Thursday, May 31, 2012

a little...

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... bragging.  But in a good way!

Today is Chaney's last day of school.  We finished her wall hanging for her teacher last night and I bet she's giving it to her teacher right about now.  I'm still going to let her blog all about it but I couldn't stand to wait to share just a little bit.

The quilting... she did most of it.  She wanted the lines "closer together" like she sees on other quilts... yes, she reads some of your blogs!  So I filled in some lines for her but the quilting design was her creation.  And I must add, straight line quilting on my Juki is amazing.  I've always wondered how quilters get their lines and stitches so pretty and now I know... a machine can really make a difference!

The binding... when I got a fat quarter pack of Habitat, quite honestly I decided that I would probably never use that print.  It's pretty bold and loud but I think she made a great choice.

I'll let her share the rest but I'm just so proud.  It's always fun when you can do fun things with your kids.  When she was watching me press the blocks she told me how glad she was to have a mom who could teach her to sew.  As corny as it sounds, I got a little choked up hearing that and then telling her how glad I was to have a kid who wants to sew with me.

Our softball season ended on Tuesday night with a double header.  It was a long season because of some unruly parents in the stands {putting it mildly} but we made it.  She was by far our most consistent hitter and I promise that I'm saying that as the coach!  This was my last season to be a head coach; I'll always be happy to assist but I'm ready to be a softball mom to just one kid instead of an entire team.

I can't believe that I was blogging about Chaney's first day of kindergarten here and the signature quilt I made for her teacher and now I'm blogging about a quilt that she made and how she's heading to third grade in the fall.  Time really does fly!

Happy summer!



Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hard at work

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I hope everyone had a great long weekend!  Chaney and I spent some time sewing on Sunday.  She loves her art teacher and she wanted to make her an end of the year present. 

I've been using some of my Habitat stash for my drunk flowers quilt so guess which fabrics she eyed.  Yep... the drop cloth ones.  Perfect for an art teacher!  Tough for mom to part with some of her favorite fabrics so you know it's love when you let your kid use some of your beloved stash. ;)
Chaney wanted to make a wall hanging to look like paintings hanging on a wall.  I think that's a great concept!  I decided it was time to teach her strip piecing so we cut light and dark strips to make 9 patch blocks.

I cut the long strips and she stitched them together.  I pressed the strips and I supervised her very closely and let her rotary cut the strips into the units to make the 9 patch blocks.  She did great... the cuts were a tad wonky but it works great with her design. 


I showed her how to butt the seams up against each other and pin.  Then I taught her how to chain piece.  Her response... why didn't you teach me this trick a long time ago?!?

While she was busy chain piecing, I cut the sashing strips.  I pressed the 9 patch blocks and she took over and added the sashing to the blocks without me showing her what to do.  She's a quilting genius! LOL

I pressed the blocks and because the 9 patch blocks ended up a bit wonky, I decided to square the blocks up wonky too.  Chaney loved the look and was arranging the blocks and stitching them together to make the top before I could even say anything about making the seams match then sewing the rows together. 

I thought that I might be the one quilting the hanging but she's begging to do it because she already knows how.  Her Janome doesn't have a walking foot so I'm thinking straight organic lines using my machine should be OK with my supervision. 

The one thing she is making me do... binding the quilt.  And that's fine with me because it's one of my favorite parts of making a quilt! 

Chaney and I will hire our quilt photographer {Steve} to take the final pictures and I'll let her blog about the finished product.  She is begging for a blog of her own but I think she's too young.  Hopefully sharing here will keep her happy for the next few years...



Thursday, May 24, 2012

Liberty!

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Image from PickClickSew
I finally gave in.  I have been eyeing the Liberty fabrics for a long time now.  I've picked up a few pieces here and there but I have really been wanting to make a quilt for myself out of these gorgeous prints. 

I caved yesterday when I stumbled across PickClickSew on Etsy.  She has a great selection and reasonable prices.  Because I wanted the biggest selection of Tana Lawn as possible, I decided to go with a scrap bag with 48 pieces ranging between 2" x 5" to 4.5" x 5.5" in size. 

I also think it will be fun to design a quilt using every precious scrap of varying sizes.  I'm planning on pairing the prints with Essex linen in natural.  I'm thinking that the contrasting textures will give the quilt some extra depth since the blocks themselves will be fairly straightforward.

As I've been reading the quilt market posts, I've noticed several bloggers talking about how Liberty is coming out with a quilting cotton line.  When those prints hit, I bet there will be a huge frenzy around them!

Have you ever worked with Liberty fabric?  I'm interested to hear what you thought and any tips you might have!



Wednesday, May 23, 2012

{Instagram}

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Do you Instagram?  It's quickly becoming a new favorite of mine.  It's so easy!  Steve gave me a new piece of Le Creuset to add to my collection for our anniversary... I took a cool picture and uploaded it to Instagram, Facebook and Flickr all at the same time.


I gave Steve an iron griddle for our anniversary and same thing... cool picture taken and it's posted.

Looks like we will be doing a lot of cooking!

I'm new on Instagram and I'm looking for more people to follow.  If you happen to be on there and you want to,  just click here or on the little camera next to the Facebook button on my page to follow me.  If you follow me, I promise to follow you back.  We'll have lots of fun together! :)

PS: my Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway is still going on!  click here to enter.


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Add another ring...

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Today is our sixth anniversary! 

Last year the traditional gift was wood so I made an embroidered tree ring to hang in our hallway.  Had I really thought it through, I would have left room to add more rings.  Maybe I'll make another one at 10 years. :)

The traditional gift for six years is iron.  Oh, what fun it was to buy this gift and lug it through the store!  Steve and I are just hoping we didn't buy each other the same thing... we'll see.

How are we celebrating?  We will be coaching Chaney's softball game tonight in Middleofnowhere, TX.  Unless we want to dine at Dairy Queen, we are better off waiting to go out to dinner tomorrow night to celebrate.

8U softball isn't very romantic but then, we've never been a conventional couple... our first date was a blind date on December 3rd, 2005.  Steve proposed on February 14th, 2006.  We signed a contract to build our house on February 28th, 2006.  On May 22nd, 2006 we got married at the courthouse, just the two of us, in flip flops, shorts and a sundress.  Don't worry, I was the one wearing the sundress. 

I wouldn't change a thing about these six years together because they have made us the couple that we are today.  Here's to many more with my best friend and love of my life!

If you are looking for the Sew, Mama, Sew giveaway please click here.



Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway Day!

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It's that time again!  Giveaway Day hosted by Sew Mama Sew starts today.  This is always such a fun event and a great way to discover new blogs and maybe even win something.

I'm giving away my Bookmarks table runner.  I designed it for a Blogger's Challenge over at Sew Lux Fabric & Gifts and now one lucky reader gets to take it home... well, the mailman will take it to your home. ;)


The runner measures 18" x 50" and is full of summer colors from the California Girl line by Fig Tree Quilts.

Please note: I won't be able to ship the runner internationally but I don't want to leave my international friends out either!  One international winner will receive all 3 of my patterns via PDF. 

To win, please leave a comment and tell me which color combination is your favorite right now. 

If you are an international friend, please note that in your comment as well.

This giveaway will close on May 25th at 5 PM CST

{you can also make your own Bookmarks runner using my tutorial found here}


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival!

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It's that time again... time to show off my current "favorite" quilt.

Right now it's my Reunion quilt.  Super simple with some hourglass blocks sprinkled in to break up the squares.  I made this quilt in less than 24 hours.  For real. :)

I made this quilt for someone I had never met.  I have since met him and it was so cool to meet this person and see his eyes light up when I was introduced to him and told that I'm the one who made his quilt. 

 It was my shortest commission turnaround ever... not to mention the fastest I have ever made a quilt.  I was asked and gladly volunteered on Friday night, I started it Saturday afternoon, took a break to go to church Saturday evening, and then I finally went to bed Sunday morning around 5:30am.

I set my alarm for 8am to get up and finish the last little bit of the binding that I couldn't see straight enough to finish without at least a few hours of sleep. I finished the binding and managed to get a few pictures right before it was picked it up from me at 9am, Sunday morning. Phew!!

It's not my story to tell but from the name of the quilt and the importance for me to finish it overnight, you can probably guess that that Sunday was a meeting a long time in the making. I'm not one to think that quilts fix everything but I still like to believe that they can convey feelings of love, warmth, comfort, security and assurance. I cherished every moment of making this quilt.


I used a mix of charms from Sweetwater's Reunion line {how appropriate is that?!}, some of my favorite Pez prints, a tiny grey houndstooth print and some random hourglass blocks. I haven't made that many quilts from just squares and I think part of that reason is because it starts to feel so busy to me.

I set out to make this one with just 5" squares but ran into that same "busy" feeling. My solution was to add some hourglass blocks made from Kona Coal and Kona Snow. I randomly added them to the rows and I like how those blocks give the eye a place to rest. Also, this quilt was for a man so adding those blocks made it a bit more masculine... according to Steve. :)


I quilted it with straight vertical lines running on each side of the seams. After that, I still wanted more quilting so I did some organic diagonal lines. I didn't mark the quilt at all and I like the randomness.

I did rounded corners... I guess because I like the balance of all the squares and straight lines against the curves. I cut the binding strips at 4am and had to refer back to my own tutorial for folding the fabric to cut the bias strips... and you only thought my tutorials were for everyone else! ;)
 
Thanks for visiting today!  Be sure to head over to Amy's Creative Side to see all the other beautiful quilts.  This is one of my favorite events in the blogging community because I always find new-to-me blogs with tons of inspiration.



Monday, May 14, 2012

{Fearless}

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Chaney's workspace looks an awful lot like mine...

It was a wonderful weekend!  Chaney gave me her Mother's Day presents... a card and a coupon book full of fun gifts like a "free" cream cheese bagel, "free" bed made, "free" kiss & hug, etc.  I hope she never outgrows these handmade gifts because they are my absolute favorite.  Well, a new Pandora charm also makes me pretty darn happy too...

After cashing in my bagel coupon yesterday, Chaney and I headed upstairs to sew.  I love how she jumps right in and starts sewing; she's fearless!  She doesn't stress about colors or even much over design.  She has become quite proficient with her sewing machine... she can thread it, wind the bobbins, put the bobbin in the bobbin case, and she always starts with her needle down. :)  She keeps asking to be able to sew without me in the room but I'm just not ready for that and probably won't be for a few more years.  That and well, it gives me a reason to always be sewing right along with her.


While Chaney worked on a pillow with a pocket {her design} I got brave and tackled piecing with curves.  I've wanted to make a variation of a drunkard's path quilt for a long time now but the curves always scared me.  I cut my pieces on my Accuquilt cutter and went to work.  I started out using pins but that got tedious really fast.  It also wasn't working all that well.

I consulted The Internet and found Nova's tutorial on piecing curves without pins.  It's a video and it is fantastic.  After watching it, I was piecing my blocks without pins and fairly fast I might add. It's definitely not speedy but it is faster than pinning.  I'm now a fearless quilter when it comes to piecing curves!

I really like my flowers and I'm doing some experimenting with low contrast background fabrics.  We'll see...

Oh, and I had my allergy testing this morning.  What food am I allergic to?? 

Nothing.  I'm not allergic to any one food by itself.  The good thing about that is that I can start eating Mexican food again.  And any other foods as well.  I'm not quite fearless but I'm getting better.

The bad part is that I'm allergic to something environmental that cross-reacts with a food.  It could be something as simple as a common fungus on a vegetable touching an avocado in a kitchen.  How do you order your dinner around something like that??  I also have a certain cell that is responsible for anaphylaxis and I have 3x's as many of those cells as a "normal" person.

The short of it is that I could spontaneously combust at any time. I joke... I joke ;) 

I'll go back for environmental tests in a few weeks but the best thing I can do long term is relax a little and always be prepared by carrying my Epipens.  So we are celebrating no food allergies tonight with Mexican food.  I'll be that girl with a margarita in one hand and an Epipen in the other... 

Thanks for all your well wishes, information, advice and assurance about allergies; it has meant a lot to me.  I'm terribly behind on emails but I'll get there.  If you have emailed me in the past few weeks and you are worried that I've missed it, feel free to forward it to me and I promise to get to it this time around.



Friday, May 11, 2012

Checking in...

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Just a quick note to let ya'll know that I'm still OK. :)

It's been an interesting few weeks and I would be lying if I said that I haven't had lots of anxiety lately.  Fortunately I go back to the allergist on Monday to do all the allergy testing. 

I'm hoping and praying that the tests show what I'm allergic to so I can eat a meal without feeling a surge of panic with even the slightest itch anywhere near my mouth.

I haven't been able to take any kind of allergy medication since Tuesday because antihistamines interfere with allergy testing.  If you know anything about springtime allergies in Texas then I'm sure you know what I'm referring to when I say that the inside of my head it itching.

Maybe if I'm not sneezing like crazy, I'll be able to do a little sewing this weekend.  I hope ya'll have a wonderful weekend and a happy Mother's Day on Sunday!



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wednesday Words {accessories}

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image from Pillow Sew Cute
 Thank you all so much for your comments on my last post!  I helps a lot to know that I'm not the only one who has had a freak allergic reaction.  It was also fun to have my theory confirmed about all firemen and paramedics being cute. ;)

I'm still not feeling great so there's nothing going on in my sewing room.  I did see an allergist yesterday but because my body is still reacting to whatever the heck I ate; he couldn't do the full blown allergy tests.  He did do some blood work and I'll go back in two weeks for the other tests but until then, I get to wait. 

At my appointment I did get some good information on what to do if it happens again.  When I was discharged from the hospital, I was given a prescription for two Epipens.  Steve got the prescription filled, we read the instructions, practiced with the "practice" injection, and I put them in my purses.

I also purchased two pouches {one pictured above}  from Pillow Sew Cute on Etsy.  Karen is not only super helpful... she also has great taste in fabric!  I thought about making my own pouch but I really liked her clear labeling and design.  It makes better sense to have something easily identified just in case someone else needs to find the pouch for me.

I did kind of wonder why they gave me two Epipens so I asked the doctor about it yesterday.

The Doctor:  how many pens do you have in that purse with you?

Me:  One.

The Doctor:  let me guess, you thought that one was for your black purse and the second one was for your brown purse.

Me:  well, something like that...

The Doctor:  {smiling} no dear, these are not for your accessories.

So not only did I find a good allergist... he's also got jokes.

BTW, if you are wondering, they give you two Epipens because you are supposed to carry both of them {or at least I am}.  One injection lasts about 10 minutes so having two gives you 20 minutes to get help.  It's also a good idea to have two just in case you mess up the first one.  Now having two makes a lot more sense. ;)

I'm trying to find the humor in this but I am having some anxiety as well.  It's hard not knowing what I'm allergic to and what to avoid.  For example... a tray of fruit was brought in to my office yesterday.  Along with my other co workers, I started to get a plate but then I stopped myself.  I realized that I didn't know how that fruit had been handled or if I'm even allergic to the actual fruit. 

It's definitely going to be a big lifestyle change and I am so fortunate that Steve is completely on board.  That definitely makes this easier. :)




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