Friday, April 30, 2010

April Bee Blocks

I am thoroughly enjoying my Quilting Bee and I'm feeling a little bit proud of myself for actually keeping up with each month's blocks.  (This is the reason why I limited myself to only one Bee at a time. Yes, I know myself well.)
This month's blocks are for Audrie.  Once again, really cool blocks that I would have never attempted otherwise.  Audrie shows how to do it here if you're interested. I will admit, they were slightly tricky and mine aren't 100% perfect, but I would try them again. I love the finished result these blocks create.  (And yes, they aren't squared-up - Audrie said she would do that part, and I so I am going to let her.) :)
If you haven't read Audrie's blog, it is always entertaining. And she's so productive. AND she's only been quilting for a year. Blows. My. Mind.
Maverick Star Charity Quilt by jrcraft.
This is the finished charity quilt Rebekah put together from the maverick blocks from last month.  I love how it turned out. Thanks again, Rebekah for spearheading this!

I am posting from my husband's laptop.  (You're right Audrie - it does feel like wearing someone else's underwear.)  Our computer is finally getting overhauled.  Yay! So I was computerless all day yesterday and today.  It's amazing what you can get done when there is no glowing screen to tempt you.  I made Union Jack blocks yesterday. They had been sorely neglected.  Today my dear, sweet, wonderful husband is taking the morning off and then working from home so I can go to a Women's Conference at BYU.  It's one of my favorite things all year. Hurrah!  So, all this combined means I'm woefully behind on emails and that kind of stuff. But hopefully my spiffed-up, super fast computer and I will be back in gear next week.

Happy weekend! 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Nursing Cover Tutorial

I decided it was time to write a Nursing Cover Tutorial.  This way everyone can create a lovely handmade baby-gift trifecta (along with the burp cloths and diaper clutch). Just think how impressive you will be at all those baby showers. This version isn't the snazziest, but it's fast, efficient, and let's face it: the baby is not going to care and the mom is probably sleep-deprived enough to just be grateful for something she doesn't have to hold up with her chin and keeps her baby from looking he/she's been in a sauna for an hour.
Supplies:  
3/4 yard of pre-washed fabric. You could go longer if you're making this for a taller person.  (Keep in mind that this baby accessory is actually for the mom. As cute as fire trucks and smiling, rubber ducks are for the little munchkins, mom would probably feel a whole lot more chic in a swanky, designer print. Whenever I see great designer fabric on sale, I always snatch some up and keep it handy for nursing covers.)

12" of Boning.  This stuff is found at JoAnn's or any other store that carries a lot of notions.  It can be found in the Notions aisle and is purchased by the yard.  (I know this sounds kind of tricky and requiring extra effort. I felt this way myself at first, but seriously, it is SO EASY.  The easy-effort : impress-your-friends ratio is amazing.) The first nursing cover I made I used 18" of boning and when I tried it out, I felt like I was sitting under a covered wagon.  I found that 12" provides enough length to make the cover bow out so you can peek at your adorable little one, but not feel too big.  This is all personal preference though.  If you are making it for someone a little more well endowed, maybe you want to use a longer piece. By all means, use as much  or as little as you desire. (One of the great parts of making something yourself! You can change things up when you want!)

A package of 3/4" D-rings.  These are also found in the Notions aisle.  I tried the 1" D-rings and felt like the neck strap got too loose and didn't stay in place, but again - go with what makes you happiest.  The D-rings come 4 to a package and you will only need two per cover.
 
 After you have washed and ironed your pretty fabric fold it in half length-wise (i.e. label-side selvage folded on top of itself) so that you can easily cut a strip off one side.
 Cut a strip 3.5" wide off the selvage side for your neck-strap.  (Trim selvage first.)
Put that strip in a safe place because you will need it again shortly.
You will now have a giant rectangle measuring roughly 27" x 39".
 Get out your favorite slidy-ruler-thingy and turn the short sides of your rectangle under 1/4".  Press. (Again, steam and a little spray starch will help a ton.)
 
 Turn pressed edges over another 1/4".  Press and I like to then pin.
 
 Sew the hemmed sides down.
Repeat the process with the bottom hem, only turn it under 1/2" the second time and don't forget to back stitch at the beginning and end of your seam.  (I know the slidy-ruler is kind of tedious. If you'd rather eye-ball it, go for it. I do. I've made so many that I'm getting pretty good at those hems.)
 
 For the top seam, turn down 1/4", press, and then turn down again 5/8" or just wider than your boning.
 
 Sew that hem in place, leaving the sides open so you can insert the boning.
Now pat your self on the back, because you are half-way done.
 
Now, take your 3.5" strip and fold it in half length-wise, sewing the edges together with a 1/4" seam.
 Take your strap piece to the ironing board. 
Roll the seam so that it's centered and press the seam open.
 
 Now cut a 9" piece off one end of your strip.
Cut one end of the long strip on a diagonal.
Close the end with the diagonal cut with a 1/4" seam.
 Carefully turn both strap pieces right side out.
Tuck all raw edges under about 1/2" and press.
 
 Slide D-rings on the shorter strap piece and fold in half.
(I forgot to picture this part, but you can sew a seam right 
underneath the D-rings to hold them in place.)
 
Now, slide the boning piece into the place you made for it in the top hem and center it.
 
 Pin the two strap pieces your made on either side of the inserted boning.
These are going to hold the boning in place.
Put the shorter D-ring strap on the left.
Keep the seam on the longer strap facing the back of the cover.
 
Carefully sew the straps in place with a nice rectangle.
Don't forget to back stitch.
 
Clip your threads and you're done!
That's really all there is to it.

Please feel free to email me with questions or where the instructions need clarification.  I want this tutorial to be around for a while, so anything I can do to improve it will be much appreciated.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Let's hear it for the quilt . . . and the boy

A finished quilt! For a long time now, I've been wanting to make a cute, easy little boy quilt with kits available in my etsy shop. Voila! Finally, it is done. I love it. And I'm having a harder time letting it go than I thought I would.
The quilt itself is also for sale.  The back is this happy Ikea print. 
 
Other fabrics include bright boy-themed prints from Wheels by Riley Blake and Traffic Jam by Windham Fabrics.
 
 Quilt and limited number of kits available here.

 picture by sweet and gifted friend, Jon Canlas

Also, today is the anniversary of the day I got my first sweet boy.  All 10 pounds of him arrived fast and furious in the early morning hours.  I think I've been tired ever since. :) This boy can go from sunshine to thunder storms in 0-60 seconds.  I'll be honest, sometimes I wonder if I'll have the stamina to raise him.  But everyday before he goes to school he wants to rub noses with me and gives me a big hug and a kiss that melts my heart. At that moment, it's all worth it.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Redefining "Soccer Mom"

Binding at last night's game.  
Nice and clear -no rain- and the quilt kept off the wind. 
Thanks for the encouragement.
 
If you're local, check out Tom & Lucy's Art Shoppe boutique which is going on this weekend. I'm going this afternoon. Maybe we could meet? They always have beautiful things.  Last time I bought some awesome earrings. Jewelry is what I typically buy at craft fairs.  It's a part of the craft world that I have not allowed myself to enter.  I figure I save money by buying someone else's finished product rather than buying all the supplies and hoarding them in my basement, never getting to them. I already have one too many hoards.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

I-spy

 Here is the pieced top from the little pile in Monday's post.  I love this quilt.  I made one like it last year that ended up here.
 
I must say I thoroughly enjoyed making it again. I can't wait to see it quilted and washed. I'm toying with the idea of making kits for my etsy shop.  I did some last year until I ran out of the border fabrics.  I've since found some worthy replacements, so it's a possibility.
 
In the mean time, I am stocking I-spy Charm packs again.  I am re-stocking the original 3.5" size.  I'm also adding a limited number (only 6 - that's it) of 5" charm packs.  I cut some for a custom order and decided to sell the rest, so I won't be cutting more.
 
The 5" packs consist of 25 different squares for $10.  The prints skew slightly in the boy direction but are still somewhat gender neutral.  Includes Japanese and other vintage reproduction fabrics. Post Edit: The 5" packs are gone!
I have a few other etsy updates in the works - hopefully ready and posted during the next week: vintage sheets, a new little boy quilt and kits! I am excited. That is if my computer cooperates. (See below)

In other more boring news, my computer is reaching the end of it's mortal existence.  I think it's about 372 in dog years.  Last night, after spending way too long uploading 20 pictures for a tutorial I'd planned to post today (none of which blogger saved because they were only in the loading dock - not the actual draft post *sigh*), my computer shut itself down and went to bed.  It keeps doing this and I'm just waiting for the day it doesn't turn on again.  We've got a new computer lined up - just need to get someone with far superior technical knowledge than we have to make the official transfer.  So the only reason I'm boring everyone with all this information is to let you know the reason if I suddenly go AWOL.  I will return as soon as possible with a much faster computer and a new tutorial to boot. The End.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Works in Progress up the Wazoo

I feel like it's been a while since I've shared any truly finished projects.  This is because I have a ton of unfinished projects in the works simultaneously.  But I'm getting close to finishing.  So I'll share a little "teaser" of some of them.
I just got two quilts back from the quilters and am in the middle of binding both of them.  And now I have three new tops to deliver to the quilters.
Two are custom orders (and dang cute, if I do say so). This one is all laid out, ready to stitch together as soon as I get off the computer - and before pre-school gets out!
This is one we're going to keep.  It is for my daughter - she's been waiting patiently for too long.  I finished piecing the top at that retreat in February, except for the outside borders.  I found a striped fabric that I wanted to use and decided it would look best with mitered corners.  But because that requires extra effort, it just sat and stared at me for a couple of months waiting for me to get my act together.
Finally last night, I did it.  Many thanks to Amy's (the artist formerly known as Park City Girl) tutorial. So it's finally off to the quilters too. Hooray! I can't wait to get it back.  And have more quilts to bind! Then I'll also have something finished to share.
 
And in other news, soccer season is now in full swing.  It's so much more fun when we have gorgeous weather like we've had this past weekend. And when there are giant clouds that look like whales floating overhead.  I just wish I had the courage to take a quilt to bind with me to the soccer games. But I not only fear them getting filthy, but I'm also a little fearful of looking like a granny. (Lame, I know.)  I guess it takes each of us to broaden that 'soccer mom' image, one quilt at a time.


PS. One last thing that I remembered after Friday's post. Since we're reminiscing about the word Rad and we already had an 80's music motif going, it reminded me of a guy I knew who thought Prince's lyrics,"She wore a Raspberry Beret" were, "She was a Rad, Spiritual Babe." Lol.

I wonder if my husband thinks I'm a rad, spiritual babe? I should ask him when he gets home.

Friday, April 16, 2010

I'd like to thank the Academy . . .

Well, not really the Academy (I've just always thought it would be fun to say that) but YOU! (My husband suggested I title this post: "You are the Wind Beneath My Wings." Lol.) For a long time now, I've wanted to write a post just to say Thank You for all the nice things you people do and say and comment.  No, I really mean it. I'm not just trying to be cliche or act like a 13-year-old girl, trying to get attention.  Sometimes I wonder why I spend so much time blogging - when it already hogs too much time away what little time I have with my sewing machine, not to mention more important things.  But it's because the connection with people is so lovely. Especially other (slightly crazy) people like me who kind of understand why I get thrills out of fabric with Toadstools on it, or somebody else's old sheets.  I don't know a ton of people in real life who think those things are super exciting. So thank you for at least making me feel like I'm not completely loopy.

Thank you also to the nice people recently who have nominated me for blogging awards. I am always so touched when someone thinks this little corner of cyberspace is remotely entertaining.  I'm terrible about following through on blogging awards because as I already mentioned, this computer already horns in way to much. But really, thank you.
And thank you to Quilter's Home Magazine for including me with 54 other Rad Blogs. (I had no idea until sweet Sherri told me! I need to get my hand on one of those issues!) Thank you for even putting me on the same piece of paper with that kind of talent and thank you for calling me Rad. No one has done that since I was in 9th grade.
Finally, I want to thank those of you who have sent me pictures of or links to things you have made with my tutorials.  It is so much fun for me to see and to know that those tutorial posts weren't a complete waste of time or megabytes.  So I'm finally starting a flickr group where you can publicly share what you've made for the world to see. Click on the picture here or on the right sidebar and it should take you to the flickr group. (I'm kind of a novice at this so someone please tell me if it doesn't work.  And I'll try and fix it ASAP.)

Onto next week: Etsy update and new tutorial!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fabric Cuteness Overload

 Well here it is people.  This is how I get my thrills during Spring Break.

Buying yards of Japanese fabric!  (This is either very thrilling or very pathetic, depending on your own view of fabric buying.)  I bought this at a store in Utah called Pine Needles.  I don't go there often (which is probably good for my wallet) but when I do, I head straight for their Japanese imports.  They have a great selection and I figure I can buy a little more because of what I save in shipping costs.
This fabric is called Charlotte and is from the Caramel Town collection by Lecien. And I'm very sorry to say PN doesn't have anymore because I bought the rest of the bolt. (Birthday money and coupon, remember!) It's a 'cheater' print - all the squares are printed on. (See! I'm saving money by not having to piece all those squares!)  I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do with it yet. Something fabulous.  But for now, I'll just pet it for a bit while I wait for the inspiration to strike.
 
Also at Pine Needles, I got a few other charming prints to add to the I-spy collection.  All of them are Minny Muu by Lecien except for the toadstools.  They are Chum=Chum Bear (don't you love that name?) also by Lecien.  I may horde this one.   I only bought little bits of these.
 
And I was so excited because they had the Flower Sugar roses I'd been looking for ever since Katy suggested them for my Union Jacks! And they are perfect!! (I love that blue in there.) It is a bit odd that I look to Japan for a good, English cabbage-rose/Cath Kidstonish print. But I'll take it!
 
And speaking of Flower Sugar (also by Lecien) (of course) when I first went looking for the cabbage-rose stuff, I came across this (another cheater print) in Material Gal's etsy shop.  Do I need it? Maybe not. Do I know what the heck I'm going to do with it? Um, no. But it was so perfect for my daughter's room that we're doing in pinks and turquoise.  So I succumbed.
 
She also had some of the Michael Miller Hedgehog Group. Have you seen these?!? (I'm talking to you LBC!) I would love a piece of each one. Such a great collection!
 
 Here are a few other finds from the FabricWorm.  
They also have an impressive collection of Japanese imports.
 
I'm also excited because American Quilting where I work sometimes, just got some of the Alexander Henry toadstools in stock! (Okay, so I'm totally on the Toadstool bandwagon.)
 
They also got in another new Alexander Henry print called Paris Park in both pink and blue.
 
AQ also has some great Lecien prints in stock right now.  
These pastels and some Minny Muu. 
Another good place to find Japanese imports if you're local (Utah).

And now you probably have fabric cuteness coming out your ears.

Speaking of American Quilting - I went in for a quick pick-up yesterday. I say quick because I had my boys with me.  They have been there so many times - since they were each in utero - that they know it well.  But after today I think we may have officially reached our breaking point.  The almost-6-year-old locked the front door which we didn't realize until a customer tried to come in the store.  But the 4-year-old was worse.  Not only did he do what he ALWAYS does whenever we go in a fabric store (i.e. use the potty, but it's always p**p.  Pavlovian response, I swear.) but I found him playing with a rotary cutter!  After I took away the open rotary cutter, he found a nicely wrapped fat quarter to unwrap.  Then I found him trying out the adhesive spray-baste canisters. Within minutes of cleaning up that I found him rolling the previously mentioned rotary cutter back and forth over the previously mentioned, re-wrapped FQ. Fortunately the blade was closed. But that little act meant it was time to leave, pronto. What happened to my adorable little angel boy? He has somehow morphed into Dennis the Menace.