Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are you coming to the Fugly Fabric Party?

Charm About You

Only one more week until the Fugly Fabric Party dreamed up by Charm About You starts. I've only taken a very quick gander at my stash to figure out what I am going to offer up but I hope to finalize the selections by the end of the week.

More importantly I've been perculating exactly how I want to do it. Contest? Giveaway? Swap? I think I have an idea worked out, it is a bit out of the norm and I hope fun for my readers, but you'll just have to wait to see what I've got up my sleeve.

Don't forget to check back here on the 8th and be part of all the hoopla. It promises to be a Fugly good time.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

My Nine Patch Blocks Disappeared!

What in the world is going on? I made 9 pinkish Nine Patch blocks and I don't seem to have them any more. Not a single Nine Patch block in sight. Where in carnation did they go? Well.....they morphed into the Disappearing Nine Patch blocks. I finished cutting them into four pieces, flipped a couple of the pieces around and then sewed them back together into their new and improved settings. Here are the remaining 7 blocks. (I have no idea why Blogger is still turning some of my pictures sidewards, but it is making me a bit nuts.)

The Before

and the After.

Before

After

1st came this.

Which then became this.

This pairing was extremely tough. The cherry prints didn't want to work with almost anything else. Then I tried this grouping and I was somewhat satisfied.

I liked it better once it was sliced and diced and reconnected.

Another before.

And the After.

There are some fabrics I really love and wish I had more of, like the center one here.


The yellow in the center square screamed out and it was again really hard to find other prints that played well with it.

I think it turned out fine.

So the 9 Disappearing Nine Patch Blocks are completed and I've fiddled a bit with a possible layout. Sashing will go in between the blocks. What do you think? Would you change it?
 It was late at night when I took these photos so I'm going to lay them out again for another look-see in the daylight before I start sewing them together. Hopefully I will get enough time very soon to just that and this top will be D.O.N.E.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Year!

As we say in Vietamese

and as we say in Chinese
I wish you great happiness and prosperity in the Year of the Dragon.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Nine Patch Blocks

Amazingly last night I did not crash right after getting the kiddos snuggled in for the night and got to do a little sewing on the Pretty in Pink baby quilt. I finished up putting the Nine Patch Blocks together pretty quickly. Please excuse the poor inside lighting. It was night time after all.

I have to admit that the matching up of the charms into each block was more difficult than I thought it would be. I really had to get out of my comfort zone and think outside the box in coming up with combinations that I was happy with. There is really a total hodge podge of shades and prints and scales, and I forced myself to use only the stack from the NJ Shop Hop and I only added a few leftover Luv U charms and bits from my stash to fill in the needed quantity. I'm nervous about how it will come together and I am hoping that when I am finished I will like the result.

Next on to the disappearing part. I cut a pair of these babies into their four pieces, did a couple of flips and this block

became this block. So much more interesting don't ya think.
and this block (sorry for the sideways view, more Blogger problems again)

became this block.
Two down, seven to go. I was sorely tempted to keep on going but since it was already approaching 11pm and I have a busy morning today, I chose to call it a night.

In the afternoon, I'll be working on taking down the Christmas tree and all the decorations. Yes it is January 21st they are all still up but that is what happens when one has house guests the past 2 weekends and we were celebrating the holidays with them. I've never had my tree up this long before but that is the beauty of owning an artificial one now. I can leave it up as long as I want. Perhaps we should leave it where it is until Memorial Day? What do you think? Anyway I'm hoping that I can at least do the same after dinner, get some more sewing time in and finish up these blocks. I still need to decide on the sashing and as usual, I'm open to suggestions.

I'm going to the party, I'm going to the party!

Whoo Hoo! My first party of the year. I'm going to be at the Fugly Party that starts on February 7th. It is a creation of Lucy's over at Charm About You. When I read about the idea on her blog, I thought "Why Not"? Surely I have some bits that I don't love and would happy to have find a new home where they will get the respect and attention they cough, cough deserve. Anyone else interested in playing along? Head on over to her site and check it out. It promises to be a total hoot of a good time.

Friday, January 20, 2012

More bundles for the teacher quilts

Since I last posted about these projects, I've received a number of bundles from the class families.
I have no idea why Blogger insists on uploading these 2 pictures in portrait mode when I took them in landscape mode. That makes me crazy. You too?
These are the ones I picked out for our family.
And these are the ones I picked out for another family; the mom asked that I get them for her since she has a new baby in the house.
Blogger issues aside, this is what I have so far. This stack is for the Head Teacher who's favorite colors are Purple and Green, Construction Paper Green to be exact. 
 And this is  the stack for the Assistant Teacher who likes Royal Blue and the same Construction Paper Green.
But now here is the zinger since I started the planning for these quilts. The Assistant Teacher quit. So what am I going to do???? There are now 2 assistant teachers for the remainder of the school year. My current plan is to make 2 smaller quilts, one for each of them but should I make both of them Blue and Green, somehow making each one slightly different or should I make one of them Blue
and the other one Green?
Last opinion question for you...at least for this post....I need to buy one coordinating fabric for each of the quilts and I originally thought I'd get white or some other neutral. But now I'm not sure. What would you pick to go with this bundle for the Head Teacher?
And what would you add to this bundle if I do both colors for the 2 Assistant Teachers?
or if I do Blue for one
and Green for the other one?
I know all these questions must be confusing so here is a summary of what I'd like your thoughts on:

1) Assistant Teachers-2 quilts using same pile of Blues and Greens? OR One Blue quilt and one Green quilt
2) What coordinating fabric for the Head Teacher quilt
3) What coordinate (s) for the Assistant teacher quilts based on your answer to #1 above.

I'm a Libra and sometimes have a hard time making decisions when there are multiple options so I typically ask for opinions and that is what I'm hoping you can help with here. June and the end of the school year will be here before I know it, so I need to get these projects into high gear very soon.

Help Me Name My Brother!

No, not my 50 year old sibling! He already has a name.

I need a name for this Brother.
I have been her mostly happy, proud owner for 2 1/2 years now and she still does not have a name. And although she is a Brother, she is most definitely a SHE. No HE machines in this house thank you very much! So help me out here by making some suggestions. Pretty please.

What sort of name do you think would suit her to a T? Does she look like a Lucille (or Lucy for short) after my maternal grandmother? Or does she look more like a Loretta (my paternal grandmother)? Or perhaps I should give her my original name? When I was born I was named Lauren Marie, but 3 days later it was changed. I have always loved the name Julianna and wanted to name Sunshine that, but C didn't care for it. He preferred Sarah. Of course, we didn't name our daughter that either.

So you can see, I'm not sure what name to give my girl. And she needs a name. I'm tired of calling her "my sewing machine". That is too bland and sounds so unimportant. She is very important to me and I want to give her a name befitting her status in my life. I'm looking for creative solutions to my dilemma so please offer up your best ideas. There may even be a little giveaway to someone once the winning name is chosen.

Happy Friday to all of you. I get to not work today and hopefully will get to sew some this afternoon. I do have to go buy some fabrics for the teacher quilts project and that will most definitely be fun. With all the bitter chilling weather here lately, anything fun helps keep the winter doldrums at bay.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Pink Progress

A little birdie tapped me on the shoulder and told me about the post my fabrics did yesterday afternoon. Silly fabrics! They certainly have a lot of spunk to reach out to all of you for sympathy and comfort.

Yes they were right in that I have been overloaded the past few weekends with guests. First my family's Christmas celebration, which had to be postponed from the previous weekend because my sister was in a car accident (she is ok) and then my BFF and her family were visiting this weekend, plus the kiddos also had a play date here in the afternoon. Needless to say that I have really been looking forward to some quiet time to arrive and to get back to some sewing.
I did finally manage to get a log a little bit of progress on the pink baby quilt. The strips are complete and my next step will be to sew them into the Nine Patch blocks. While I would have loved to have had enough time to do that during this sewing session, I'm just glad I got some sewing time in at all.

Since the Christmas tree and the other holiday decorations will finally be coming down this week, who knows when I will be able to get back to this. At the very least, I can look forward to some time over the coming weekend. Our calendar for those days is blank so keep your fingers crossed for me that nothing will get added and I can work towards getting this top completed. 

L.O.N.E.L.Y.

In the slow sorrowful style of a deep, rich baritone voice we hear:

"L O N E L Y.....we're so lonely!"

"We arrived a little over a week ago but she hasn't touched us since she took us out of the box."
"And the poor pink squares there haven't gotten any more attention either. She stacked them in their neat little piles and they have been waiting patiently every since."
"We guess that all the house guests that have been coming and going over the past couple of weekends must have something to do with it. First it was all those family members, over 20 we think there must have been, raising all sorts of loud noise and bedlam. But the house did small terrific with all that food cooking downstairs. Then that person she calls her BFF (whatever that means) and her family have been here all this weekend long. It sounds like they are having a grand time, but we want some attention too. We want to be loved and sewn together and created into something wonderful."

"Perhaps later this evening, once the last of the guests head home, she will be able to make time for us. It sure will be nice to hear the sewing machine humming along again."

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Pretty in Pink


What should I make a neighbor friend who is expecting her baby girl in March? A girly quilt of course. After having 2 very intense and rambunctious boys, said neighbor is overjoyed that this new little one is a girl so something warm and cuddly is in order to welcome the precious darling to the world.

This will sew quick I thought. What pattern? Well I'll use the same pattern I used for the Loving Sunshine quilt. It pieced together lickety split the 1st time. I still have some of those charms left over and by adding a few from my stash, I will be all set. Peachy! Does anyone even say that anymore? I am trying to keep it clean here ya know. But over the weekend my darn brain started thinking (which isn't always good because sometimes I can come up with some really outlandish ideas). Don't I have a pretty decent size stack of pink squares of various prints and shades from last year's New Jersey Shop Hop? Yup, I sure do. Well ain't that just perrrrrfect! Now don't get me wrong. I do like Pink and I wear it often but the likely hood that I would have found many other ways to use these squares up is slim at best. So a Pretty in Pink quilt for the little miss it will be.

Brake! Swerve. The plan shifts onto the detour. Previously decided pattern woullllldddddd work but I don't feel like doing the same thing. I want to do something totally different. Fast forward...it's Sunday evening. I hauled my 2 giant and overfilled binders full of saved patterns downstairs and started flipping the pages. Next thing I knew, a page jumped out and landed smack dab on my lap. Which one has the audacity to be so bold? The Disappearing Nine Patch table topper that I saved from a Moda Bake Shop tutorial. Bold little pattern! I guess it has been lingering too long in that book and got tired of me just glancing at it. It screamed to be made. And so it shall.

3 by 3 makes Nine patches. And 3 Nines by 3 Nines makes 9. Put this one with those ones and move the other one to that set. The group over there looks great together but this one? Blech! Me no likey. A little cursing under my breath (the kidlets are within earshot) and Dag-nabit! Me thinks mixing these up into the perfect combinations is hard.  I will succeed. I will succeed. Little pieces of fabric will NOT get the best of me.

Tomorrow is another day and I'm tired of their bickering anyway. A few of these bits aren't playing nicely together. I think some of them need a time out and to learn how to get along better. By the time I am able to return to them on Friday, they should have learned their lesson and be more willing to cooperate. I have no time for fabric that is just being persnickety. A baby is coming soon and it's cold round these here parts.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Crafting By The Numbers

The vast majority of you have resolutions for the new year. I don't make resolutions but I certainly do make lists of things I want/need to accomplish both in my crafting and in my real life (my sisters all call me the List Queen). For me in my creative life I most definitely want to do MORE. Loads more than I was able to accomplish last year.

I also understand, by reading around in quilting blog land, that some of you went overboard in 2011, whether by design or not, and want to do LESS this year so that you can do other things like reading books, spend time with loved ones, whatever. I get that. I truly do.

So as is typical with me, my brain started churning yesterday while I was reorganizing my craft studio (and hoping that I get to spend a lot more time there this year) and I wondered if I should keep track of my progress to see how I am doing. Not long after that I had a light bulb moment! What if I put this on my blog and see who else wants to play along this year, to track just how much they actually DO (or not do as you wish) creative type things. I figured Why Not? Blog land is loaded with great swaps, quilt-alongs, giveaways and tutorials but I don't know of anyone organizing a "keep track of your crafting" endeavor. So I will.

This is how it will work. Each month you will track on a calendar page any day that you do something crafty whether it be quilting, sewing of another type, cross stitch, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, painting, bead work, jewelry making, cake decorating, pattern making, scrapbooking or anything else that would qualify as actually creating something. That is the only rule....you must be creating. Not planning to create but truly creating something tangible.

What doesn't count? Thinking about or planning a project, shopping for supplies, blogging about whatever it is you are doing or planning on doing, attending a class unless you actually make something in the class, any form of cooking or baking though I am including cake decorating since you need to eat to survive but cake decorating is a creative endeavor. Hosting any blogisphere contest, QAL, hop or swap also doesn't count either (party pooper that I am). If you can't hold or touch it, it doesn't count.

How much time during a specific day you spending doing immersed in the creative process doesn't matter but I think it should be at least 15 minutes to be truly a crafty moment.  If you DO something during that day, give yourself a mark on your calendar (or if you are trying to do less this year, give yourself a mark if you don't do something crafty). At the end of the month, I'll do a linky post where you can post your progress towards your goal.
This isn't a contest. It isn't even a challenge. It is an initiative. As a friend recently mentioned it is important when you're trying to achieve a goal to check in on yourself regularly. And that is what this initiative is all about. Working towards you goal of creating MORE (or LESS).

So if you want to join in on the action, sign up in a comment below. Sign ups will actually stay open as you can join any time during the year, though if you truly want to track your progress you probably should "Start at the very beginning, a very good place to start" (as July Andrews sang in the Sound of Music). If you want to add my graphic for this crafting inititative to your blog, feel free. The more the merrier.

I really hope this idea catches on and keeps growing. For me, being an accountant in my non-crafty life, it is always all about the numbers and that typically leads me to keeping track of things. If we all can encourage and spur each other on over the coming year to DO MORE (or DO LESS if that is what you so choose), than maybe by the next New Year's Eve every one of us will be thrilled by all the wonderful things we've been able to do (or not do at all).

Ok, so I've spent enough time getting this up and running. Now it is time to get busy!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Welcome 2012!

As I am sitting here catching up on blog reading, I'm seeing a consistent theme throughout, either reflections of the year just completed or resolutions/to do lists for the upcoming one. I hadn't originally planned on doing this myself but after thinking about it a bit, I figured I would anyway because I would like to read this post a year from now and see just how well I did.

While I didn't get to sew and finish nearly as many projects as I would have liked in 2011, I really hope to do a lot better this new year. Building our new house and then moving for the 1st time in 15 years as well as getting the old house sold certainly didn't make for much free time to quilt. Add to that the fact that both kids had surgeries this year and I worked hard to get the new house into the "home" stage instead of just a house, lots of "me time" things got put on the back burner. So what am I planning for this year? Well most of all I want to actually DO more. A TON more.

I've at least got a start. Yesterday I worked at sewing on the front side of the binding for Jammer's fire truck quilt but of course I screeched to a halt when I ran out of thread. I solved that problem today and by this time tomorrow evening, I will be working on hand stitching it to the back. Next I'm going to get the binding done on Jammer's 100 Good Wishes Quilt. It has been waiting for that last bit of finish work long enough. The other items on my To Do list: are:

1. Finish Miss M's 100 Good Wishes Quilt and send it on it's way. Since I just found and purchased the border, backing and binding fabrics today, at least by the end of this week, I'll have what I need to get it done.

 2. Make 2 Teacher End of Year Quilts by mid June. Since the rest of the fabrics from Jammer's classmates are due to me by mid January, I should be able to shop for the coordinates very soon and then get these projects into high gear.

3. Baby quilt for neighbor who is expecting her baby girl in March. This gift is way behind and it will be amazing if I get it done in time.

4. Shabby fabric quilt complete by Christmas. It will be a special gift.

5. Hollywood Boulevard quilt also done by Christmas. It will also be a gift.

6. Complete my Quilting 101 Wall hanging. It will look great finally hanging in my studio.

7. Sunshine's 100 Good Wishes Quilt. This one will be huge, like her brother's is, but I'm pretty good at Square in a Square blocks now so it should go faster than his did.

8. Brown and Pink quilt. Fabrics I broke down and bought while taking my Quilting 101 class in the fall of 2009 because I loved them and can't wait to see how my vision for them turns out.

9. Another gift quilt, but only if I end up finding the rest of the right fabrics for it.

10. Design and make tote bag idea that has been floating around in my head since last spring. I've even been considering making more and selling them on Etsy once I get the details worked out.

11. Special series block designs that I also have been pondering for months and months. I have a whole list of ideas that I would love to see become reality. It has been hard finding the time to get started on this but perhaps if I try to do one block, the others will come easier. At some point I hope to put them all together into a very unique quilt and maybe even sell the pattern.

12. Although these projects aren't the quilty type, they are the crafty type and they too are long past overdue. I have all that I need to get them done, I just need to make the time. But that is so hard when the fabrics and sewing machine are calling my name. What in the world am I talking about? Well I need to do Jammer's Lifebook, our Vietnam trip scrapbook and his baby book, Sunshine's Lifebook, the China trip scrapbook and her baby book, as well as finishing both of their 100 Good Wishes Quilt scrapbooks, but I need to get the wishes from my mom and siblings in order for that to happen. A couple of months ago I took advantage of the penny print sale over at Snapfish and had printed all the photos from the past 3 years, over 7,000 of them, so I have them here. But they are still sitting in the box waiting. Maybe if I can get done those quilts that have deadlines up to mid-year quickly I can tackle some of this scrapbooking too and even get them crossed off the list by year's end.

I could add more projects to this list (I have a lot more quilting plans), but I think this is plenty long enough for now. I will be absolutely thrilled beyond belief if I am actually able to accomplish all of it. And who knows what the coming months will bring with quilt alongs, swaps or other online quilting events that I won't be able to resist. With life, work, kiddos, and  also needing to do a lot of painting and decorating still here, juggling will the biggest challenge. One way or another, I WILL complete more projects this year.  I was born in the Year of the Dragon and I'm supposed to be energetic and stubborn. Energetic I can definitely be (when the kidets don't get me up in the middle of the night) and stubborn when it comes to wanting to get things finished. I'm hoping these traits will be in plenty supply to enable me to accomplish loads of things this year. May 2012 be the year I thrive on the creating.

Searching and searching and searching

I've been hunting for ages and ages for just the right border fabric for this 100 Good Wishes Quilt that I am putting together for Miss M. The rows have been sewn together for weeks and I've been looking ever since for the border but so far...ziltch! Until today. Thankfully I've finally found just the right combination of fabrics to complete this very special project.

The quilt's future owner loves Pink and Light Green. Her mom originally thought she wanted the sashing to be pink but when I got the fabrics and layed them all out, I quickly saw that there was already a lot of pink and if I had used more for the sashing, the other fabrics would have gotten lost. Hence the decision to use the butter yellow Fairy Frost. But I thought pink in the border might look great. Mid range pink, not pale baby pink or in-your-face bright pink. Perhaps some sort of print with light green and some yellow highlights to bring out the sashing color. Or I could even switch it up and use something light green with a little pink and yellow in it. I JUST NEEDED TO FIND IT! I'm sure you know what it is like to have a vision in your head and not be able to find what you need to make that vision a reality.
   
After hunting all over the web, looking at practically everything that exists in pink with a little pale yellow or light green in it, I came up with fabrics from the Soiree line by Lila Tueller for Moda. Of course since it originally came out in Feb 2009, yardages are hard to come by but I finally scored over at Quilt Home. The one on the left will  be the border, the middle fabric will be the backing and the one on the right will be the binding. I think these will work really well with the what is in the quilt top plus it will also make the pink and light green loving little girl very happy.

Now it just needs to arrive so that I can finish my part of the work and then get it to my long arm quilter. It will feel great to finally have this project completed and in the arms of it's future owner.