quilt for my younger sister who is going to be graduating in December!  She said she likes either the 1920s and 1930s reproductions or Gray/Yellow combinations.  This is the first audition for a set of Gray/Yellow fabrics but I'm not 100% convinced yet {the yellow circles and aqua dots are already feeling a bit too loud}. I do like this combo, but it really needs to be perfect for her!

{These are not exact, but I did my best to list all of the fabrics below in case you are interested.  All were found in various Etsy shops.

Top Row: Amy Butler Midwest Modern Floating Buds in Gray; Heather Ross Far Far Away II Rose Garden Gray; Robert Kaufman Metro Ring Dots Marigold
Second Row: Alexander Henry Boule in Gray; Erin McMorris Weekends Go By Bike Gray; Random Home Decor Chevron Print
Third Row: Art Gallery Fabric Modern Affair Dim Fusion Yellow Leaf on Gray; Monoluna Beach Mod Medium Dot in Mineral; Joel Dewberry Heirloom Marbled Stripe
Fourth Row: Bonnie and Camille Ruby Dainty in Gray; Unknown Decorative Diamonds Fabric; Amy Butler Midwest Modern Optic Blossom in Linen


Monday, October 24, 2011

Freshcut Pillow Case

Several weeks ago Della informed me that she needed a "pah" before she could take a nap. It took me a few minutes to figure out what the heck a "pah" is, but I found out it's 2-year-old-speak for pillow.  The girl wanted a pillow in her crib.  Mommy and Daddy have pillows, so she wants one!

I made some pillow covers for her room last year, so I took one of the pillows and made a new cover that didn't have pom poms on it. {I have to admit that I'm a little scared she would try swallowing one of those!}

I had some fabric left over from making her quilt, so I put it to good use and made her a pillow case. I have to admit that I love it when she gets in bed at night snuggles up with her pretty pah.


Friday, October 21, 2011

A little peekaroo at the good blocks

OK, I showed you the messed up block, but I didn't get to show you my favorites, yet.

I would love to finish the entire quilt top this weekend, but more realistically I will be happy to finish the blocks and just start sewing the top together!

Happy FRIDAY and enjoy the weekend friends!