Friday, May 31, 2013

Random Notions – June’s Block of the Month

Well, I didn’t post on Wednesday because no one apparently wanted the books I had to give away – there were no comments.  I’m very sad about that, because they are such beautiful books with great ideas.  So off to the thrift store they went.

The block for June was posted in the Craftsy class that I joined.  This month is the LeMoyne Star, and it has bunches and bunches of Y-seams.  The example in the class is done with just two colors on a background, but I had to change things up a bit.  I chose three colors-
Kind of weird, huh?  I don’t know why, they just appealed to me.  The block consists of eight diamonds, each made out of four diamonds.  When I had them together, I had to decide how I was going to put them together- I had three alternatives-
I didn’t like the first one at all.
I liked this one – it gave it a lot of movement, but it still wasn’t what I had in mind.
Three’s the charm, right?  I loved this one.  Once they were together, I had to figure out what the background fabric would be – I didn’t want plain old white – I wanted it to look dramatic and I found the answer-
Yup, I would say that is dramatic!  For anyone that hasn’t seen my previous blocks, here is the layout with what I have done so far-
It’s interesting.  I’m kinda sorry now I used the white on the fan block (color wheel).  Next month will be the large tumbling blocks section.  That should be fun – wonder how many colors I can get into it.

Hope you have a nice weekend!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Random Notions – Unexpected Gifts

As I sat here contemplating how I am going to put the borders on the blue kaleidoscope quilt, it dawned on me that I forgot to share pictures of a couple of absolutely beautiful gifts I recently received.  My dear friend Rebecca took me to lunch one day and presented me with a lovely little metallic red gift box, about the size a watch would come in.  She said she had seen these items online and knew I would like them.  I opened the box to find-
Gorgeous, huh?   I oohed and awed, but then I looked at her and had to ask what it was.  So she took it apart – 
Is this just the most awesome seam ripper you have ever seen?  The colors are brilliant!  It is so smooth in the hand – I didn’t want to put it down.  But Rebecca says- there’s something else-
This is a gorgeous little glass nail file- it’s about 3 5/8” overall.  It is so beautiful and a perfect size.  Rebecca found these dazzling creations on etsy made by Angela Hickey of Polymer Clay Creations.   This woman is truly an artist - she makes custom items and even sells polymer clay canes if you would like to try this on your own.  Rebecca crochets and got the most beautiful crochet hook with a multi-blue colored handle.  I keep my lovely seam ripper right next to my sewing machine and find I am frequently distracted by it – I just want to hold it!

So, thank you so much Rebecca – you really found the perfect gifts for me!

Off to work on those borders!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Random Notions – Back to work and a giveaway announcement!

It’s been 8 days since I was here last.  In that time, I have pushed and pulled furniture and just about killed myself.  Add on top of that the terrible wind that is kicking my allergies into high gear, and you have a big mess!  I got the second buffet table in the room and put it alongside the first- there is now a 72” x 58” flat space I can work on.  I can move around three sides of it, which is awesome.  Of course, the space around barely accommodates my fat ass, but it works.  Plus, I can store all kinds of stuff under it now, which is wonderful.  And the cord for the embroidery machine reaches the computer much easier.  

First line of business was to finish Brooklyn’s Hearts.  Done!  As soon as it was tied, I washed it, because I have been using a lot of starch lately.  My piecing turns out much better with lots of starch.  Here is the quilt and pillow finished-
I used two layers of batting to make it really puffy and comfy.  It feels really good with the fleece on the back.  Here is the pillow- 
I think they turned out pretty good.  Then I got all excited about something new.
I have been so good the last few months not buying yardage – I was sticking to remnants and fat quarters or cheap thrift shop finds whenever I felt down and needed something new.  But I saw this and just drooled!  It is really gorgeous stuff and it was on sale- my justification for buying it.  As I stared at it, all I could think of was more kaleidoscope blocks!  And this is what I have so far, ready to be sewn together-
It was hard to get a good picture of it, since there is a shelf and my computer desk in the way.  This picture really doesn’t do it justice – the colors are incredible- if you like blue, you would love this!  I love making this kind of block – log cabin blocks used to be my favorite, but now, every fabric I look at, all I can think is- will it make great kaleidoscope blocks?!  The blue sashing and cornerstones and white corners were fabrics I already had in the stash.  This floral print was much larger than the green and brown material I made the previous kaleidoscopes out of, so I got fewer but bigger blocks this time – only 10 out of this as opposed to 13 out of the other.  But I am going to make panels across the top and bottom to make it not so square.  With the extra block, I will make a pillow like I am doing with the green and brown.  And I have special plans for this quilt and pillow which I can’t reveal right now.

Okay – giveaway announcement!  I am hoping to appeal to those who collect sewing and quilting books like me.  When I was going through my library not long ago, I found a couple of duplicates.  Yes, they are used books, but they are in great shape and have some great info in them.  I believe they are all now out of print.  Rather than throw them into a donation bin, I figured I would give someone who might like to have them the chance to win them absolutely free- I am paying the postage!  However, because I am paying the postage and I am unemployed, this will have to be open to US residents only.

The books are-

Fitting Finesse by Nancy Zieman.  Published by Oxmoor House in 1994.  Great reference for making clothes that actually fit your body.   
Make Your Own Great Vests – 90 Way to Jazz Up Your Wardrobe by Carol Parks.  1995 by Sterling Publishing Co.  Beautiful ideas that you could use not only for vests, but any kind of soft art!  Beautiful full color pictures on just about every spread!  This one has a dust jacket that is in good shape, there is just a fold on the inside front, along with a fold on the first page.  
Last but not least –

Appliqué by Better Homes and Garden from 1978.  52 projects – yes it is a bit dated, but there are still some really cute ideas in there for the creative person to update!  Would be great for a beginning quilter that wants to get into appliqué.
How do you win?  Just leave a comment below- it can be anything – like “Pick me, pick me!”  Comments must be left on this post – or I may not see it.  Deadline to enter is Wednesday, May 29, 2013, at 11:59 pm Pacific Time.

Please remember- US residents only (and I feel really bad about that!)  These are some beautiful books to add to your sewing/quilting library!  They will be shipped out media mail to the lucky winner once I have received shipping info.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Random Notions – Frustration

Just in case anyone is wondering where I am this time, the sewing/computer room is all torn up again, and I can’t get to anything!  I got another buffet table and I’m trying to figure out how to put the two together to give me a bigger working space, which is very much needed.   I wanted to get this all done while I had a week off from classes, but it didn’t happen. 

Brooklyn’s quilt is almost completely done – I was in the middle of tying it when I got the extra table – so hopefully in a day or so I will have it all finished.  Please keep checking back – I will have a giveaway announcement when I return! 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Random Notions – Brooklyn’s Hearts

I did not realize I had been gone for a week.  This past week I have been working on the baby quilt and dealing with Harry.  He really has embraced the terrible two’s.  He has been cranky from the minute he gets up in the morning, and with me being cranky, too, it makes for difficult days.  I finished up the last week of my first history class – only four more to go – and now I have a week of freedom from classes.  <yay!> 

I thought that since I have a week free from classes, today I would start trying to potty train Harry.  He was very enthusiastic and put on his big boy underwear right after he got up.  Layla was getting ready for school and for some reason, she took off her shoes to do something.  A minute later, I found Harry in the bathroom and he had peed, in his underwear- he was wearing Layla's shoes, and it ran into the shoes.  Layla was upset because she really wanted to wear those shoes, but I could not stop laughing.  In fact, I was laughing all day long whenever I thought about it!  Always nice to start your day off with a chuckle!  LOL

I really searched though the fabrics I had on hand til I found a combo I thought I would really like for the baby quilt-
Anyone that has sewn for some time will probably recognize the pansies – they were so popular when they came out.  I always wanted some of it, but I never got it until I went to Savers one day and found a huge piece – almost three yards – for only $1.99.  It was the right time to buy it!  I didn’t have very much of the other three, but I knew I could work something out.

I knew the theme was going to be hearts, so I made eight hearts to appliqué onto the quilt and the pillow-
Then I appliquéd them to eight squares of the yellow-
I had never used the chicken tracks (?) stitch before but I have seen others use it a lot.  Now I know why – I love it!  This will be my go-to appliqué stitch from now on!

Then I cut the pansies into the same size squares as the yellow and used the green for the sashing-



This was honestly almost all the green I had- I really had to do some math to figure out what size sashing I could put on.  At this point, I was really not too sure about it- I mean, are those pansies too much for a baby quilt?  I got my answer when I realized I didn’t have enough of the other three fabrics for the outside border-
EEEKK!  That is way TOO MANY PANSIES!  It was way too dark- I took them off!  But then, what was I going to do if I didn’t have enough of anything else to finish them?  I knew I could get more of the purple – it is a fairly recent design and I saw it at Joann’s not too long ago.  But I was afraid it was going to be too dark as well.  So I went to Hancock Fabrics and looked for the yellow – and they had something close enough for me- in fact, it is probably the same fabric-
Isn’t that so much better?  Bright and happy, just as a baby quilt should be, with just the right amount of pansies and sunshine!  The pillow cover I did just a bit different-
In this case, because the pillow is only 12” X 12” I had to put the pansies in the border or I wouldn’t have had many there.  I like the way it came out. 

Now, I just have to put it all together and tie it.  I do that part in kind of a cheat way- I sew the backing on, and then before I turn it, I lay it out on the batting and cut it to fit, then hand sew the batting to the seam allowance of the front and backing.  Then I turn it and tie it.  No binding, and super simple.  This is the fleece I got for the back –
I know, I know, it doesn’t match the front at all.  That was what I wanted – something different.  I really like it.  I will probably use white floss or yarn to tie it.  So tonight, after everyone has gone to bed, I am going to use the kitchen table to lay it out. 

After this is all finished up, I am going to make something a bit bigger than a baby quilt, it will be more of a lap quilt for Brooklyn’s older brother Nicco, who is seven.  I have a couple of things in mind for him.  The only boy quilt I made was for Harry before he was born, and it has Oakland Raiders material on it.  I think this will definitely be different.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Random Notions – May Block of the Month

Today I made the next blocks for my BoM group- Strippy Spools.  The way the instructor shows them made, you use four fabrics for each block, and we needed seven blocks.  They aren’t very big, just 7” finished, and are used as fillers in the quilt top.  Since I am using the batiks, I decided to use only white and one color for each one-
I found out that one 2 ½” strip from the long side of a fat quarter, which is generally around 22” long, will make the four color sections needed for one block.  I was quite relieved, as most of the batiks I am using are fat quarters.  Here is what my quilt looks like so far-
This is certainly an interesting way to make a quilt, one bit every month, and it’s amazing that it has not made me go completely bonkers, seeing how I am a totally impatient person!  I cannot believe this is only the fifth month and there are seven more to go. <sigh>  Next month is the big star- looking forward to that.

I think I have found the fabrics I need for the baby quilt for Brooklyn, and will share that next time.  I just want to stare at them at least another day to decide if I am truly in love with them.  I think I am, but tomorrow will tell...