Friday, October 29, 2010

Blogger's Quilt Festival

For the first time this summer I participated in an online swap. I was lucky enough to happen upon the Doll Quilt Swap on flickr, just as they were taking names for the 9th round. I signed up and hoped and hoped that I'd get in (there were about two hundred of us this round I think). I got the email (on my birthday no less) congratulating me that I got in, and a few days later received information about my partner. DQS is a secret swap, so we know who we're sending to, but not who we're receiving from.
Center panel - notice the hand stitched rainbow of circles.

Having never done a swap before, I decided to go way out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to do all the things I'd never done before. I'd never actually sat down and planned a quilt. So I did. I sat down with me nieces and colored half a dozen pictures of what I wanted this quilt to be. I went with a rainbow of colors based on my partner's likes. The grey was all me (I am really addicted to using grey fabric in everything). I had been wanting to try out the cathedral window quilt block for a while, but had been too chicken to do so. I tackled and decided I loved it but it needed to be smaller. I scaled it down to just under 3" finished (6" to start, rather than the normal 9" or 12").
Close up of the windows, stitched down by machine.
It certainly took me a long time to iron and fold all those pieces, but it kept amazing me how great the blocks looked. Partway through the ironing, I changed up my plan a little, adding some sashing to add a bit of interest. It all came together without a problem. Once it was all assembled I backed it with a pink printed fabric (my partner voiced her love of pink) and added batting (not traditionally done in a cathedral window quilt).To attach all three layers I did some big, bold hand stitches (I'd never done before either) to highlight the circle-ness of the central panel. Finally I did a piped binding that I'd recently seen a tutorial for.
Piped binding.

In the end I'd worked so hard on this quilt, literally spending hours and hours with it, that I was scared to send it off. It sat in my sewing room, completely done, for weeks before I sent it (still on time mind you). I really love this quilt. I don't think I have it in me to make another one, but it was totally and completely worth it. I sure hope my partner loves it as much as I do!!! By the sound of the thank you she sent, she does!

I poured my heart into this quilt. How could I send it off to someone I haven't even met?

Now here's the real story behind the quilt. This summer I joined a doll quilt swap. Did I learn a ton about quilting and myself? Yes. But most of all I learned about a community of ladies (and a few men) who really are there for each other. They really care and support and respond in ways that I didn't know was possible via the Internet. I have friends in real life, who I've known for years, that haven't supported me half as much as these ladies did this summer. They're stand up people. They make you laugh and look forward to checking in each day. Do I know all of them by name (their real names)? No. Do I know that I can turn to them and find support? Yes.
The back, highlighting the quilted circles.
The quilt that I nearly wrote about today is Rosemarie's Quilt, which started midway through the Doll Quilt Swap - Through various group discussions on a couple different flickr groups I somehow went out on a limb and asked for help making blocks to make a quilt for my niece (age 4) who has cancer. Two days later I had envelopes coming to my door from all over the world. Most of the people who sent them were from the Doll Quilt Swap. How can I send away a quilt that took so many hours and so much love? I got more than enough in return. I got community. Sharing, sewing, and talking about Spartacus. What more could we ask for? Here's hoping that I get in for round 10!! :)

Want to see more pictures? I documented each step here.
Check out all the other awesome quilts over here.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Apple Cider

Mug Rug - in use. one of the only reasons I like fall! Enjoying the Mug Rug sent to me by Michelle. It's official, my husband stole the other one!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Gnome costume - first glimse!

Gnome costume
Originally uploaded by emedoodle

Fabric Tuesday!

It's gnome costume time... You can't tell by these pictures...
Last night I was inspired (by the fact that Halloween is less than a week away?) and whipped up this skirt for Allie's costume. She'll be a garden gnome. The skirt is made from the Market Skirt Tutorial from Dana at Made. The tutorial is really great! I'd had it bookmarked since she'd posted it, but never got down to it. I did french seams throughout the project since I don't have a serger (and I knew that the 2t/3t size was going to be a bit large on Allie). It worked out great, a little extra work but well worth it!
French seams
Of course Allie wasn't awake while I was making this, and I hadn't had the thought to measure her waist before putting her to bed. I'll have to adjust the sizing of the elastic as a result. No biggie, although that was the step that took me the longest (can you believe it? lol). 
Gnome costume sketch
Here's a sketch of what I'd like her costume to look like. As I've been reading online/in the gnome book. Female gnomes traditionally (lol) wear earth tones, usually a skirt with a vest or apron. Their hair is worn down before marriage, and they wear a green hat until marriage. So we'll be going to joann's today for some green felt. And I may make her a little apron too, we'll see. The skirt may have a couple fabric flowers pinned to the hem. We'll see. lol. last minute much?
An opportunity to share my thoughts on a program that has changed my life. The Early Intervention program in my state offers (by law) services and therapy for those children birth to third birthday who have delays. Parents whose children receive services through Early Intervention have recently been asked to share their stories to encourage the continued support of Early Intervention programs. I wrote my story up all nice so that I could submit it, enjoy!
Here you can see Allie wearing her hearing aids... they're purple, and so are
 her ear molds (the part that sticks into her ear). Who could resist purple?
 After failing her newborn hearing screening and several other hearing tests, my child Allie was diagnosed with moderately severe – severe bilateral hearing loss at two and a half months old. At the time it seemed like things were all going so fast and that we had the time to take things slowly, we weren’t worried. Allie received her hearing aids two weeks later and we started on our journey with Early Intervention. In the beginning it was confusing and my husband and I did not know what we needed to do first. Thanks to the quick encouragement and help of Allie’s Audiologist, we set up our first evaluation meeting with Early Intervention within just a couple weeks of Allie’s diagnosis. Early Intervention has been an essential part of our lives ever since.

For the past two years we have been on a steady schedule of Early Intervention therapy; Allie sees an Aural Habilitation therapist at Children’s Memorial (via Early Intervention) once a week, and also sees a developmental therapist (who specializes in hearing loss) twice a month. These two therapists have helped us to learn and understand what our daughter needs. During each session we learn new tasks and ways to play at home that will help Allie to learn language in the best ways. Allie’s therapists have welcomed our families into the sessions too, so Allie’s grandma and uncles can see new ways to help her learn. As a result of all this hard work, and with the support and teaching from the Early Intervention therapists, Allie is right where she should be at her age for both receptive and expressed language. She talks nonstop, and is learning new words and phrases faster than we can keep up!

Without the help and constant guidance of the Early Intervention program I don’t know what we would have done. When Allie was first diagnosed we hadn’t a clue where to turn, or what to do. Now, we have guidance, and we have a plan. The very first day that the doctor told us that Allie had hearing problems I had wondered if I’d ever hear her say “Mama,” or if she’d ever hear my say “I love you.” I can’t express enough how important and helpful Early Intervention has been for our journey; not only do I hear Allie say “Mama,” but she also hears and says “I love you” in return. Please continue to support Early Intervention programs.


Monday, October 25, 2010

A post to make up for my last one.

Last night I sat down and designed Katee's Quilt. I intend to finish both Rosemarie's Quilt and Katee's for Christmas. I'm going to make them each a matching pillow case too, and it's likely going to take me really buckling down to get it all done. I just haven't been very inspired on the bigger projects recently. If you don't remember, here's the link of posts about the Rosemarie Quilt, Katee's quilt is being made from the remaining blocks. Hers will have a touch more adult to it (more purples, more saturated colors). I'm planning on embroidering her name there on that strip on the side. I think it'll be sweet yet not baby sweet (since she's 10).

This was my sketch of ideas for my sewing machine cover. I decided on the two ideas that are circled, and then winged it from there. By the pictures it looks like it could be three different covers all together, but instead each side is mostly monochromatic.

Here's the blue side. My favorite side. All my fav. fabrics. AMH little folks and good folks, grey (duh) and also those little owlies are adorable.

Here's the pink side, which I love, but it's a bit more busy than I'd like. Yet again lots of AMH, even some Chocolate Lollipop in there. The black safety pin fabric is amazing and I'm almost out of it. The top panel is composed of random blocks from my scrap bin, including bikes, 1/4" patchwork, and grass green. It's a little out of place but, whatever.

Here's the reverse side. I made use of those few little hexies I made way back (before I decided I don't like hand sewing enough). They didn't match anything I had so I decided no harm in sewing them onto the back here. Grey matches everything.

Now I just have to go ahead and bind it up!

This week...

Half done sewing machine cover

So I had intentions of finishing the sewing machine cover this weekend, and attaching that binding to Rosemarie's quilt too. Well life gets in the way again. It was a stressful weekend due to a couple failed tests (not the school type), the "could be amazing news" (after all this time) type. Anyway, that's all behind us now, better luck next time I guess. It's really getting lame. On top of it at least half a dozen of my fav. bloggers on my blog reader are either pregnant or have newborns. I'm seriously so close to deleting them from the reader. It's just that depressing. So much for that.

On another note, my copy of "The Practical Guide to Patchwork..." by Elizabeth Hartman should be arriving here soon. And I have a garden gnome costume to figure out by Saturday. :) I'm thinking a simple brown skirt, maybe a couple fabric flowers attached, suspenders, and a pointy red felt hat. We'll see, I'm totally not inspired right now.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Fabric Tuesday!!!

Here's mine:
As you can see by my numerous posts this past week (or lack there of) that I've not been sewing a ton. Mostly because I'm too busy staring at the little stack of Innocent Crush FQ's - too intimidated to cut them, and yet to enthralled to work with any other fabric.

I paused today for a moment to finally get going on a sewing machine cover for Nancy - she's my main machine... (Wilma will have to wait for hers). The thing about sewing something useful for yourself is that you over think. I have pages of sketches of what I'd like. I want my favorite fabrics (AMH and grey). But I keep getting stuck. I like what I have here, although I think it'll be too simple for what I want. One side will be blues, the other will be pinks, and the top section (that fold over the machine) will be purples/greens. Bound with purple. We'll see. I may regret separating out the colors. So far I like the pinks the best. Yesterday was a no-nap-time day for the two year old (grr), so maybe I'll get this done yet today (tomorrow... as it's midnight here). Oh and that pink AMH Good Folks Cathedral is fresh from the LQS yesterday! I couldn't wait to cut into that!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Local Quilt Shop

I finally made my way over to quiltology. It's pretty local considering. It's downtown and I hate parallel parking. Lucky for me it is only a couple blocks from where DD has speech therapy every Monday (meaning that DH drove, and parked). It was amazing - even my husband was quite impressed. He'd never seen a fabric shop with "my kind of fabric" as he says... (since of course I'm the only one who's interested in modern fabric that he knows). :) I found some great stuff... and while I was on a very limited budget (I had $20 and that had to cover the $5 parking for therapy too) I did find some steals. First off, I was so excited when I found AMH's Good Folks Cathedral in pink (instead of the burnt color which I accidentally bought online a couple weeks ago), picked up a half a yard of that. Also, got two amy butler grey fabric FQ's for $3 each... and two FQ's of Katie Jump Rope for just a dollar each! I came in at just under $15 dollars (dang cook county tax!).

Look at the loot:
Yum! :)
By the way, the ladies there at Quiltology were super nice too. Talkative and helpful. No AMH's Innocent Crush there yet... but they're going to the Houston Quilt Market so I'm sure they'll bring back lots of goodies!

Friday, October 15, 2010

I've been busy!

...but not busy sewing!

My mom and brother came in to town for a couple days this week. We went to Ikea which reminds me of all the pretty/shiny/artsy things I'd like to have in my future house. I successfully bought a dust pan, an apple corer, and two candles. Random.

The same day that they left, my friend Alexandra came to visit (after dropping off her fiance at the nearby airport). She's just moved to a place that's only 3 hours from me, rather than 10. It was great to see her and catch up after 5 years!! Some things don't change, and I'm glad that that friendship can be one of them!

Today was my first nap time all week to get something done... and I couldn't decide what to do. I've been wanting to make a sewing machine cover for Nancy (my machine)... I have it basically planned out except I'm so hesitant with picking fabrics. I think I've settled into the colors... having one side blues, the other side pinks, and the top lots of scraps. It will be bound in purple or green with ties of the same. I cut some fabric for it, and barely got started when I just wasn't feeling it. I'm not sure, I may mix up the colors, or just try it again later.

On to the productive part of my day! lol. I did manage to cut and prep the binding for Rosemarie's Quilt. It is pretty great, scrappy pinks and purples that were sent to me with the blocks from some very generous ladies! I can't wait to get it all sewn on!!

Annnnnd... I received these two sweet, amazing, perfectly for me mug rugs in the mail yesterday!! They come from Michelle (MichelleSews). I can't believe they're mine!!! I love them both! The purple one is just absolutely my colors! The scull one has teeny polka dotted piecing which makes my heart jump! DH has already stolen that one! lol. They're perfect!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Green Hair...

Hair dying is crafty right? Well regardless I'm posting pics since I'm really psyched about it!

Here's my hair after the first step, bleaching. The bleach worked really well! I think I wouldn't mind just having the tips bleached. :)

Here's step two, which was sitting with the Manic Panic Electric Lizard hair dye on my ends for about an hour. In retrospect I could have left it in much longer. I'll probably re-dye soon for a deeper color.

Here it is with it all washed out and after conditioning/sleeping on it. Perfection. :)
And I know what you're thinking. No this is not done for Halloween. Just for the thrill of having green hair for a while. I've got some hot pink dye, I'll likely add some streaks throughout my hair next week - since my friend is coming over to dye her hair pink.

Obligatory "bucket-head" picture.

By the way, my AMH Innocent Crush did come in a couple days ago. I keep staring at it. what is it that makes me so nervous to try something daring with pretty fabric? Soon I will. I just have to work up the nerve!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wednesday Inspiration

1. Pillow Talk Swap, 2. Pillow 001, 3. Ticker Tape Quilt Detail, 4. Joules in Lavender, 5. Table Runner, 6. Scrappy mug rug package, 7. Trillium, 8. Fresh Modern Bee August, 9. Potholder Pass 4, 10. What a Bunch of Squares, 11. city purple, 12. UHG Swap Item 1, 13. Colorful Crafting with Jen: Rickie's Sashiko Pillow, 14. {Urban} Home Goods Swap, 15. SOS Day 20, 16. IMG_0241, 17. [5:365] Twinkle, twinkle, little star..., 18. Patchwork Quilt, 19. J Rogers Quilt, 20. Wonky Baby Stars - the Grey & Yellow version, 21. Tuesday pillow redux, 22. 9 blocks finished!, 23. Full(ish) view -- quilt top for hubby, 24. sideways cider, 25. the Godzilla shoo-fly quilt

I can't get enough of these. All my inspiration for upcoming projects! According to I should be receiving my fq bundle of AMH's Innocent Crush today! I've never bought a fq stack right after a fabric line has been put out on the market. I'm excited. I'm hopefully going to make a sewing machine cover with some of it, with some other AMH's fabrics tonight. I"m not sure what layout I'll use. I am itching to start, but want to wait for those fabrics! I need to invest in some lighter grey fabrics. I love the solid, opaqueness of the Kona Coal, but I know I'm limiting my creativity with it. Maybe soon, too bad Joann's doesn't carry Kona Ash, or any other lighter greys! Also, I think tonight is going to be the night that I dye my hair green (just the tips). I'm so ready for that!

Monday, October 4, 2010

My first quilted pillow!!!

Last week I received my blocks from the Mod Bento Block Swap over on flickr. It's a central swap, so we all  made our blocks, quartered them, and sent them to the coordinator, who then mixes them up and sends you quarters from other peoples blocks. I'm so excited about the blocks I received; they go so well with the quarters of my own blocks that I kept. Since I'd only gotten the chance to make three full blocks (12 quarters) before the deadline, I decided to make them up into three pillows. Granted, I've never made a pillow before, but it turned out great!!
the quilting of the pillow top, as seen from the back/inside... getting better!
I did a meandering stipple on the front, layered with batting and muslin. My stippling is getting so much better since I quilted Rosemarie's Quilt. I had so much room on that quilt to perfect it! the back is all white (can you believe it, the first time I've sewn with white fabric; I resisted the urge to use grey!), and the opening edges overlap by about 5". The pillow form is 18" and the finished pillow top (before sewing to the back) was just a hair under 19". I think for my own future reference, I'd like to do french seams on the inside (heck even on the outside to look like piping?!) and take it in about a half an inch (finished top being 18.5").

I'm in love pretty much. :) Now all I need is a couch! lol... that one is a LOOONG story. All we have in our living room are rocking chairs (yes, three of them... even a toddler sized one!).

Now, go over to Quiltstory to see some Fabric Tuesday action!

Simple Dish Mat

 Today I whipped this up. So simple, so satisfying, and yet very useful! I used two fat quarters of Dulce fabric, given to me by my aunt for Christmas last year (awesome!!!), and a dish towel I got at walmart for a buck (since I don't have any old enough to be scrapped).
It's basically a 12" square bordered with a coordinating fabric. I was going to make mine 16" square, but my dish towel was a bit more narrow. I used the "pillowcase method" to bind it (aka the Birthing Method ---now that makes me laugh every time!). Simple, easy, start-finish (pics included) = half an hour! Maybe enough nap time left for a nice hot shower? lol. (tutorial here if you need one)
And FINALLY it was sunny enough to get some decent pics of my Scrappy Pincushion that I received from the swap. Ok so it was only two days ago that I received it, but still it seems like I've been holding out forever with this! I love it so much!!! It was made by Jennifer (greeneyedsilversmith on Flickr). She used my fav colors, green, grey, and purple. And she added some sweet little hand stitching in the middle there. It's already in use and I love the weight that the crushed walnut/lizard litter gives! It really is awesome!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Last night I had a dream about sewing...

In my dream I was at a blogging quilt/sewing retreat... at a fancy hotel type place. Strangely a lot of you bloggers were also Catholic (which it seems to me is not true, I think the Mormons have the corner on blogging and sewing) since we went to Mass together. It was amazing. In one part of the dream I realised I was talking to Rita, from Red Pepper Quilts (who actually as I read her bio right now is from Melbourne... not sure she'd travel so far for a quilt retreat?). LOL How crazy is that? It really makes me want to go on a quilt retreat, but it's just so expensive... there's one forming in Utah for next year... I'd love to go but I'm sure it's going to be much more pricey than I'd like!

Guess what!?!

Remember these?
Well they were well received, and my friend did indeed pay me for them. How odd is that? I've never done that before ever, get paid for making something. :) Well with that money (since I basically had all the materials on hand for these coasters, and mostly spend my time and energy on them) I just bought this!
A fat quarter bundle of AMH's brand spankin new Innocent Crush fabrics! Wow I've never ordered fabric so quickly after it has been released before! Exciting. And well... don't tell DH but I had to spend a little out of pocket for it... just a little. :) hehe. Can't wait to play with these!!! YUMMY! In case you were wondering I ordered them over at Hawthorne Threads, it's the best deal for the bundle of 11 FQ's that I could find. :)