Sunday, August 25, 2013

Swirly Twirly Dresden & Patchwork Tinker Tote

Just wrapped up a great girls quilty weekend with my mom & daughter - so fun! Today we all decided to work on the same paper piecing project... it's the Swirly Twirly Dresden from Quilting Lodge. Not the easiest first paper piecing project for mom & daughter but they both caught on quickly and did an awesome job! We still need to applique them to backgrounds for cute little mini quilts but had to get a pic of them all together before mom headed back to her house. Good thing she lives 2 hours away or we'd drive our husbands completely crazy doing nothing but quilt quilt quilt.

Yesterday I finished making a Tinker Tote from Tara Rebman's Craftsy Quilt-As-You-Go Patchwork Bags class. Yay for a finish - woot! Lately I've been doing a lot of starting and not much finishing.

This was not without its challenges but I still like the way it turned out (but I don't love it). I had taken several days off from working on it after installing the magnetic snap on the wrong side of the flap and lamenting over not having any more of the Crazy Daisy charm pack to make a new flap. I like the little owls that were intended for the back of the flap. They were going to look really cute... on the BACK of the flap. I was really kicking myself for goofing it up. Seeing another Tinker Tote finish pop up on Bloglovin' (Katie's Quilting Corner) made me really want mine to be done. And after some motivation to keep going from Katie, I was determined to squelch my perfectionistic tendencies, cut myself a break and forge ahead. Plus, I'm taking Katie's lead and making another small one :) 

I love the Riley Blake chevron lining and the yellow zipper. I had a white zipper all ready to go until Tara said to pick a color that will pop. Great advice Tara! I think Tara must be left handed though (which I am not) because after it was finished I realized that every other bag I have has the zipper open left to right. Guess my odd ball zipper goes with my goofed up flap. I'm sure they're very happy together.


Here's the back of the flap that was supposed to be the front (ok, I might still be a bit upset over that but I'm working on letting it go - really I am!)  I sized the open pocket to fit my iPhone and a couple of pens. This will be the perfect tote for carrying any treasures I might pick up at Quilt Fest in Jacksonville next month.

The bag was pretty easy to put together although that bias binding is a bit finicky to get on there. Tara shows two different ways to put the binding on and I combined them - machine sew onto the front and hand stitch to the back. Tara showed an invisible binding trick that I will definitely keep in mind for a borderless quilt someday. She also showed how to put on a leather bottom - oooh... leather! I think my next one wants a leather bottom. This one has some outdoor fabric which I thought would be a little more durable.

Nothing to cross off my project To Do list from this weekend's work because neither project was on my project list. I saw the 25% off discount link on Tara's blog and said "yup, that's happening!". Check it out and make one for yourself!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Design Wall - oh yeah!

Somehow I had overlooked the fact that there was a completely blank wall in my exercise room! Poor sad, blank wall :(  Clearly I don't spend enough time in there (gonna have to work on trading out some quilting time for exercise time... someday).

It didn't take me long to rectify the situation once the discovery was made. 3 yards of cheap white felt from JoAnn's and some pushpins and I now have 74" x 108" of design wall fabulosity.  It's a much happier wall now :)  And I no longer have to lay blocks out on the floor or guest bed or lint roll the heck out of the comforter when a guest comes to stay - woot! Happiness all around today. I still have to steam the rest of the wrinkles out but I couldn't wait to get some blocks up. Looking forward to walking in and checking on my squirrels - I'm obsessed with that block (I love Tula Pink for that print alone). Lauren just named the squirrels Sallie & Callie - Sallie is on the left. Apparently she doesn't like to be called Callie. That girl cracks me up!

Friday, August 16, 2013


Oh, how I super love coming home from a long day at the office to a squishy filled with lovelies! If I wasn't on a fabric diet, these might have landed in my mailbox today - Riley Blake Puppy Park and Free Spirit Pirouette. I'm not saying these are in my sewing room, but if they were... I'd use them for binding :)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Bertha and I have been together for about 3 1/2 months now. I picked her up on April 27th  (Yup, I just looked it up - I feel like I should remember our anniversary. She is THAT special!). Oh, what an exciting day it was when I brought her home! I bought her over the phone, sight unseen, un-driven. When it's right, you just know it!

Back up a week earlier... I casually mentioned to my mom that I really like the Janome Memory Craft 11000 - REALLY liked it. That was my new "someday machine". See, mom had just brought home a new Janome of her own and I was on the Janome website checking it out. I wasn't necessarily looking for a new machine but she sure did catch my eye. I wanted her... someday. Heck, I'd only been sewing for about 4 months at the time. I was using the Janome that mom bought me about 20 years ago and that I'd barely used. That old girl has done some alterations, fixed some issues on kids clothes, blankets, that sort of thing. Mostly she sat in a dark closet and moved around the country with me receiving little love or attention - thinking back, it's really quite sad. But I did make my first quilt on her. And my first table runner. And some other fun projects. We had some good times, she and I. My daughter named her Betsy. After I brought home Bertha.

So a couple days after drooling over the Janome MC11000, I get a call from mom. Ring, ring (ok, my cell phone doesn't ring like that, but you know...) "Were you serious about the Janome 11000?" Me: "umm.. what?"

Mom was at her sewing machine store chatting up the guy and somehow found out that they had just used a couple of new Elna 9600s as demos at a quilt show and were selling those slightly broken-in sweeties at a discount. And they are basically the exact same as the MC11000. And mom has sewn on an Elna for the better part of an eon and knows they kick serious booty. So that's why my phone rang. Next thing my poor hubby knows I'm hitting him up for some major cash. To buy Bertha. Who I haven't seen. Or sewn on. Or researched. But somehow KNOW she is the one for me!

It was our destiny to be together! I whipped out the old credit card, gave my info over the phone, and had myself a new machine. Then I was like, what the heck just happened?! Research, research, research. She was 2 hours away and I couldn't get to her until the following weekend. I had a 2 hour class on her and off we went. Lugging her out of the store (she's a hefty girl!) I named her Big Bertha. Now I just call her Bertha. Cuz the Big part seemed kinda rude after I got to know her. And it's longer.

Now Bertha makes me the cutest things! Like this adorable little machine applique and embroidery hedgehog on Essex Linen (which is awesome to embroider on!).

Love you Bertha!
Love you mom for finding Bertha!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Dear Jane at the Beach (aka I might be crazy)

I've been contemplating a Dear Jane quilt. It seems a little crazy to take on a DJ in my first year of quilting but I'm a little bit obsessed with the idea.

So I'm contemplating. And by that I mean...

I looked at lots and lots and lots of other people's Dear Jane quilts all over the quiltyweb. There are some amazing DJs out there! Batiks, rainbows, two tone, you name it - it's been done.

Then I found inspiration in a picture I took at the beach and decided on all solids in beach colors based on this photo.

I really like the feel of Michael Miller Cotton Couture so I got my hands on a color card to make sure the colors work - they do!

I started stalking the sales and acquired a pile of Michael Miller Cotton Couture.  There are more colors that I'm after, but I haven't found them on sale yet.


I bought the Dear Jane EQ software and started playing with colorings based on my inspiration photo. This one needs MUCH more blue.

Now I'm also trying to decide what shade of white background to use.  Right now I'm favoring Soft White. But I really like Bright White too. It might come down to a coin toss.

Ok, this is how far I've gotten, and where I'm stuck. Do I do rows of color like my sample design? or do I mix them all up? I'm thinking I'm going to mix them all up. In my head it's super pretty. But I'm kinda scared to start cutting into fabric without a firm plan. But if I start coloring this thing I don't think I'll ever be done. It'll be a lot of "lemme just change this color, and this one. Oh now those two don't look good beside each other. Let's change that. That's better, but now the color is all clumpy over here..." And on it will go, for-e-ver! I know me!

But... I REALLY want to make this quilt! Like REALLY!

Ok, I want to have MADE this quilt. I think it's going to take a looooong time. Years, maybe. That's when I discovered I have the perfect box to keep my finished blocks in - for years. Isn't it cute?!
This pretty beachy box is currently being filled with 3/4" hexies for a bed runner. Oh yeah, I'm working on that long-term project already. That - and a big bunch of other projects I've started. Cuz I'm new here in quilty world and everything is exciting! EVERYTHING! I wonder how many projects I can move forward at the same time. Hmmmm.... maybe I should make a list and prioritize. Plus, that list will make it blatantly clear that I do NOT need to buy more fabric. Except maybe a few more colors of Cotton Couture :)

Thursday, May 2, 2013

How cute is this tiny denim basket?!

This adorable new holder for my leaders/enders was made with the leg of my daughter's cast off skinny jeans - it's only about 3''x3". I think the fabric is a TimelessTreasures remnant. I followed the Denim Fabric Baskets tutorial on and will definitely be making more (bigger ones with hubby's old jeans). Cute! Cute!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Uh oh...

Turns out once you start designing, it's kinda hard to quit! Same block and color scheme, different color arrangement. If I ask my mom which of the two she prefers, I know she'll pick Rings & Bows because I just found out that she does not like pinwheels. I think this one is really fun though.