Fabric Friday #3

I don’t know about you, but I’m glad its Friday! Been a looong week here. Willow and I have been fighting a cold and she’s been way cranky. She’s been taking those toddler naps, the sort of naps that wherever her body lands, thats where she’s sleeping. While this gives me a break during the day, it means it’s a bloody battle to get her in bed before midnight. I really need to walk two blocks to the store and get food so we can have something besides popcorn. But its raining and I’m cold, so here is some fabric instead! You get a twofer as I couldn’t find my camera charger to get one up in time last week:)

I’d like to invite any of you fellow fabric heads out there to join a new group I started on flickr, Modern Fabric Porn. Along with a cheeky sense of fun, this group is striving to be a definitive source for fabric inspiration and color matching. We are attempting to curate a groups of the highest quality pictures and we’d love to have some of your work. Any photos with quality lighting and true to life color are welcomed. (I’m also looking for some additional moderators, so drop me a line here or on flickr if you’d like to help comb the web for some sexy stacks of fabric!)

Aqua, Red and Gray

This is my jumping off point for my PTS7 partner. I love aqua, red and gray. I think the little pops of orange give it a nice depth.

I’m loving the Retro Kitchen line by Micheal Miller. I was instantly transported to my grandmother’s summer cottage when I saw it. That kitchen is burned so deeply into many childhood memories. So, today’s stack is dedicated to the memories of sunshine filtering through the kitchen windows, a whiff of green grass and the scent of the river playing in on the breeze.I love the Pacific Northwest but sometimes I miss the Maryland summers.

I finished up 30 granny square and got my top pieced. I’ll be working on that this weekend and trying to decide how to quilt it. What are you working on?

 

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Attack of the Grannies!

So it should be no secret by now, that when I get an idea into my head, there’s no stopping me. I saw these blocks last week and I haven’t been able to get them out of my head. I mean, they combine some of my favorite things, scrappy colors, patchwork and granny square style! I’ve always loved crocheted granny square blankets. Like thisthisthis and this. I just love the how color choices can make them so unique. Only problem is I can barely crochet, and I won’t have a chance to learn for a few months. I’m so pleasurably busy with my creative life lately. I’ve been very flattered and surprised by some of the offers and work thats come my way recently. It makes the heartache of leaving the kitchen a lot easier for me to deal with. I still get the odd pang when I hear the clatter of dishes, but on the plus side, I never come home reeking of smoked salmon. That can only be a good thing.  Wait, where were we? Oh right, granny blocks. Well, the lovely and talented Jolene of Blue Elephant Stitches has a super sweet little tutorial so that you can make your own too! 

I mean seriously how cute are these? I went through my scrap bin again and cut out a few hundred of these to make a nice little throw quilt for my sewing room. Or possibly this will go to one of the 8 babies I need to make gifts for (yikes!? between our cousins and a bunch of my girlfriends from high school I’m in baby boom year number 2!!). These are a GREAT scrap busting project and once you get the feel for a chain piecing rhythm they come together really quickly. I made these last night in about 2.5 hours. So now the only question is this- can I put the baby to bed now so I can sew?? Back tomorrow for Fabric Friday. I’m still trying to pick a color theme, let me know in the comments if you’ve got a suggestion!

Posted in Fabrics, modern quilting, patchwork, Quilting, scrap sewing, sewing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Fabric Friday #2

Todays Fabric Friday is inspired by the 2012 Pantone Spring/Summer Colors. I love when they announce/predict the new color trends.  I don’t always agree, and they sometimes choose odd names for colors, but still, ever the color junkie I can never resist a good palette.

I realized while making this that I don’t have a single cocoa colored fabric. I’m having a hard time even thinking of prints in that color. The Henna Garden (Speckle) might be close, though I haven’t actually seen that one in person. Hmm, leave a link in the comments if you’ve got a cocoa match. Anyhow, here’s is a stack I made inspired by the Spring color palette. 

If you’re a Portland local, I hope that you’ll join me and the rest of the Portland Modern Quilt Guild at our first All Day Sew of the year. From 8am -9pm at Fabric Depot. I’ll be there, sewing, talking way too much and taking pictures of everyone’s WIP’s! More details on the PMQG blog if you’re interested.

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Inspiration strikes and I forget to sleep

 My friends are constantly teasing me about my coffee swilling, night owl tendencies. I’m glad lucky that I don’t need as much sleep to function as some people (ahem Ben and Manda). That being said, I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, the babe woke really early & in effect I got a paltry 2 hours of sleep. I’ve walked into the wall twice today, keep forgetting simple words and decided several hours ago not to do anything involving a chef knife or rotary cutter today. Oh and apparently, at some point last night, someone snuck into our houseand replaced our kid with a little angry spitting pterodactyl, so that’s been fun.

The bright spot? This pillow! I’m working with the oh-so adorable Rashida Coleman-Hale ( of I heart linen fame) on some fun little projects right now. She was sweet enough to send me a bundle of fabrics from her new collection Washi for Timeless Treasures (On sale here.)  How adorable are these? I have a mild obsession with art supplies and Washi tape ( Japanese tissue/ paper tape) is almost always on my desk or in my purse… and if we’re being honest, at least two different colors:)  Throw in the millions of pretty/ funky/ cool designs and its easy to see why Rashida chose to incorporate them into her fabric line! The mixers are really dreamy as well, today my favorite is the cream triangle. Yesterday it was the turquoise star flower. The hand on these is incredibly soft, I’m thinking the gray floral print would make a darling sundress for a certain little dinosaur I know:)

I spent an evening playing with the different prints and my Accuquilt cutter. Its so nice being able to precision cut fussy shapes in a fraction of the time it take with rulers.  I’ve got a really fun idea forming  involving a ton of those little flower shapes, once I find some extra time. Here’s a quick shot of the back, I went for a quick envelop closure, my go-to pillow back. I’m already planning the mate to this pillow…. maybe if I just have one more cup of coffee I can use the rotary cutter a little bit.

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Fabric Friday

Welcome to my first Fabric Friday! I’ll be posting a new fabric pairing every week. Today, I’m loving Denyse Schmidt’s new line (for Joann Fabrics) Aunt Edna. This is far and above her best collection for them. The shades of orange, navy blue, gray and fuchsia are perfection. Both the quality of the fabric and the prints are really lovely and fresh. People that were disappointed with the previous collections might want to give this one a try.   Also mixed in are several of prints from her Hope Valley line. Additionally, Pearl Bracelets in Yellow, Heath in Gray,Moda Dots in Green and White, Mini Mikes Scattered Squares in Green.

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Art Student Tote

Ever since I saw this pattern, I knew I needed a bag like this. I like big bags. Always have. If I can’t fit at least three books, a variety of pens, wallet, phone and the occasional whisk or lemon reamer (all of which are in my bag right now), I’m not interested. People make fun of me, but chances are if you randomly need a swiss army knife or a bottle of glitter, I’ve got you covered. So I was instantly smitten with a bag designed to fit a full sketchpad (and supplies) in its depths.

Now, I’ve made tons of quilts, but I have this weird mental block when it comes to sewing things that aren’t quilts and pillows. I buy patterns, get overwhelmed by the amount of directions then put them on the “someday” pile. One of my crafty resolutions is to get over that.  So I bought some sumptuous Anna Maria Horner velveteens, some of her beautiful new jacquard ribbons, and went to work!  And you know what? It wasn’t that hard at all. Now I have a beautiful bag and I’m feeling brave enough to tackle the adorable Oliver +S patterns and make the Weeb’s some cute clothes!

My thoughts on the pattern. This was fairly easy, once I slowed myself down and read each direction carefully. I’d call this an advanced beginner in terms or difficulty. I  made a few minor changes to suit my taste. I used heavy duty interfacing throughout (rather than the suggested combo of light and heavy). I like my bags to hold their shape and have some heft to them. I was a little worried that would make it difficult/bulky when I went to join all the layer together, but a switch to a stronger needle and it wasn’t an issue at all. I topstitched the ribbon to the straps after making them, but before attaching them to the purse. I used a washable tape to keep them from shifting while I sewed them in place(using my #10 edgestitch foot gave them a very polished look). I like being able to sling my purse across my body, as I’s usually schlepping a toddler and the occasional puppy. I read a few other reviews stating they wished the handle was longer, so I added an extra 14″ to the length and its perfect! I also decided to sew the straps through every layer all the way to the top. I think this helps keep the lining in place and it helps with over all stability.  I just used a different color in the bobbin so the stitching won’t be too obvious on the inside. And there you have it! I’m already planning on making another one of these for my Mum…. mostly so she doesn’t steal mine when she comes to visit:)

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The Stooges

Have you ever had one of those days?? You know, the sort of day when any and every possible thing that could go wrong, does. Spectacularly, fantastically wrong.  So wrong that any attempt you make to restore balance is instantly rebuffed, resulting in an avalanche effect of mess,tears and bodily fluids. Yeah, we’ve all had them. Allow me to describe the day I had today.

***** If you are squeamish about gross stuff, maybe just skip this, ’cause its about to get pretty  gross****

I woke later than I meant to, but I was cautiously optimistic. We’ve just muddled through a few colds/stomach bugs, a surprise root canal for me a few days ago, and a general lack of sleep.  Ben went out and got us coffee me iced lattes before he had to go to work. He had mopped the kitchen and generally straightened up. “Yeah things are looking good.” I think to myself. I’m rested, the pain I’ve been living with for a 1.5 weeks is pretty much gone and I’m feeling motivated. Yeah… this is good. Ben leaves for work, and I hatch a plan for the day. An episode of Olivia and a few emails later, we’re ready to tackle my list. Willow loves “helping” me bake and I’ve been day dreaming about a certain (in my opinion) PERFECT yellow buttermilk cake recipe lately . Willow sent a bowl of (measured and sifted) flour clattering to the floor. No big deal, stainless steel bowl and I’ve got enough flour to make it work. Cupcakes are more fun, so we get the batter in the pans and head to the living room where Willow gets introduced to play dough.

DING

I get up, walk to the kitchen to rotate the trays of cupcakes. The oven door opens and the gentle smell of buttermilk,vanilla and caramelizing sugar hits me. Inhale, sigh, I am momentarily transported 3,100 miles away to the Palate Pleasers kitchens and a flash of my former chef days. And then, I hear it, a blood curdling scream “AHHHHH EWWWWWWWWW MOOOOMMMYYYY”

My eyes fly open and I feel my heart pounding against my ribs as that familiar parent fear grips me all over. (.01 seconds have passed)

Luna comes tearing into the kitchen, collides with a wall and proceeds to projectile vomit all over the freshly (twice) mopped floor. The most horrible smell I’ve ever encountered chokes out all of the cake aroma. From the other room, the “EWWWWWW” is getting more frantic. I drop the hot trays I’m holding and dash for the living room.  (.05 seconds have passed)

Rounding the corner, I watch in slow motion as Willow projectile vomits on the floor. The dog had barfed all over her and the ENTIRE couch before sprinting to the kitchen to continue the mayhem. (2 seconds have passed since the first scream).

I sprint a hysterical sobbing baby to the tub, strip her and give her a popsicle. Catch the dog and throw her outside for the time being. As I grab her, it suddenly becomes clear what’s happened. Luna, our sweet, completely dim-witted puppy, found a huge pile of Boomer (our duplex neighbor’s bigger dog) poop**.  And ate it. Apparently, it wasn’t sitting well. I WONDER WHY? OMG OMG OMG OMG. But ever the responsible parent, I leave everything where it is to go comfort and bathe Willow. (2 minuets have passed).

8 minuets later, willow’s clean enough to let me tackle the war zone in the rest of the house. The most god awful smell has made its way into every single bit of clean air.Worse than restaurant grease traps, worse than old roadkill. Oh my god, this how I’m going to die, awash in shit with gremlins (children and puppies) dancing on my cold dead body. I get myself together and approach the couch. The closer I got, the more overwhelming the stench. All of the sudden, I’m retching and, oh hey! here comes that latte again. Damn it! People that know me well can attest that I have an iron stomach. Unless I’m pregnant. Which I’m not, cause my period totally chose today to start, ahem, hello icing meet cake. But I digress, I get myself together and go for attempt 2. I get a foot closer before running to ditch the rest of my latte. So time for the big guns. I spray a ton of rosewater into my thickest, longest scarf. I wrapped it as tightly as I could around my head and safety pinned it in place. This is barely enough fortification to allow me to strip the couch, scrub the floor in the living room and kitchen, scrub the wall and give the dog a bath as she’s a mess out on the porch, too.

So, almost two hours later, 1/2 a bottle of Febreeze, every single window in the house open and the smell still lingering, I finally get a chance to stop freaking out and sit down. All while trying to pretend that none of that just happened. And then, right on cue, as soon as my body was beginning to relax and recover, I opened my eyes. Noticing a rather peculiar streak of dark on the hardwoods leading from a point several feet from me, right to…. Willow’s diaper. I had completely forgotten that yesterday, she snuck into the fridge, took  2 pints of blueberries, hid them, and proceeded to eat nearly all of them. So here before me,is a gigantic blueberry blowout, the likes of which has never been seen by mankind. Shower, rinse and repeat. Yes, that’s right, I said REPEAT. Two blowouts, in one hour and fifteen minuets.

And just like that, I realized my life had become an episode of the Three Stooges or possibly, and perhaps more probably, Jackass.

So that was my day. As I sit here a few hours later (post a nice cool gin and tonic) I’m going to choose to see the humor in this complete travesty of a Thursday and move on. I hope this made you chuckle and I hope this never happens to anyone ever again 🙂

Good thing they’re cute ‘eh?

Posted in baking, family, motherhood | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Life this week

Hello from the center of the ocean… I mean Portland. Its quite the blustery day here. Willow and I have set up camp on the couch today, armed with markers, hot cocoa, hand sewing and our favorites on netflix ( Curious George & Kipper for her, Peep Show and The Tudors for momma).  Its hard to believe that Thanksgiving is just a day away, I should be working on pie crusts and straightening the house. But the down comforter is warm and my snuggly little monkey is resting quietly in my lap (that NEVER happens). So, I thought I’d pop in to show you what I’ve been working on.

First some exciting news: I am so very thrilled and honored to have been selected to be on the 2012 Portland Modern Quilt Guild board of directors as Programs Coordinator. I’d have never imagined when I attended my first meeting last year how much it would come to mean to me. Its the most wonderful and inspiring community of artists and fiber enthusiasts. I’m so excited to be working with some truly fabulous people ( If you don’t believe me, just look for yourself!! HeatherPétra,  Nancy, and Susan). I’d also like to give huge thanks to our 2011 officers for Christina, Megan, Michelle and Katie. You guys rocked it! Thanks for your all your hard work!

I started a very belated wedding gift for my dear sweet Katie ( & her husbeast Charlie or Uncle Chuckles as we so affectionately call him.) I’m using Anna Maria’s Innocent Crush line and Kona Coal as my neutral. I was really indecisive when it came to choosing a pattern, so I had Katie pick one! She selected “Little Leaves” a pattern from Elizabeth Hartmen’s fabulous book “The Practical Guide to Patchwork

The blocks came together pretty quickly, now I just have to zigzag all these. I’m making a largish couch quilt, so this might take some time, but I’m loving how its coming together.

Our days have been a bit intense lately. Ben was promoted to Associate Store Manager out in Tanasbourne. Not surprisingly, Whole Foods is usually pretty insane-o around the holidays.  Added commute+ holiday rushes= not too much free time lately. Add in the Willow’s eight ( I thought it was 4, but Doc said 8 at her checkup) teeth coming in at once means my hands haven’t been free much. However, I’ve been making these in every spare moment I can find during the day. Pretty happy huh?

I really love english paper piecing. Quick, easy, portable and relaxing. What more can a crafty girl ask for? I have a grand plan for these… once I have about 200 more. In the meantime, I’m hoping this will help get my scrap bins under control, several hundred in and I haven’t even made a dent!

My pillow talk swap cover finished and sent her off to her new home with Jenna. It was a little hard to let this one go, but alas, off it went. Lots more pictures in my flickr stream if you’d fancy a better look. I finished up 6 pillows for our living room, pictures once the weather agrees.

Now that I’m listing what I’ve finished this month, I’m suddenly feeling like I’ve actually gotten things accomplished. Now if someone would only come wash the dishes for me:)

****Stay tuned for my first bloggy giveaway! I’ll be giving out a big pack a of scraps and some fat quarters. An attempt to get my sewing space under control before I start on my next round of commissions 🙂

Posted in english paper piecing, Fabrics, flickr swaps, hexies, home, Quilting | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

I love Fall

Something about the onset of fall spurs me into crazy girl productive mode. Our house is undergoing a thorough cleaning as we prepare for winter and an entire month of various house guests ( I’ve got a feeling I’ll be doing a LOT of cooking this month. Stop by if your hungry:) In crafty news I’ve managed to be very productive as well, gotta love that. Without even realizing it, I’ve been working on finishing up a (alarmingly) huge WIP pile. I just dropped off my Swoon quilt at the long armers, can’t wait to get it back in 3 weeks!!!

Using my extra single girl blocks, I whipped up a baby quilt and a table topper. I wanted to use these as a trial run so I could iron out any problems that might arise before I being handquilting the king size. I backed the mini some more of the AMH Little folks voile. I expected to have some problems with slippage and bunching but was pleasantly surprised to discover it was fairly easy to work with. Spray basting doesn’t seem to want to stick the the voile at all, so I did end up pinning on the obsessive thorough side. Also, if you plan to work with voile in a quilt, I’d recommend investing in some microfine safety pins. The standard size left marks once they were removed and while some gentle rubbing got rid of most of them, next time I’ll only be using the smaller sharp ones.

I found that starting in the middle of the circle arches section (NOT starting in the center of the circles) and quilting clockwise, stop. Turn and pick a segment counterclockwise quilt, repeat was the best way to avoid any weird bunching issues. If you’re just quilting one block though, starting in the center and quilting outward seems to be fine.


I’m loving hand work lately, for some reason its all I want to do right now. I’ve finished up two of my four blocks for the Embroider Bee. So far I’ve got a tree sprite and halloweenie ghost finished. I’m working on a new version of this embroidery I did a few months ago for my last block. I’m thinking dark rich pinks, purples and chocolate tones

How’s your fall going? I hope its full of cider,crispy leaves and fragrant air. Such a wonderful season I’m crossing things off my crafty to do list like crazy back with more soon!!

Posted in embroidery, patchwork, Quilting, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Swooning for Swoon

I’d been eyeing up the Swoon pattern for awhile,it’s pretty swell. But then I saw these gorgeous blocks by Angela of Fussy Cut fame. Well, that clinched it. I bought the pattern and immediately started pulling fabrics to assemble the blocks. I started cutting the next day and I even got to use my Accuquilt cutter for some of the more tedious cutting. This really helped expedite the process of cutting some 250 little squares of fabric  (not my favorite part). I decided to add an extra row of three blocks to make this big enough to cover the back of our largest couch. Which is incredibly comfy, but the upholstery… eh. Wouldn’t have been my first choice. But it was cheap and it is very, very comfortable. So until the day we’ve got a few g’s to spend on some reupholstery, covering it with super bright beautiful quilts seems like a no brainer.
Above are the first nine blocks. I forgot to take pictures of the last two before I pieced the top together but oh well! Its all folded up right now, getting ready to go to the long armer!!! I’m so happy with the final product that I’ve decided this quilt needs some extra awesome quilting to take it to the next level. I’ve never sent one of my quilts out, but I know it will be ok in the crazy talented hands of Nancy Stovall of Just Quilting.

Thoughts on the Swoon Pattern:

This pattern is awesome! The blocks come together fairly simply, though are somewhat time consuming. The size of the blocks shows off larger prints really nicely, as they finish between 22″-24 inches. Well mine did, not matter how hard I tried some of my seams ended up a bit too big. I think that you need to use a very scant 1/4″ seam otherwise there isn’t much room for error in terms of getting all your finished seams to match up. The cutting was definitely the most time consuming part, do it all at once!Keep the piles neat and organized.This would be a great pattern for a beginner,so go ahead, give it a try!!

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