Thursday, March 31, 2011

Kitchen Windows Quilt Preview {and a quilty tip}

Each time I finish one of these blocks, I feel a bit more giddy than the last.  I absolutely love how the fabrics look together, and each block offers it's own slightly different view into the fabrics.  I had four blocks finished when I took the photos and am up to six as of typing this post. My goal is to finish the other six this weekend. (I am averaging about 30 minutes per block, not including cutting the fabric.)

I'm still planning to use a smokey blue for the sashing and probably pink for the binding. I haven't decided on the back yet; I think I would like to use a soft flannel to make it extra cozy since it will {hopefully} be used and loved in our living room.

Before I started sewing these blocks together, I broke down and purchased a 1/4 inch quilting foot with a guide. My machine actually came with about 10 different presser feet, but this was not one of them. I had been using my regular presser foot set to a 1/4" seam, but I noticed it was really hard to keep the seam consistent toward the end. Here's my quilty tip: If you do not have one of these, GO GET ONE.  Mine was $17.49 at Hancock Fabrics (I also checked two local quilt shops and Joann's; none of them had this foot...), but I know you can order them online for that price or less (I didn't want to wait).  I have been putting this off for the last few months, but it was so worth buying the extra foot.  My seams are so much more accurate now, and they really are consistent.  Also, when I'm piecing the smaller bits together, the foot does a much better job keeping the fabrics from bunching than my regular presser foot ever did.  Best. Purchase. Ever*.
*with many exceptions granted

I also bought some small quilting pins that I think are much better for holding all those little seams in place while sewing blocks together than the regular sized pins do. I wouldn't call these a necessity, but I do notice the difference and am glad I have them.

I'm enjoying the process of making this quilt even more than I thought I would. It definitely helps that I love each and every one of the fabrics, and Elizabeth Hartman does a great job explaining each step to help a newby quilter like myself to feel a little less like a complete amateur.  (The pattern is from The Practical Guide to Patchwork)

Do you have any essential supplies you put off for a while before buying?


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Della wanted you to know...

...she is expecting a baby sister!

We had The Big Ultrasound last Friday, and our little girl was nice enough to show us that she is in fact a she. So that means I have to start planning things like matching Christmas outfits and coordinating summer clothes!  muahahaha! I'm pretty sure my mom steered clear of coordinating the three girls because she considered it cruelty to have to dress like her little sister, but I'm thinking Della could handle it--at least for a few years!  (Although I do recall several family photos involving matching outfits...)

Because we have no clue where we will be living when Baby Girl 2 arrives (she is unnamed at this point), I'm not planning on making much in the way of nursery decor. I will hold off on that until we know where we will be and what I'll have to work with in terms of space.  I really want to re-do the nursery into a big girl/little girl room though and would love to use a "Storybook" or "Alphabet" theme (or some combination of both).

Here's just a little peek at what I've been eyeing lately for the projects I can't really do!

 Far Far Away 2 by Heather Ross available here

  Carmel Town Fabric by Lecien seen here

1001 Peeps by Lizzy House for Andover Fabrics

Woodland Alphabet Print from Loxly Hollow

Obviously those are all pretty different, but I think that once we move--whenever that happens to be--I will narrow my focus and pick one or two and go from there. 

In the meantime I should probably plan a project I can do like more baby dresses  or a new diaper bag.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Catching up is fun to do

Friends, I have to tell you, I had a wonderful week last week.  We took a little vacation to South Carolina to see some family, and it was so. fun. and. relaxing.  Even the 12 hours of driving each way were enjoyable.

We did quite a bit of sitting around and catching up with family, playing outside Della, and watching her try to chase cats and dogs around the house.  We also went to the beach (yay for warm weather!), took a boat ride, spent a few minutes in downtown Charleston (if you haven't been there, you need to go), and I got to catch up with my bff from high school.

We took the boat out on the Intracoastal Waterway off Edisto.  Can I just say that I love being on the boatI do. My dad won this boat in a Carp tournament many years ago, so it's been part of many fantastic memories in my life.  I'm a water girl and I could have spent the week on the boat. 
 We were out during high tide, so we got to explore some of the tide creeks and look for alligators.  We didn't see any, but we did see an eagle and an osprey. 

I wasn't sure if Della would love the boat or hate it, but thankfully she loved it.  This was her first time, and she was not scared in the least--not even when we went fast! 

I just think this is a cute shot.  She enjoyed sporting her summer clothes and exploring the house.  Rocking chairs on the front porch? Yep, she has that one down.

This was actually a few days before we left for vacation when we had something akin to Spring weather here.  I'm not sure what happened, but the day after we returned from 80 degrees in Charleston it snowed here.  I made this dangerous* pasta with tomato cream sauce (*dangerous=delicious and I can't stop thinking about it two weeks later), which we both enjoyed at dinner for several nights in a row.

Up later this week: a baby update and some preview shots of the living room quilt!

One more shot of a side creek of the Intracoastal.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let's make a pact.

{This is supposed to be a post with finishes from the weekend but something happened to my pictures, and due to technical difficulties, we're putting that off and working out this little pact...}

Friends, there are some pretty sweet swaps out there.  Mug Rugs. Pillows. Mini Quilts. Fabric.  and lots more.  The problem is I feel like I *almost* always find out about these swaps just days after they close. And I'm not the type to email the hard working volunteer organizing the swap asking him/her to make an exception for me.  I just suck it  up and move on, hoping I'll find out about the next one days before it closes.

{Please note, I just deleted an entire paragraph of whining about this.} 

Let's get on with this pact of ours, shall we?  If you hear about a swap, even if you're not participating--but especially if you are!--don't be shy about getting the word out on your blog.  I pinky-promise I will do the same! (But given my track record, you're not likely to learn about these swaps from me first.)

{End of rant and pact making.  Please feel free to spread the pact love around!}


Friday, March 11, 2011

Mom's birthday bag & an announcement

Go way back to November with me for a minute, will you?  That's when my mom celebrated her birthday. It's also when she visited and brought me some fabric she wanted made into a lunch bag.  Actually, she brought the lining and I let her pick out the outside fabrics.  I told her it would be a few weeks because I needed to finish some Christmas gifts but I would have it for her before the school started again  (she's a teacher, you see). 
Now fast forward to today.  Yes, today as in five months later today.  My mom got her bag in the mail (although she was more excited by the picture Della colored for her than the bag...).  She does like it though and said it was worth the wait.  

I say it's her fault it took so long though.  You see, she had to go and have another grandbaby come into the picture.  Shortly after she requested the bag, she also found out she would be getting another grandchild sometime in August of this year.  And that grandchild of hers spent its first three months of gestation taking every ounce of energy I had.  Remember the two month sewing hiatus?  Yep, it was that little bitty baby.  With that said, I am immensely thankful for the time to rest and the new life we will be welcoming just five more months from now.  I'm also thankful for the renewed energy that comes with the second trimester.


p.s. I decided on the quilt. I'm going to do the Kitchen Windows quilt. I ordered four of the print fabrics and will use 2 from my stash. I also have a gift card to a local quilt shop, so I'll use that to get my solids--charcoal/dark gray for the window panes and icey blue for the sashing.  I have no clue about the backing or binding yet.  I'll figure that out after I get the top finished!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dress a Girl Around the World Reminder

Last week I told you I was going to participate in the Dress a Girl Around the World Sew Along. That is in full swing now, and it's not too late for you to join too! You can find a super easy (read: MAX 2 hour project) Pillowcase Dress Tutorial to help you, and if you want to make a smaller or larger size, you can check out these measurements

I finished my dress Monday night but haven't been able to get photos yet, so I'm going to share some of my favorites from the Flickr Pool of finished dresses.

Are you participating in this or another charity-type sewing group? I know there are so many charities and ways to use your sewing skills to benefit others.  Our church also makes dresses for an orphanage in Ghana, and I am constantly seeing calls for quilts to be made for orphans, soldiers, or those harmed by various tragedies around the world. 


Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Some major quilting inspiration

In keeping with my over-ambitious self, I spent too much time this week looking at various quilting projects and fabric.  I really love the idea of using a custom fabric bundle that combines various designer lines and different kinds of fabric (voile, for example).  In my browsing, I came up this fabric at Hawthorne Threads.

I think peonies are a beautiful balance of bold and delicate, very feminine.  The color combination is superb here as well.  So I started looking through some fabrics with similar colors (I love the color finder tool on the HT website!) and I came up with this little combination~

1. Harajuku Peony in Brite, Alexander Henry
2. Zen Garden in Gray, Patty Young for Michael Miller
3. Free Spirit Designer Solid in Crystal
4. Four Square in Lilac, Anna Mariah Horner for Westminster/Free Spirit (voile)
5. Peeking Polka Dot in Gray, Laura Gunn for Michael Miller
6. Blue Bell in Nude, Alexander Henry (voile)
7*. Dangling Ovals in Poetry, Patricia Bravo Art Gallery

I'm not entirely sold on #7, but from the selections at HT, this was a favorite. I also like this foliage print as well as this "unknown" from my last MSQB block.

I haven't added anything to my cart, but I'm seriously considering it. I have two quilt patterns that I have been wanting to make for a while, so I would use it for one of these (sources for images pasted below each).

Kitchen Windows Quilt from The Practical Guide to Patchwork

What do you all think? Do you like the color/print combination? Do you have a preference for which quilt pattern they would look best in? Do you think I should scrap this and start over?  I need a little help making up my mind!


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fabric love (and a thank you)

It has been nearly 3 months since I have bought any fabric.  This, folks, may be a record. I try not to track these sorts of things too often.  Well, for my birthday back in January, I received a Joann's gift card from Beth.  Then last week I received a whole stack of coupons from Joann. Then today we went to the late service at church, so I told Hubby that if we left early we could get donuts which he could eat in the car while I went in and bought some new fabric with my gift card.  "Deal," he said!

So, here's what I got.

3 yds. Kona White fabric
1 yd Gray fabric
1 yd Cute birds
1/2 yd Pretty purple with bright flowers
FQ Orange with green dots
(not pictured: a new box of pins)
These two are my favorites.

Thanks, Beth!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Patchwork Square in a Square Quilting Bee Block

You all, I am on a roll! I finished Casey's block for the Modern Stash Quilting Bee, and it's only Saturday.  That means I have two more nights to sew (OK, and clean) before this week is officially over in my book.  Casey is having us send blocks based on Patchwork Square in a Square tutorial from the Sometimes Crafter, and it's the perfect block to make a quilt for her daughter's room.

Does anyone know what the pink fabric is below? I bought a FQ of it a while ago but didn't get the side of the selvedge that has the info printed on it.  Any help with identification would be great!


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Dress a Girl Around the World Sew Along

A few weeks ago, some ladies from my church got together to sew some dresses to send to an orphanage in Ghana.  For several reasons--the most legitimate being lack of childcare for Della--I could not participate beyond donating some fabric.  I'm making up for it this month though by committing to participate here.

I think a sew-a-long is a great idea, but I typically find out about them once they have started. This one starts next week though, so I actually have time to plan it into my increasingly-limited sewing time.  So it looks like March is fairly booked for me. Mom's lunch bag, two quilt blocks, a pillow dress, AND if I have time, I need to make my quilt top from all the lovely blocks I received back in January.

What are your March sewing plans?