Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Muu Muus ~ what?

When my mom was visiting at Christmas, I told her I had found an old pattern that I had used to make her some muu muus when she and Dad we're going to Hawaii for vacation. She said "I love those dresses. I still wear them as house dresses." Okay, number one, I made those dresses in 1979. And B, house dresses? Who wears house dresses? I guess you must be of a certain age to admit to wearing house dresses. Although, I will confess to sporting a schmatta every now and then. Anyway, I told her I'd make her some if she'd like. Yes, she'd like.

A couple of observations about garment sewing:

5/8" seam allowance looks HUGE compared to 1/4"

Rotary cutters make cutting out patterns super fast

It's a great feeling of accomplishment to finish something in afternoon vs, oh, I don't know, a year or so

Does this mean I'll be doing more clothing? Probably not. But it's nice to know that I still can.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Big Finish Weekend Results

Four quilts to quilt and bind, one bag to make. Of my five projects, four got finished. Not too shabby!

In the spirit of "eat the frog", I tackled my black/white/bright quilt first. I didn't realize it was as big as it is. It measures about 60x72. This is about at the upper limits of what I want to quilt on my home machine. All the blocks came from quilting bees, so (almost) all the blocks were made by other people. That made the construction a little challenging. Because it's a sampler, I decided free motion quilting would be the way to go.

It's certainly scrap-tacular! Katie gave it the highest praise, and asked if she could have it in her room.

Next up, the Cosmo bag by Amy Butler. I did not go into this project blindly. I read the reviews. I read that her directions are terrible. But I've been sewing for a loooong time and this was pegged as an easy project. 10 hours later.....(honestly, I would have thought twice, had I known)

It's a great bag, and I really think I'm going to love it. But it was a ton of work. And now I'm a little soured on the rest of the projects in the book. I'll shelve it for now.

Next, I needed a little mindless sewing. I really didn't know what to do with this piece. Cut it up? Add some borders. In the end, I decided to quilt it, bind it and be done with it. A few weeks ago at our Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild meeting, Lainey did a little tutorial on using a hera marker to mark quilt tops. I had never heard of it. So cool. Well, since then, I've been looking for one (in lqs and the J) but not finding any. Yesterday, I thought well dang, that would be the perfect thing to mark up this quilt. Then I thought, wait a minute, what about my bone folder. Guess what. Worked like a charm. Made marking this cross hatching a breeze.

I think I'll give this to my MIL when we visit her this weekend. Perfect for her house.

Last one. It was getting late, and I really wanted another finish. This cute little tumbler was left in the pile. A small amount of straight line quilting (just following the lines of the tumblers) and it was finished in a couple of hours (while watching the Giants game! Can you say Super Bowl??!!) BTW, the pink tumbler blocks were cut at Capital Quilts on their huge accu quilt machine. I had the strips already made, and Nina cut them out for me. She also cut out a plain paper template for me, which I used to cut the blue polka dot fabric. This came together so quickly. Definitely will make more of these. Just need to stitch down the binding (which I'll do during Katie's field hockey game tonight.)

Four out of five projects finished! Yeah me!
Sadly, this only puts a small dent in my WIPs. I have at least 3 more bee quilts, 2 dresses and oodles of little things that need attention. No worries. It's all good. Have a great quilty week!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Gearing Up...

For another Big Finish weekend.

On the agenda: quilt and bind three baby/toddler sized quilts. Quilt and bind my black/white/bright sampler (from blocks I've collected from the 3x6 and 4x5 bees) and finish the Amy Butler Cosmo bag I started a few weeks ago (I really hope I like this bag - it's, like, 50 pieces if you count the interfacing, which I do.)

Today is basting day. I'm a spray baster. I hit up the J on Tuesday, with their sale on quilting notions, so I should be set for spray.

This is my basting studio (aka garage) The can of spray says best done at temps above 50 degrees. I think it's about 28 in there today. Whatever. I can't wait until April.

I'll try to report back in this weekend with all (or any) progress. Have a great one!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Bee Block Round Up

You ever have something that should be fairly quick take forever? Last weekend, I scheduled out all the projects I needed to work on during the week. Tuesday was slated to make bee blocks for the 3x6 and the 4x5. 11 blocks in all, which is a little ambitious, but it was a cinchy block. Well, here it is, 3 PM on Sunday, and I just finished up.

The blocks are from the {99} Modern Blocks. Great resource. I know I'll be going back to it again and again.

I know I said 11 blocks. I screwed up on one. The "orange/yellow/green" was supposed to be more fall like that citrusy. Fortunately, my friend Linda likes citrusy!

In other fabric related news, I found this awesome Vera napkin at the goodwill last week. 25 cents, oh yeah!

Don't know what I'm going to do with her. Maybe a pillow top?

Not much headway on WIPs this week. Maybe next week?

Back to football. Go Ravens!! Go Giants!!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Love this Life

From my Photoshop Friday class. Two layouts done this year! Which, I think doubles what I did last year! And it pretty much terrified me that Kyle climbed all the way out there. I literally couldn't look.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

An Enthusiastic Start to the New Year

I tend to jump into January with a lot of enthusiasm and with a lot of new projects. Last year, it was swaps. I joined like 7 flickr swaps last January, in addition to the three bees I was in. I followed through on all of them, sent some great items, got a few back (my new take on swapping, wisdom from a first grader: you get what you get and you don't pitch a fit!) So, yeah, got a little burnt out on swapping. A few have tempted me, and I did do a couple of ornament swaps, but I'm staying strong and saying no to swaps, for now.

This January, I've taken on a few of the a-day and a-week challenges. The first being Becky Higgins Project Life also known as Project 365 (or, for those who are counting, 366 this year.) Two years ago, Harvey bought me the kit for a Christmas gift. But, there were a few problems with the pages not fitting, and it was late January before I got the replacements, and then, well, it was too late. So, I'm giving that a go this year.

Another project I tried two years ago was a weekly gratitude journal. That one I kept up for 4 weeks, and abandoned. (Some stuff went down two years ago. Some not so good stuff. We have better stuff now.) I have high hope for this project. I even have it scheduled in. Every Sunday morning. This is the entry from 1.1.12.

One thing I'd like to resume this year is digital scrapbooking. I've taken loads of classes from Jessica Sprague. Great teacher, great classes. I've signed up for a once a week Photoshop Friday class (just a small burst, one lesson, one layout, 30 minutes.) If you ever want to brush up on or expand your photoshop skills, Jessica is your gal. I did her mini class on subway art and had this done in a few hours:

I also signed up for her Art Journaling class, which starts Monday. It's no secret that I love journaling. The art part? -not so much. This will be a stretch for me, but I'm looking forward to it.

Speaking of classes, I've also got a few going on at  Craftsy. One is a paper piecing class, which I suck at. The other is a knitting class, which I'm clueless about. Hope they grade on a curve.

So, seems like I've replaced swaps with projects and classes this year. Definitely looking forward to it all. Do me a favor, though, will you? Every so often, ask me, "So, how's that project life/gratitude/photoshop friday/art journaling/quilting/knitting thing going?" Thanks!

Monday, January 2, 2012

My One Little Word

For the past few years, I, like many, have very thoughtfully picked a word of the year. And then I promptly forgot about it. This year, I thought a visual might help. So, I challenged myself, and the members of the Baltimore Modern Quilt Guild, to come up with a little mini quilt to document our One Little Word. Over the past month, I auditioned many words: lesson and complete were hot contenders for a while. But then, on the morning of January 1st, 2012 (yup, just yesterday morning) I knew what my word would be: seed. Everything starts with the seed. And if I sow (sew?) enough seeds, surely something will grow.

So, I had my word. Now, to make it into a mini. I knew I wanted to use some of the last bits of my Modern Meadow tree print. I thought about piecing the letters, but wanted to really challenge myself. I went to dafont to look up some block style letters that I might be able to copy, and I found what I was looking for here. Better Heather? That's me! I messed around with the font in photoshop, printed, traced, fused, cut, appliqued and got this

Now, to just hang it in a place of prominence, so I'll have a gentle reminder all year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012