Friday, January 29, 2010

Anyone that knows me at all... Knows I love my coffee!

Pin It I have had such a productive week this far.  I've been kicking butt and taking names on the longarm, first off.  This pleases me because lately it has seemed like I've been in a bit of a slump and was getting nowhere fast.  This week I've gotten 5 quilts done so far, one of them being a heavy custom.  Today, I finished this little beauty.

 

Yes, it's old.  Yes, it's hand pieced.  Yes, it's hand appliqued.  Yes, it's also hand embroidered.  And no matter how much I pleaded with my customer she would not have it hand quilted.  She wanted it machine quilted...  with a stipple.  Sigh.  I have to give them what they want, right?  I did at least lower my SPI to 8.5 to kind of make it look a little more like it was hand quilted. 
Anyway!  Being that I've been so productive, when I got to work this morning, after finishing that beauty (I think it's purdiful, anyway but I love antique quilts no matter how stained or aged they are!) I decided to have a "me" project before starting the next quilt...  which is half done by the way (yay!).  I wanted to do something quick, easy and that would get used a lot.  Hmmmm...  what to do, what to do?

DUH!  I made a coffee sleeve!

 

And it even velcros!

 

I forbid you to pay any attention what so ever to my nails as I've decided to let them grow out rather than force myself to tears taking the suckers off.  But the sleeve is cute, right?  I'm diggin' it!  I actually made 6 more, but have no pictures because I took them over to my Starbucks baristas because they all told me if I ever made them they each wanted one (geez, like my tipping them isn't enough?!).  =]

These little buggers are seriously fast and easy, anyone could make one.  I have a feeling I'll be making a lot of them, so I even made a plastic template for the cutout shape so I won't ever have to "wing it".  Give me ten or 15 minutes and one of these puppies is DONE!  woo! 

Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hey, look! It's me!

Pin It I totally missed this yesterday, but it was my day to be introduced on Leisel's blog for the So You Think You Can Quilt contest.  Here is the link

If you'd like to view the rest of the contestants, which so far include my wonderful friend Melissa (seriously one of the nicest people you will ever meet!) and my super duper creative friend, Joan, you can view the general blog page with all of the contestants thus far here.  So go on over, get acquainted with the people I'm up against and start getting excited for the entries to start coming in!

I'm kind of regretting having my most creative friends join me in this endeavor because they're much better than I, and they're going to beat me!  But that's okay.  It's all in good fun.  =]

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Some super duper top secret goings-on and (of course) a pretty!

Pin It So, my quilty friends a lot has been going on!

I'm trying my hardest to get somewhat caught up on the longarm waiting list but it's really hard to do when you're just not feeling inspired for that particular task.  I wish I could force myself to stand in front of the quilt machine long enough to finish what I've got on the frame because it will be so pretty!  It's just that all the ideas in my head are flowing like melted buttah and I just want to concentrate on them!

The So You Think You Can Quilt contest officially begins tomorrow.  It took me about 45 minutes to come up with my design for the first month's theme in my head.  I'm not allowed to share any details about it because it's supposed to be anonymous entry so those that vote can't just vote for their friends.  But let me just tell you, in my head...  it's fabuloso.  Let's just hope that when it comes to fruition that it's as great as it is in my head!

I need a few things that I don't have to do it.  Things that I also can't get without either ordering them online or getting to a Hobby Lobby or Michaels.  Lucky for me (well, actually  not so lucky) I have to head back to Denver on Monday for doctor things and am planning to raid the crafty stores like no tomorrow.

The entries are due February 28th and voting will be the week after that so I'll keep you posted and while I'm sure you'll probably be able to figure out which one is mine, I'll eventually post it so you can tell me if it's horrible.  =]

Another thing I'm super duper excited about...  I have decided to make my first art quilt.  Not just any art quilt.  A photo mosaic art quilt.  Again, I'm not sharing aaaaaaany of the details on this puppy because if it turns out well, who knows what may happen with it.  I don't want my idea posted on the interweb (though some of my readers have seen the photo that is my inspiration).  It's going to be a ginormous headache that will be worth every last Motrin I will have to take.

I know what you're thinking:  "Shut up and get to the pretties!"  Well, ask and you shall receive.

I've been gushing on and on to anyone that would listen about my silk dupioni kit that I coveted for quite some time and finally broke down and ordered.  Lovely, wonderful shiny silk dupioni.  This particular kit is 16 fat quarters from the Sew Red collection.  For those that don't know, Sew Red product sales benefit the American Heart Association, a cause that hits very close to home for me.  Even still, I would've bought this stuff if it DIDN'T benefit the AHA!  So here...  in all their glory...  are my silk dupioni fat quarters:



And of course, here is the quilt that you're supposed to make from these fat quarters, but I haven't yet decided if I will, or come up with my own little number for them:





Isn't it all so yummy?!  I ♥ it to pieces and can't wait for a day or two to come open in my schedule to just dig in and tackle it.  Woo!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Silly Things We Do...

Pin It All day today I kept thinking I wanted to work on my CLC blocks.  Even if it was just a little here and there I wanted to feel like I am getting somewhere on that quilt!  By the end of the day I had managed to piece together the first two pieces of each of the remaining 46 blocks I have to make.  Also, by the end of the day my lack of sleep last night was definitely taking its toll on me!

Nonetheless, when I decided to pack it in and leave work (early!  I left at 6!!!), I packed up my sewing machine with everything I was bringing home, along with my blocks, pieces, ironing board, etc.  I had this genius idea on the drive home:



YES!  What do you do when you feel like you're too tired to sew?  You convert your bed and nightstand into your own personal mobile sewing unit!  I was so excited!  AND I got a total of 4 pieces of each of the 46 remaining blocks sewn together and pressed.  I'm taking my time, watching 16 Candles (again... and again... and again!), using my Start/Stop button rather than my foot control and when I'm done on the machine I get to lay back into a huge pile of pillows with my ironing board on my lap and do my pressing.

WHY didn't I think of this sooner?!

On another note, I posted about the Pucci Pouch on Sunday.  I have since received an email with pictures of this darling young lady and her adorable little Chloe in said Pucci Pouch that I just feel so compelled to share.  Too cute!


That's all for today my lovelies!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mini Ironing Boards, Pin Cushions and Sewing Machine Mats, Oh my!

Pin It Today...  The therapy continued.  I'm reeeeeaaaaally procrastinating on working on this quilt I have on the frame!

In a previous entry I mentioned that a couple of my new projects would be those mentioned in the title.  Today, I went into the shop fully planning on just biting the bullet and at least getting another row on the CWR (Colorado Wedding Ring) quilted but I glanced over at the front cutting counter which still had some of my ever-so-yummy fabrics on it from yesterday.  I decided to go for it and made my mini ironing board.

It took all of 15-20 minutes to make.  Pfft!  I couldn't be done?!  I had to do something else.  So I made the sewing machine mat.  It took all of about an hour.  Pfft!  NO!  I wasn't quitting yet!  So I also made the pin cushion.  =]

I decided that there was actually a really good work-related reason to make all of these things.  Aside from the obvious reasons, I'm having a Sew-In this weekend and with my working on the CLC, I will have to press after each step.  That's a lot of getting up to go to the ironing board (even though my machine is set up on a table right in front of said ironing board)!  Not to mention there will be a number of other people needing to use the ironing board, as well.  I also have an adorable Clover mini-iron and have always just used it flat on the table which doesn't work very well. 

The sewing machine mat?  Well...  with those handy pockets it will be a lot easier to keep track of my stuff!  Since all of the people coming typically buy their supplies at our shop and also typically take my recommendations on products, we have a lot of the same notions.  This way, I'll know which ones are mine and where they are at.

The pin cushion?  Okay, did you SEE how cute that thing is?!

While I've got it on my mind, have I mentioned how much I LOVE my Clover mini-iron?  That little thing has got some heat to it!  It's virtually weightless so you don't have to worry about stretching your seams as you press and to tell you the truth, it's much easier to press seams open with it than it is with the full sized Oliso or Rowenta.  I love it!  If you don't have one or don't know what they are, I suggest you walk, not run (because if you run you might be too tired to sew and who really wants that?!) out to your local quilt shop and get one.  If your local quilt shop is my quilt shop, you're out of luck.  We're sold out of them.  :P

Here are a couple of pictures of my accomplishments from today:

 

Fun, huh?!

You'll notice all of my pieces are lined up nice and pretty-like for me to start working on my CLC tomorrow for the Sew-In.  See, I'm a good girl and am prepared!  Truth be told I actually started to piece another block tonight.  I got about half way through it and got up to answer the phone.  While I was on the phone, standing half-way across the room my sewing machine's presser foot dropped and it started sewing a decorative stitch.  When I pressed the STOP button, it only went faster.  It didn't stop until I unplugged it!  Soooooooo, at that point I was freaked out and called it a day!  A productive day, at that!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

One down, 99 to go!

Pin It Therapy was in session for part of the day today.  I was in a bit of a poopy mood today.  Not a bad mood, I wasn't grumpy, just a little down.  I really didn't want to work on the quilt I have on the frame (which I think played a large part in the yucky mood) but I did.  Until about 1:00pm, at least!  I needed to do something different, something I would enjoy, so I turned on the good ol' Viking.

We got a bunch of new black and white fabrics in a few weeks ago that I would LOVE to make a B&W quilt out of, but there are only so many hours in a day, days in a week, etc.  I wanted to use them.  So I did.  I figured, why not a new bag?  I mean, it'd been two whole days since I made one so, YES!  That's it!  My original plan was to make the lining red for an "aaaahhhhh" factor, but ultimately decided to keep it all black and white.  Here is the result:


I like it, and it's super simple* to make.  I only wish I'd taken the time to center the motif, but it's okay.  It has a super duper sturdy magnetic closure on the flap and one interior pocket.  You can find the tutorial for this bag here.
(*While it's super simple to make, the instructions are kind of vague so I do not recommend it for a beginner)

Once I was done with that I still had time left to my day so I tried to come up with something else I could start (and finish) before I called it quits. This is where the title to this entry comes in! After getting all of my sub-cuts for my CLC (I will be referring to my Curved Log Cabin from now on simply as "CLC"), I've been itching to make at least one block to see how my fabric choices flowed and to test how long it takes to make each block.  This is the block I made this afternoon:



At first I thought  about getting rid of all of my "scrappy" fabrics that had a light background because, well...  I'm not sure why.  But after thinking about it and realizing there are 99 more blocks to make and I'll never know how it looks until it comes to actual construction of the top, I decided to take a walk on the wild side and leave them in (in this block, it's the Figgy Pudding piece second from the top).  I like how it looks.  Unfortunately pressing seems open takes a lot of time.  The blocks measure 9.5 inches and it took me about 20-30 minutes to make this block.  That could be largely due to the fact that I'm a crazy perfectionist though.  Pretty? I like how the "contrast" fabric ended up looking with the rest of them.  Imagine what it'll look like all put together!  That puts a smile on my face!

Now I'm really excited for this weekend so I can really dig into piecing all of these beauties together!

Needless to say, my sewing therapy definitely helped and I was sad to turn off the sewing machine and go home.  But I've decided to not work myself to the death this year (no more sleeping on the futon in the back room of the shop!) so I left at about 6:45.  :o)

Does anybody else find that when you get a little time with your sewing machine to work on things you want to do, rather than things you have to do, it's incredibly therapeutic?  I know there are some of you out there!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Martha Stewart ain't got nothin' on me

Pin It Sometimes you have days where you have a plan to do something and the universe tries to tell you NO!  Everything you touch turns to crap.  Today was one of those days for me.

All week I had been planning on using today as a sew day to make some fun pretties for myself for once.  I love making things to give to other people but I've been doing so much of it lately I needed to hit the "reset" button.  First off, I slept in until 11:00 this morning (!!!!).  I'm not sure why I slept so late but when I woke up I felt like I had been hit by a freight train and was tempted to crawl back into bed.  Nonetheless I stuck to my plan.

The late start gave me less time to complete what I wanted to get done but I would not be deterred!  On today's menu?  A yummy new laptop sleeve since I sent the last one I made to one of my besties in Chicago (glad you like it Jess!).  Then I thought if I got that done in record time, I'd make a new handbag.  Ready, set, GO!

First I made the laptop sleeve and ended up making it about an inch and a half too long, no biggy.  I just turned it inside out, re-sewed the bottom seem a little higher, cut off the excess and did a double zig zag to secure the edges.  Check.  Then I started picking out the fabrics for my new handbag.  I decided to make it to match the laptop sleeve.  All good and well except I bought the fabrics in Chicago and I realized much to my dismay that although I bought various cuts, I did not purchase anything less than a yard of each piece.  Unfortunately the pieces I bought a yard of?  Yeeeeaaaaahhhhh...  I only got anywhere from 30-32 inches.  I was MAD!  Okay, no big deal.  I didn't need a full yard of each piece anyway but really?  Shorting me 4-6 inches on each of my $11/per yard fabrics?  Not cool.  Another thing was that the large print was printed waaaaay crooked and no matter what I did it didn't look straight so I gave up on that...

So I did all of my cutting and began construction of the handbag.  Then I learned what it looks like when your thread somehow gets wrapped numerous times around your needle.  Isn't it lovely?

Three of four of my seams were like that.  Ugh!  No problem.  I wasn't going to stop.  I ripped them each out (no easy feat when it's batting you're ripping against!) and re-sewed them.  About 4 inches from the end of the last seam I ran out of bobbin.  *insert curse word here*  Wound another bobbin and sewed on.  Ten minutes later I ran out of top thread.  *insert worse curse word here*  Thirty minutes later I ran out of bobbin thread again.  *Really would have made nuns nervous*  I kept going but I will admit that I did skip an entire step of reinforcing the side seams of the bag.  But who's going to know?!

Here is the result of the fruits of my labors:



Cute?!  I'm thinking about ripping apart the laptop sleeve and adding a few more layers of "fluff" and sturdiness to it.  I'm not liking how wimpy it is, it's nothing like the last one I made.  But I'll tell you the best part about these lovelies:  They even match my business cards!  And now, since my wallet is pink, I get to either make or buy a matching wallet.   =]

****  Editing in because I forgot to add, the bag has two exterior pockets and TEN interior pockets!  YAY!



Next personal projects:
Wallet
Business card holder
Sewing machine mat (to hold skizzers, pins, threads, etc.)
Pin Cushion
Mini-ironing boards.

Think I can accomplish all of that?  Maybe if I get tired of working on my Log Cabin next weekend I'll start project hopping!

Needless to say I'm happy with what I got accomplished in five hours today!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

How fun is THIS going to be?!

Pin It This is the fabric cuts for the project I'm starting next weekend!  I'm so excited!  It's a mixture of Amy Butler, Michael Miller, artgalleryfabrics, Moda, a TON of sweet textiles and I'm so excited! 



That white looks like your regular, run of the mill solid white cotton.  Do you know me at all?!  Oh...  maybe you don't.  Well okay my lovelies.  That is not just any plain solid white.  THAT is a delicious fabric called Rock Candy by Blank Textiles in "Alabaster".  It's a metallic-ish tonal and I ♥ it!  Here's a better photo:



I'm super stoked to get this project done.  I'm making the Curved Log Cabin by Blue Underground Studios.  If you google that, you'll see a photo of an ugly quilt that I never would've made in a million years.  Why, why WHY do pattern designers always seem to choose the ugliest fabrics for their cover photos?!  Do they not want to sell patterns or what?!  (No offense to anyone that likes the cover sample) :P

The first time I saw this quilt EVER was on a website for my favoritest quilt shop in the whole wide world, called Quiltology in Chicago.  It's a teensy weensy itty bitty quilt shop in the heart of Lincoln Park.  It may be small but Collette (the owner) more than makes up for it with having awesome (non-fabric-picky-outy-friendly) lighting, great decor and AWESOME fabrics! You can view the website and link to her online shop here

I had the pleasure of visiting this lovely little shop in September and spent a small fortune on various prints, mostly Michael Miller.  Some Amy Butler.  Anyway, after having seen the Curved Log Cabin on her website done in all Amy Butler fabrics for the scrappy part and a white solid for the contrast, I couldn't wait to see it up close and personal because it looked SO MUCH BETTER than the one on the actual pattern.   Here's a photo I took of the quilt while I was in her shop:


Gorgeous?!  Oh yes!  I considered buying her kit but I'm so not the type to just use whatever I'm given.  I'd much rather pick everything out myself no matter how much of a headache it is.  I'm so excited to make this quilt!  Although mine will be bigger...  I apparently always have to make the big'uns.  This one is 72x90 and mine will measure 90x90.  I think.  Pretty sure.  Yeah.  I don't typically dig square quilts but I just like the look of the next size up (with more blocks the sides come to more of a close and don't look so cut off) better than this one.  I cut all of my sub-cuts today...  1500 rectangles.  Actually, that's a lie.  It's 1300 rectangles and 200 squares but whatever! 

I'm sure the construction of this bad boy will give me many a headache but I'm up for the challenge.  I figured that after having finished my masterpiece (photo for those of you that haven't seen it) I need something else to stress me out:



Another super fun thing I'm doing (or hope to do, assuming I get juried in) is a contest called So You Think You Can Quilt.  Having to commit to making a quilt a month for 10 months is a little intimidating but I jumped in head first.  You can read more about the contest on Leisel's blog here.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to do about this wholecloth situation I've gotten myself into!