Friday, 30 December 2011

The Beginning of Catchup

My favorite condiment of all time. Ketchup.  I could probably put it on anything. 

Mid month I finished the Evol Quilt. A lovely BBC woman suggested the name...I love the way the quilt turned out but man alive was it difficult to get finished. Everything that could go wrong with it did. I just about needed to bash my brains in.

The "real" name of the quilt is a Scantling Breeze for the head of the fantastic family it was commissioned for. 

The birds and some of the maple leaf stems are made out of various clothing items sent up to me from the customer. Each of the special stems has a name embroidered on it of the person who donated the clothing piece.

It's been a while since I put the Designer SE through its paces, but the thread painting (free-hand embroidery) of the birds did the trick. 

Backed in minkee and custom-quilted. This guy is my new second favorite. Leopard Love is still my favorite. Kelli is lucky she lives far away, else I might sneak over and steal Leopard Love back.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Life Explosion!

First of all - Merry Christmas!

This is my favorite time of the year.

I love celebrating Jesus' birthday.

I love gathering with family.

And I love eating lots and lots of food.
Thank goodness for extended nursing so that I can enjoy eating lots and lots of food and not gain lots and lots of weight along with it!!

The only thing I don't love about the holiday season is how busy it is. All of this running around inevitably ends up stressing me out and I will be happy when it's over.

I need to make a mega-big catchup post but just can't get around to it yet.

New computer means I don't have my photos uploaded yet, so that'll need to be done first.

In the meantime, I'm wishing you a Happy New Year.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Now We're In Trouble!

Well, if my darling husband thought I sewed a lot before, he's in for a real treat!

First, I transformed a space in the basement into my very own sewing dungeon. Complete with walls to contain A.

And then I went in halvsies with Mother-in-Law on a quilting machine and table. Wow. We've talked about it for years now and finally made the plunge.
Here's how it all went down:
I was checking out the machines available at my favorite sewing store, Sewing Machines, Etc.
There listed was a used Mega Quilter complete with frame and cruise control.
After wiping up my drool, I got A all packed up to visit her Grammy.
Mentioned Mega Quilter to said Grammy who offered to go in halfsies!
Checked out machine a few days later, and the rest will be history!

As usual, the crew at Sewing Machines, Etc. were fantastic. The machine was delivered before the week was out and Nick made quick work of the set up.

And here is Alejandro all set up. Nevermind the flannel hanging out on top of was temporarily stored there after pressing so A couldn't crumple it back up.

This thing is fantastic! Not only do I get to quilt larger pieces than I used to, the machine comes off the frame and is one heck of a straight stitcher.

Here's what I've done on it so far, both projects completed from beginning to end with Alejandro:

A wholecloth (cheater!!) flannel quilt

And a new baby bath sew (towel, burp cloth, and washcloths)

Happy doesn't even begin to cover it!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Roller Derby Love a.k.a. The Get Up Kwilt

Done and done! Roller Derby Love has been bound and washed. I always fear and love washing a quilt for the first time. You never really know how much the change will be. It's always going to be small, certainly, but just how will that 3% shrinkage affect the overall character?

In this quilt, I love it. The small amount of puckering really compliments the lived-in tshirts. A brand-new looking fresh-off-the-shelf quilt just would have looked wrong. Have you noticed yet that I love my hyphens? I also love semi-colons; however, they require more though on placement and I usually blog too quickly to use them.

I ended up using the flannel backing for binding and think it's just perfect.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Very Nearly Finished

So excited here! The Get Up Quilt is 90% completed. All that's left is the binding and thread snipping.

Here are the update photos (it was MEGA windy outside, hard to get the quilt to hold still):

 I am a little sad that the quilting doesn't pop better, but with the dark and busy fabrics, I didn't think that it would.
The outer border is meandering stars, the sashing is straight-line and the actual blocks vary depending on the subject on the tshirt. My next post (with finished photos!) will have close-ups of the block designs.

My next project is a family tree memory quilt. The fabric comes in next Monday for that one and I'll be starting right away so as to finish before Christmas. It'll be tight since we're going on a mini-vacation to Boston next week, too.

It's really good that A will sleep through just about anything. The next door neighbors are having a cement walkway poured and between the workers laughing, banging tools and the actual cement truck itself I think I'm getting a headache.

Off to bind!

Friday, 18 November 2011

Worth the Wait

Here are the raw materials for my current memory quilt project.
The fabric took for.e.ver to come in, but as you can see, it was totally worth the wait!

There's a tshirt in there with panda bears that A was ga-ga over. Actually, she (and I) is ga-ga over any of the character shirts.

I have to admit that I've never heard of The Get Up Kids. A quick youtube search and I've found a band to add to my favorites. Give them a listen if you like alt rock. They have a very smooth way of changing keys and measures that I like. A likes them, too.

So today is shirt cutting and stabilizing day.

Monday, 14 November 2011

And What Did I Do Today?

Finished a stinkin' cute outfit for A! I made her wear it all day long, too. Mostly she didn't mind it but the skirt came up over her head a few times.

She is now the kooky cat baby.

Old Formal to Toddler Holiday Dress

So as you can see from my last post, the holiday dress I first tried to make for A came out a little small. Like newborn sized when I need 18 months. I wracked my brain for two whole days and remembered that there was a very old formal dress hanging in my closet. Here is the "before" photo...
I thought about scanning the photo from when I actually wore the dress, and then thought better of it. Suffice it to say, even with ballet flats on (waaaaay before they were fashionable I might add) I was still three inches taller than my date. Who I understand prefers dates of the same gender now.

The after photos are much better. Not only is the model cuter, the dress is, too. The only thing I had (have still) to do to the dress when I photographed A in it is add the button on the back. So that's why it gaps a bit in the back and front.

I was able to save a lot of the seams from the dress, so reconstruction only took one nap (or two hours). 

Did you happen to notice the bright orange construction sign on that first photo? That sign just got updated the other day. Our bridge to the other side of the highway is under construction and has been since mid-summer. It was supposed to have been completed mid-September. That date was pushed back to late-September, to late-October, to mid-November and is now sitting at November 28th. I have a funny feeling that it will not be open before Christmas. 

Monday, 7 November 2011

Favorite Fall Foods

I thought it would be a nice idea to put up a few of my favorite recipes to use in the fall time. 

A note about my recipes: most of them are adapted from ones people have given me. I am terrible about following directions and I tweak everything. One cup of butter becomes two, 1/2 cup of sugar morphs into 2 cups, etc., etc.  None of the ingredients need to be exact, but try to keep them within a couple of tablespoons.

The first recipe is for Spiced Pumpkin Loaf. This is an incredibly easy recipe that tastes incredibly good. 

Prep time: around 1/2 hour
Baking time: around 1 hour


3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice 
        (or 1 tablespoon each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and ground cloves)

1 small can (16oz) 100% pumpkin puree
1-1/2 cup butter (yes, you can sub in oil or margarine, but why would you want to??)
3 eggs (room-temperature)
1 tablespoon vanilla

A few tablespoons of white sugar 
2 tablespoons cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350F.

Prepare the loaf pans. To do this pour the cooking oil onto a paper towel and coat both pans. Add a couple of tablespoons of white sugar into the pan and swirl it around to coat the bottom and sides. This is going to make a nice crust on the loafs. If you don't want a crust, don't add the sugar.

Brown the butter. The larger the pan the easier this is to do. The larger the pan the easier it is to burn, also.
 I brown butter in my small sauce pan. I put the butter in the pan, turn the heat on medium and stir the melting/melted butter until it begins to turn brown and starts to smell nice and nutty.

Stir the sugar into the melted butter and transfer into a large mixing bowl. Allow the butter&sugar to cool while mixing the dry ingredients.

Sift together the remaining dry ingredients. I do this by first mixing them roughly with a spoon in a very large mixing bowl, and then sifting from that bowl into another bowl a few times. Probably overkill, but I like to be thorough.

Stir the eggs into the butter&sugar. This is easier to do one at a time, but you won't ruin it by going all-in.

Add the vanilla and pumpkin into the eggs&butter&sugar. Again, this is easier to do slowly.

Slowly stir the flour mixture into the pumpkin mixture until just moist. You don't want to overbeat it, but you don't want any clumps either.

Pour the batter into the prepared pans.

Bake at 350F for approximately 60 minutes. The actual cooking time is going to depend on your oven and the humidity and the check the loafs every 10 minutes starting at around 50 minutes. Stick a toothpick in the middle of each loaf. If it comes out clean the loafs are ready. If not, try again in 10 minutes.

Try to let the loaf cool down before eating. I burned my tongue on the last loaf.  
Here's a picture about five minutes after removing from the oven:

And now for a sewing update

Tip: don't use cabbage patch dolls to model newborn-sized clothing. While the clothes fit (in this case, a dress) the dolls are creepy looking. It might be the funny hands, toothy smile, or just the bald head; I'm not sure, but this photo is almost frightening.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Cutest Tigger on the Block

Bloggers' Quilt Festival

What fun! I haven't had the opportunity to join a quilt festival after having left my quilting guild five years ago.

It didn't take me too much time to decide which quilt to enter; of course I would enter A's Alphabears quilt.

I started the quilt around January 2010, somewhere around 12 weeks pregnant. My goal was to have it finished and hanging in the baby's room before he or she was born. I chose rainbow colors for my rainbow baby.

I didn't quite reach my goal. The quilt top was finished and taped to the wall in baby's room on my due date.

It took me until A's first birthday to get it pinned and completely quilted. was only a year late. This is certainly my favorite quilt.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wacky Wednesday

Some days, I impress even myself with my clutzieness.
I dropped my tub of coffee grinds and spilled them all over my kitchen floor.
I went to the wrong hospital to visit a friend and welcome her new baby.
On the way to said hospital, I may have ran a red light. I am not admitting this, however.
I was about an hour late picking up A from my mother-in-law's house, which I feel terrible for.
That was all before noon.

Now that the mid-day witching hour has past, I am going to turn my day around!

I will finish folding the laundry!

I will finish making my next Hexi House (complete with lid)!

I will knock out a good portion of the tut for the new Hexi House!

This is as far as I made it yesterday:

I took a -lot- of photos this time in hopes of having one for each step. 

This is where I started:

I should have a lot of time to work on it now. Poor little A (and poor Mama) was up all night; she kept waking herself up snoring. This means a nice long afternoon nap!

Monday, 24 October 2011

First Time Tutter

Tut time tut time!
I thought I would try my hand at writing up a tutorial for the storage boxes I sewed yesterday. They were fun and straightforward to make with a nice mixture of machine and hand work.

When I "worked" for a living, one of my responsibilities was to write up/edit user and maintenance manuals for the equipment the company sold. Call me weird, but that was my favorite part of the job!

Time required: 1-1/2 hours
Materials cost: $0-$15

  • Approximately one fat quarter fabric
  • Stiff batting (I used Floriani Stitch-N-Shape)
  • Two buttons
  • 4" of 3/8" elastic
  • Matching thread
  • Scissors (rotary cutter would be good)
  • 2 safety pins
  • CD disk
  • pen
For the most part, these steps can be done in any order up until the actual box assembly.

Step 1: Cut it out

From the fabric:
  1. Using the CD disk as your template, draw two circles on the wrong side of your fabric.
  2. Fold the fabric in half so that you can cut two circles from each tracing at the same time.
  3. Cut out one circle on the line you traced. You will have two circles of fabric the same diameter as the CD. These are Fabric B.
  4. Cut the remaining circle approximately 1.4" away from the line traced. If you use a different seam allowance, cut that amount away from the traced line. These are Fabric T.
  5. Cut one strip 9&3/4" x 16. This is Fabric C.

From the batting:
  1. Trace two circles using the CD again as your template.
  2. Cut one circle on the traced line. This is Batting T.
  3. Cut the other circle approximately 1/4" (or your seam allowance) to the inside of the line. This is Batting B.
  4. Cut two strips  4&1/2" x 15". These are Batting C.

Step 2: Sew in circles

  1. Machine sew Fabric B circles, right-sides together, leaving an opening of approximately 2". Backstitch at each edge of opening.
  2. Turn fabric right-side-out and insert Batting B as shown. (Try not to crease the batting.)
  3. Slip-stitch the opening closed.
  4. Disc B is completed!

  1. Fold the 2" elastic strips in half and sew one on each side of Batting T. Mark the position of the elastic onto the marked Fabric T circle.
  2. Machine sew Fabric T circles, right-sides together. Leave a 2" opening to insert batting; back-stitch at each side of the opening. At the markings for elastics, leave a 1/4" opening; back-stitch at each side of the opening.
  3. Pull the elastic through the 1/4" openings so that it is on the right side. You may need to crumple or bend your batting to do this. Once through, put a safety pin on the elastic to prevent it from sliding back in. Turn the circle right-side-out so that Batting T is inside Fabric T.
  4. Fold the remaining opening to neaten, and pin it closed. 
  5. Sew the entire edge of the circle with a straight or decorative stitch. I chose a zig-zag.  
  6. Disc T is completed!
Step Three: Cup it

  1.  Iron Fabric C lengthwise in half (like a hotdog). 
  2. Machine sew along one short edge and the long edge, leaving the remaining short edge open, forming a sleeve.
  3. Turn the sleeve right-side-out to insert Batting C.
  4. The simplest way to insert the batting is to fold down the sleeve as far as possible, then unroll onto the batting. 
  5. Fold sleeve openings in, but do not stitch closed (unless you absolutely have to).
  6. Cup is completed!
Step Four: Construct it

  1. Slip stitch Disc B to Cup. Start in the middle, or at either end; I chose the middle for some unknown reason. I stitched the fabric such that the cup would sit on the outside of the bottom by sewing the inside-side of the cup to the bottom side bottom.
  2. Slip stitch the side of Cup. To make this as neat as possible, I stitched together the inside fabric first, and then the outside. Be sure to catch a piece of the batting with each stitch.
  3. Sew a button on each side of the cup to match the elastics.
Step Four: ENJOY!

I'd love to see photos of your storage box!

    Friday, 14 October 2011

    Where did the time go?

    It's been a couple of weeks and I feel like I have gotten next to nothing accomplished. This isn't actually true, but I feel that way all the same. So for review:
    Two denim skirts for client, done.

    Autumn quilt, done.

    House is clean and organized. My laundry is up to date.

    And now with all of the space in my brain I have ideas bouncing around but nothing to make them with. The really crappy part about not having a job is not having money. I don't want to be materialistic. I consider myself an artist (ha, ha) and it's terribly hard to do much of anything with out materials to work with.

    My fabric stash is down to bare bones. I did make the fantastic discovery of a bunch of half-square triangles and strips a couple of days ago that I will make my darling daughter a little huggy quilt out of. What's stopping me? I have one single sewing machine needle left that I need to use to finish some hats for the local children's hospital. Nothing is stopping me from doing those, just myself. But now that I am caught up on my "chores" next week I can work on the hats. And if my needle survives, I can work on the huggy quilt.

    Monday, 26 September 2011

    Oh yeah, I got a blog!

    Whoah. Talk about a memory bubble. I totally forgot I started this thing. The whole point was to blog to help me remember things....and I go and forget about the blog. I am in big big big trouble!

    So to bring you up to speed I've finished a commissioned baby-clothes quilt:

    These are my new favorite things to quilt. It is so much fun working with the itsy bitsy clothing and deciding which pieces to combine to make the funnest blocks. I can't wait to have the chance to make another one.

    I am almost complete with my Autumn quilt. I just have to finish the binding. That may take me another month. We will see.

    I am giving up on my favorite sewing machine and returning it to my mother-in-law. The Designer SE is going home. It refused to sew through multiple layers of denim today so I had to trek down and fish out my 30 year old White out of the cupboard.
    And then it hit me - I used to free-motion quilt on the White. Why not do it again? The tension, etc., is so easy to play with.
    So bye bye modern sewing machine!