Friday, April 29, 2011

10 {things}

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Steve & me @ Superstition Mt. in Arizona
you may not know about me...

1.  I'm quirky {you will see the evidence as this list continues}
2.  When I was a kid my favorite color was "clear".
3.  I sew on a Singer HD-110.  My first machine was a Shark from Target that I burned up in 9 months.
4.  I skipped the 3rd grade.
5.  I put on my bicycle helmet when there is a tornado warning. So does Chaney. Steve just shakes his head.
6.  I have no desire to design fabric... but I would love to make this little hobby into something more.
7.  I love math and I solve math problems for fun.  No wonder I love designing and writing patterns!
8.  I ran a marathon {all 26.2 miles} on a broken foot and finished it.  I'm that stubborn.
9.  I struggle a lot with depression and I wish it wasn't such a hush-hush subject.
10. My favorite thread is Gutermann but I'm loving the new King Tut thread that I tried out last night.

Do you have a fun, interesting or quirky fact to share?  Let's hear it!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

In celebration...

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... of allergy season in Texas, we thought we would try Allegra now that it's sold over the counter.

Steve:  Whatever you do, don't take the Allegra tonight.

Me:  Why?

Steve:  Because I took some a little while ago and I'm wide awake!

Me:  Great.  I just took some. {I deal with insomnia on a regular basis}

Steve:  Why did you do that??

Me:  Because I saw you take some!!

I hope Chaney knows what she will be dealing with when Steve and I are old and gray...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Quilting Without Obligation {the community}

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Welcome if you have made your way here from another link or blog!  I also happen to be guest posting today...

If you have been a reader here for awhile you have probably read my take on Quilting Without Obligation. In the year since I wrote the original series of course some things have changed... I have grown, you have grown, new trends have surfaced, and probably the most exciting change is that there are more new quilters in our crafty community!  But even with these changes the underlying theme remains the same for me.

I Quilt Without Obligation.

without obligation to a certain designer...

... fabric line...

... a trend ...

... the popular crowd ...

... a sponsor ...

... a label ...

My only obligation is to myself and the people that I love.  And when it comes to quilting, my only obligation is to the quilts I make and all the quilt-type things that make me happy.  Pretty simple.

There have been a lot of discussions around blogland as of late in regards to quilting, quilting trends and why we quilt.  Some have been very positive, some very interesting, while others have turned quite negative. 

As I watched one thread of comments turn more and more negative I found myself thinking:

 I wish there was a way to tell who the nice quilters are...  the quilters who are inclusive... who embrace new quilters... who quilt for themselves... who focus on the positives that our hobby offers... who aren't perfect and aren't afraid to show it... who are they?

I wish there was a quilting community effort to be more inclusive, encouraging, and positive!

I guess that might sound silly but what I'm really after are the quilters who do their own thing without obligation; for the art of quilting.  Now, "without obligation" will mean different things to different people.  I made my list above but I'm curious, what does your list look like??

Very similar to Rossie's Process Pledge, I thought it would be fun to make an individual statement if you are on board with quilting without obligation.  If you are in feel free to add your blog link below... it's super easy! Just click the blue "add your link" button and follow the instructions. :)

I would also love to hear your comments on what "without obligation" looks like in your own quilting life. 

And if you would like, you are welcome to grab the badge as positive statement and a personal reminder of who you are as a quilter.  You can find the badge over there on the right side of my blog... just copy and paste the code in the box on to your own blog.

I'm really excited to see where this community effort goes because even though we are all different, I hope that we can agree that quilting is not a contact sport...

If you have any questions about adding your link or the badge just comment or email me!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bar {hopper}

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ooops... I meant bar topper!  I guess even my subconscious is stressed out and needs a night out on the town... ;)

I finished up this cute little thing this weekend made from this tutorial I did awhile back.  Almost two months back?  Wow, I can't believe it took me that long!

We have a large breakfast bar in our kitchen.  It really borders on being too large because I can't even reach all the way across it to dust.  Or maybe I'm just that short. 

Anyways, it has been lacking much decoration {unless you count school papers and bills} and I have really wanted to bring some more color into our kitchen.  BTW, don't let a snooty design center person ever talk you into a kitchen of black granite.  Yes it's sleek and modern... it's also extremely difficult to keep clean because even one hand print sticks out. 

Did you see that rabbit??... it went that way! ... I seem to be having a hard time staying on track with this post...


The fabric is from my Bliss layer cake leftovers from this quilt.   I backed it with a vintage sheet scrap from the same quilt, quilted it with a meandering free motion pattern and bound it with a Kona solid {can't remember the color name}.

It was nice this weekend to get a little sewing in.  I have been beyond stressed lately and Steve so sweetly let me take a little extra time to sew.  I didn't get any big projects knocked out but it's nice to at least walk through our kitchen and see something pretty.

Happy Fabric Tuesday and thanks for doing your best to follow along with this post!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Some Easter Sewing...

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We have a new baby in the family and I am having so much fun sewing for her! Have some extra quilt blocks laying around?  Here's what I did with a few of them... 

Add two quilt blocks, batting, bits of ribbon and leftover binding strips for the little tabs, quilt it and you have one very cute and reversible baby gift! 

I would love to tell you more about how I made it but apparently there is a very territorial company that makes a version of this {definitely not quilt blocks or quilted!} and enjoys suing people who make these and share how it's done.  Personally, I don't see what is so super secret but I'm just not in the mood to get sued. ;)

We had a wonderful Easter and I hope ya'll did too!

PS... thank you for all your thoughtful comments on my previous post.  I'm working on reading and responding to each one!

Edited to add:  Several of you have asked what this project is and that's a great question!  Steve said the exact same thing when I showed it to him. :) 

I'm trying to carefully avoid words that would cause said company to stumble upon me but here goes... it's a mini-quilt {not a blanket} made from two 12" x 12" quilt blocks and batting sandwiched together.  Instead of using binding, I stitched the ribbons and bits of fabric to the edges of one block and then sewed all the layers together and turned it right side out.

Babies love having something small to hold and the ribbons and fabric tabs give them different textures and things to grab onto with their cute little hands.  I won't be selling these but I do think it's a great way to use spare quilt blocks!

Friday, April 22, 2011

A {Modern} Discussion

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one of my Dear Jane blocks...
So, I've kept my fingers off my keyboard long enough to form some level-headed opinions... {hopefully}

Have you seen the discussions flying around blogs as of late referring to the dumbing down of quilting?  I'm not going to bother linking to the original posts because linking to me is a sort of virtual high-five and I am not on board with the thought process. 

But Google "dumbing down of quilting" and you will certainly find at least a cup of coffee's worth of reading.

The gist is this whole traditional vs. modern quilting thing that has been batted around for at least the past year.  My initial response to somehow associating modern quilting with dumbed down left me thinking "really??..." and something along the lines of trouble making and at worst plain old jealousy.

I have seen beautiful traditional quilts with techniques that take years of practice to master.  I have also seen some really poor traditional quilts that need some more... umm... years of practice. 

I can say the exact same two things for modern quilts.  So who's right?

This is my very first quilt.  I made it completely by hand.  I even hand-stitched the double fold binding to the front and back.  My fingers still hurt a little from stitching through all those layers!

The design is very, very simple.  It's actually a kit that I bought from Joann's *gasp*.  The traditional quilter would probably turn her nose up at this quilt but you know what?  It sparked a dormant creative gene and I have never looked back.  Anytime that a new quilter joins our beloved craft, that has to be good for the art of quilting.

This is my second quilt ever.  Again, it is made completely by hand.  My seams were frighteningly perfect and if they weren't I nearly had a panic attack until the stitches were picked out and re-done.  I obsessed over the hand quilting and I remember taking out a ruler to make sure that I had 12-14 stitches per inch. 

Are you annoyed with me yet?  It's OK if you are because I'm annoyed with me just typing this! 

A traditional quilter would probably love this quilt but you know what?  This quilt deepened my perfectionist streak and I almost quilt quilting.  And not that I'm not anything special to the art of quilting but a quilter quitting is never a good thing.

Traditional or modern?  Who's right?  I tend to think that there is room for both...

There is nothing wrong with tradition and yes, there are "modern" quilts that actually have quite traditional roots and aren't all that modern.  And then there are modern quilts that while they may not employ traditional techniques, the amount skill and creativity that go into the quilt can stand all on their own... even against the harshest of critics.

Am I crazy about seeing a quilter make the same quilt over and over?  Not really.  But if it makes her {or him}  happy and the pictures on their blog draw a few new people into quilting then I'm good with that.  I sure hope that they will eventually step out of their comfort zone and take on a challenge because growth is a good thing but it's really not up to me to police their hobby.

So what's the deal then? 

Exclusivity.  More and more new quilters are making their first quilts.  Blogging has exploded and these blogs are a huge resource for the beginning quilters.  Modern Quilt Guilds are popping up every where and I can see where traditional quilters might feel like their hobby is being taken over. 

Traditional quilters have skills while modern quilters do not... modern quilters are more creative while traditional quilters are content to make the same traditional blocks that have been made for years... and so on and so on

But the truth is, no one group has the corner on the quilt market and both have their strengths and weaknesses.

Is there a middle ground?  I sure hope so!

Those who have been quilting for years have so much that they could share.  And there are crazy talented younger quilters who have much to share as well.  So even if we might have different styles there is still plenty to accomplish for the art of quilting without pointing fingers and making "dumb" accusations.

And BTW, I'm raising Chaney with the notion that the words dumb, hate, stupid, etc... are ugly words and there are much more intelligent alternatives to express an opinion. It's OK to have an opinion but nice almost always wins. Just a little extra food for thought... ;)

My version of Cherri's I Do Too pattern
There are fabulous modern pattern designers. Cherri House is one of them. Her quilt patterns have clean lines and typically don't stay within the quilt block box but the technical skills are still there. See all the circles in this quilt? They are made using reverse applique; a perfect example of a modern quilt that uses traditional skills with a twist.  Definitely not dumb.

Dresden Plate + Linen
These days I would consider myself closer to a modern quilter than a traditional quilter.  However, I began more traditionally when I learned to quilt.  I happen to like making more modern quilts but that does not mean that I have less skill or that I have "dumbed down" a wonderful hobby.  Traditional techniques are still very interesting to me, especially when I challenge myself to tweak a traditional block and put my own spin on it with modern fabrics, etc.  Now that doesn't sound very dumb does it?? 

Different, yes... dumb, no.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

We've Got a Winner!

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Thank you all so much for your comments to win the Accuquilt Go! Baby.  I love doing giveaways so thank you to all my current followers AND all my new ones who make these awesome giveaways possible!

And now for the winner...

According to RANDOM.ORG and the True Random Number Generator:

#3 is the winner!! 

Rachel who said: I like the apple core, the hexagons and the tumbler. Crazy I am still up listening to the weather!  

It was Rachel's second comment letting me know that she's a follower that actually won it for her so thank you, Rachel for being a follower!!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wednesday Words {books}

Pin It It's probably not a secret that I love to write almost as much as I love to quilt.

I also love books almost as much as I love fabric.

So books about fabric, quilting, and sewing are a double rainbow all the way for me.  And BTW, if you haven't seen that video on YouTube just look it up when you are having a bad day.  Trust me. :)

I have acquired a few books lately so I thought that I would share them with you...

Amy Butler's Style Stitches

The projects are beautiful and the photography is awesome in typical Amy Butler fashion.  I haven't had a chance to try a project yet but I've made a lot of bags and I can tell that the instructions are thorough.  More to come later...

Alicia Paulson's Embroidery Companion

I have been wanting to learn embroidery for quite some time now so I took the plunge and bought this book written by one of my favorite bloggers.  Wow, the projects are beautiful!  I'm lacking some basic embroidery supplies but once I've got them, I don't think there is a project in this book that I'm not going to try.

Modern Log Cabin Quilting by Susan Beal

The quilts and the photography in this book are beautiful!  I don't buy a lot of quilting books and this is one I probably should not have purchased either.  But with a cover like that, how could I resist?!?

Now I'm not trying to knock it because this is a great book for the beginning quilter or for someone who hasn't made a log cabin quilt before.  The instructions and the techniques are solid; there's just not a lot of "new" to this book if you have been quilting for awhile.  However, it is nice to see a modern quilting book that emphasizes good technique and quilting history.

And lastly, I can't blog about books without blogging about fabric!  Crafty Girls Workshop is having a sale!  $5 a yard on their Last Chance fabrics.  I'm sure their selection won't last long so hurry over!

PS... if you haven't entered to win the Accuquilt Go! Baby you have until tonight at 10 PM CST to enter.  I'll be announcing the winner tomorrow!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Yes, I did...

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please ignore the impulse gum purchase ;) some of Denyse Schmidt's new line for Joann's!

If you saw me on Facebook yesterday you saw me anxiously hoping that my Joann's would have the line in stock.  What you didn't see was me hoping that the fabric quality would be on par with her other lines and deciding if I was really ready to spend $9.99 a yard for fabric at Joann's.

The answers... yes, they had the entire line in stock!

                   ... yes, the fabric quality is great!

                   ... yes, I spent the money even without a coupon! 

After my last experience of several bad experiences with a local quilt shop {LQS}, I decided that I would stick with my online shops and support them.  So as I was driving home yesterday I was thinking about how odd it felt to to buy designer fabric in person. 

I have read some comments about the idea that Denyse has sold out by designing a line for a big chain store.  I would imagine that local quilt shops aren't happy... if they know that this line exists.  And that's a big IF because my LQS has a lot of fabric and very little appeals to me.  Their selection is out of touch and missing a big part of what appeals to a lot of quilters.

I don't think Denyse has sold out at all.  In fact, I think she's a genius.  She is reaching a fairly untapped market because for every fabric snob {myself included} who won't buy fabric from Joann's, there's probably ten who will. 

So guess who's learning Denyse's name and will begin to seek out her other new lines?  Yep, all the Joann's crowd.  Like I said, genius.  And If more and more designers begin offering lines at Joann's I can't help but think that that will be good for quilting.

But is it too late for the LQS?  Not at all.  Because if they will pull their heads out of the sand and see what trends are taking place in quilting, both traditional and modern, they might be able to catch the upswing of this.  The key will be in how they treat the new customers who walk through their doors asking for so-and-so-designer. 

And you never know, I just might give them a try again sometime.  And I hope they will give me a try too... because I'm a quilter who is willing to pay $9.99 a yard at Joann's and I would be thrilled to do the same at a LQS that carries more of the current fabrics that we are all crazy about.

Will I ever stop shopping for fabric online?  No way.  Because there is no better cure for a bad day than fabric shopping online!  Sorry, Steve... ;)

PS: don't forget to enter to win an Accuquilt Go! Baby.  The giveaway is still going on!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Ready... Set... Go! Baby {giveaway}

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This giveaway is now closed.  Thank you to all who entered!

It's finally here!  The day that I get to offer a Accuquilt Go! Baby and three dies to one of my readers!

I have been super lucky enough to play with my own Go! Baby and it is even more than I had hoped for.  I had wondered about fabric waste after cutting and I'm pleased to say that it's very minimal.  I have been using a lot of scraps to experiment with the dies and I just might be a believer in using more scraps in my quilts from now on.

So far I have worked with two dies...

The half square triangle ~ no trimming the corners or squaring up is simply amazing!

The applecore ~ those cool little notches make piecing very easy and precise!

I've ordered a few more on my own and I can't wait to give them a try... I'll be blogging about those as I finish up these first two projects. :)

I love how cute and compact this cutter is and it is so simple to use.  I pulled it out of the box and was using it within 5 minutes.  Chaney has even cut some scraps {supervised of course} which really impressed me since rotary cutting can be so tedious, tiresome and even a bit dangerous.

So enough of my blabbing!  Are you ready to win your own??  I thought so... :)

The rules are simple:

1. For your first entry, go visit Accuquilt and pick your three favorite Go! Baby dies.  Come back here to leave a comment and tell me which ones you would pick.

2.  For a second entry, be a follower of my blog or become a new one leave a separate comment letting me know.

That's it!  This giveaway will run through Wednesday, April 20th 10 PM Central Standard Time.  I will announce the winner on Thursday, April 21st.

Good luck!!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Let me count the ways...

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... that I love Marmalade Fabrics...

...105 ways to be exact! 

Tammy of Marmalade Fabrics fame has crossed the 100 color mark because she now carries 105 shades of the beautiful Kona Cotton Solids

Her ultimate goal is to carry each and every Kona color but 105 colors is a pretty big deal too!  She is having an awesome giveaway to celebrate this milestone over on her blog so be sure to hurry and head over there to enter.

But if you can't wait, I'll understand... I know I can't and I'm about to do some shopping right now!

PS... don't forget my Accuquilt giveaway happening right here tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Go! Baby

Pin It We are in the thick of a busy softball week with 1 practice and 3 games.  We won last night and Chaney played great!  If you had been in the stands you would have heard me yelling the title of this post last night...

...or maybe the title of this post has to do with a little giveaway coming on Friday?

Or both. :)

The awesome people at Accuquilt sent me a Go! Baby and three die cuts to try out.  And the best part, they were super nice and are also going to let me give one away to one of you lovely readers!

I've been playing with the dies and I'm in love.  Half square triangles are a breeze.  No trimming the corners and no squaring up {as long as your seam allowance is good}!  I'm not a big scrap quilter mainly because cutting scraps seems so tedious to me.  However, with something as easy as the Go! Baby, I bet I'll be using more scraps.

So make sure to tell all your quilting friends and stop by this Friday for a chance to win your very own Go! Baby!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Vintage Love

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Do you ever feel guilty finding a steal of a deal at a thrift store?  See that navy gingham fabric?

I paid $1.49 for the bolt of 15 yards.

Yep, you read that right.  That's roughly .10 per yard.  Guilty.

It's beautiful fabric and although the bolt is very old, it's in great condition.  So the least that I can do is to make some Jane Market Bags from this fabric.

It pairs so nicely with Greenfield Hill that I bought from Fresh Squeezed Fabrics

 The ribbon trim on the pocket was purchased a few years ago in Solvang, CA...

The handles are linen and the lining is from my Swell stash.

The pattern is by Alicia Paulson and I will definitely be making more of these bags.  Isn't it cute all hanging there just waiting for me to take it on a weekend outing?

Have a Stitchin' Weekend!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Wednesday Words {color}

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What is your favorite color?  Your least favorite color?

My favorite color is blue.  My least favorite color is green.

This is purely for fun but try this personality color test.

My final results were pretty accurate...

The qualities that characterize your personality at this time :

21% Your insights. you are thoughtful and deep, you think before getting into action and you know how to communicate your knowledge.

21% Your intellectual performance. You are intellectual and intelligent, you wonder and you inquire before taking any action and setting your values.

19% Your imagination. you are a creative person, with always new ideas, and you know how to apply them.

19% Your thinking. you are attuned to others and you show a good emotional intelligence, which allow you to give support to people.

18% Your creativity. you are creative, you know how to see beauty, you are intuitive and your inspiration comes from the inside.

Finally, you are strong-willed and active, your actions are determined by your own will, by the goals you settled to yourself, and by your need to act and move ahead, you are dynamic and active, you are determined in your actions, you know how to communicate your ideals and your energy, and thus, you know how to boost people.

Do your favorite colors show in your quilts? 

 For me, oddly enough, some of my all time favorite quilts contain both my favorite and least favorite colors. 

While some others don't have any of my favorite color...

It looks like I need to start working on a predominantly blue quilt soon... :)

What do your favorite colors and your quilt colors say about you?

Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Have a Stitchin' Weekend #5

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How was your weekend?  Mine was good.  Poor Steve was sick most of it but we still managed to have a decent weekend.  I got a lot of sewing done and I'm feeling much better about this week.  Thank you all for your kind words!

I worked on the last of some improv blocks.

No rulers... just my rotary cutter. 

These blocks are a quilt top already and I just love it.  I can't wait until ya'll can see the whole quilt!

I also took some pictures of what is growing in our garden.  Notice a theme here??

What did you work on this weekend?  Link up and show off!  It doesn't have to be finished; just something crafty. 

Thanks for playing and I hope ya'll had a Stitchin' Weekend!

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