Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Quick Fat Quarter Bag Tutorial

Today I'm sharing a new tutorial over at Make and Takes.  This tutorial is for a quick little bag made from one fat quarter and some ribbon.  Perfect little summer project.

Make and Takes

Make and Takes is an awesome blog full of activities to do with your kids, craft projects, and quick recipes.  Marie is amazing and is continually coming up with great ideas. It is one of the first blogs I ever started following consistantly and I'm SO excited to be hanging out there today!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Quilt Bee Blocks

A little catch-up on May and June's Bee Blocks.
This incredible tulip pattern was designed by and made for Penny of Sewtakeahike.
You can see more of the tulip quilt blocks here.
Have you visited Penny's blog? She is one of my Hexie inspirations.
These next blocks are for Julie (of Jaybird Quilts.)
I've seen all the Neptune (fabric collection) love in quilt-blog-land but hadn't actually sewed with any myself.  It is so pretty!  This is going to be another amazing quilt. You can see more of the blocks at the Bee Beautiful Blog.
This is kind of a busy week around here - both in the blog world and in real life. A new tutorial is on the docket and some Fabric 101.  Also, my friend from Norway is coming this week.  I am binding her flag quilt and catching up on last week's SYTYCD.  I love how the quilt turned out. If I didn't love her so much, I might not part with it.

Also, I love summer. :) But I need more sleep. I'm trying to not be on the computer during the day while my kids are around, so I'm saving my computer stuff until after they've gone to bed. This is not a good system. Especially when the 4-year-old wakes up at 6:45 each morning. Saturday night we finally hung curtains over the blinds in his room and he slept in until 7:20 this morning. I'll take it! Every little bit helps.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Field Trip Friday: M & J Trimming, Manhattan

I was so grateful for the list of great suggestions of things to do in New York when I announced that I was going to there about a month ago.  One of the suggestions that came up a few times was M & J Trimming.  Little did I know that this is somewhat of a NY icon.  It's located on 6th Avenue between 37th and 38th, just up the street from Macy's Department Store.
If you need it, this place has got it! Holy smokes. That wall is just ribbon.
And here is the wall of Crystals.
Buttons anyone? And this was only a fraction of the button collection.
My pictures just don't do this place justice. Pretty much everything you need for weddings, crafting, making clothes, studs for your inner-motorcyle-babe wear, Renaissance Festival gown, you name it. You know that if this is where Martha Stewart comes to get her crafting supplies, it's got to be fabulous. 
You can order from their huge selection online at mjtrim.com
They also have a great blog at blog.mjtrim.com
Once again (as with Purl Soho) expect to pay New York City scale prices. (And why not? After all, they do cater to the likes of Martha.)  Coming from Utah, Land of Abundant (and often Cheap) Craft Supplies, I didn't buy much. But I couldn't walk away totally empty-handed and found these cute little trims.  Love those dapper little Scottie Dogs.

If you're going to the Fabric District in NY, M & J Trimming is totally worth the stop!  Next field trip: The Fabric District.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

A Quilt Story

Don't you love the stories behind quilts? They make them that much more meaningful.  If you haven't discovered the new blog, Quilt Story already, run (click) over there. There are some beautiful quilts to see with beautiful stories behind them. Today, they are featuring one of mine!

Fresh Poppy Design
If you've been around my blog for a while, this quilt will be a familiar one. 
It is probably one of my all-time favorites, and always will be.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hope Valley Bricks Quilt

Here is the finished Hope Valley Bricks quilt.
I'm ready to make another.  It was so quick and enjoyable. The colors are so different than what I have in my house, or what I'm normally drawn to (I'm much more of a primary colors type person) but I loved the way they all look together. I never would have thought I would.
Here is the back. This quilt was quilted by my coworker (and uber-talented person), Monica.
Which is why it got done so fast. :)
I don't consider myself a magenta person at all, but it felt so right for this quilt's binding.
I think it makes the whole quilt. Like I said, who knew I would get so excited about magenta and sour yellow-ish green (I'm sure there's a much cooler JCrew name out there for that color - the one with the polk-a-dots - like Celery Root or Pureed Asparagus.)
If you want to make a bricks quilt like this I found out there's a great tutorial at Randi's Road to Spring quilt-a-long.

The Shop Hop last week was fun.  Each of the store's picked a holiday/celebration as their theme. Our store's was Father's Day so I wore a white shirt with my 6-year-old's clip on tie.  I felt more like an Olive Garden waiter though.

The funniest part of the day: a gal (Hi Kim!!) comes in and says, "I'm here to meet Amy."  So I totally assume she's there to meet Amy McClellan, the store owner, and send her in that direction. (I'm the employee that makes everything confusing at AQ - anytime anyone asks for "Amy" on the phone or in person, it's pretty much always her they want, so I always defer.) Thirty seconds later, Kim comes back to me and says, "No! I'm here to meet YOU. I read your blog!"  I felt like such a dork (this is not an abnormal feeling for me, so I wasn't distressed) and after she gave me a noogie, we had a great chat. Kim, you are a hoot!  And get this! Kim's nice husband went WITH HER to a dozen or so quilt stores! What a man.

PS I'm linking up to last weeks Sew and Tell here! :)

Friday, June 18, 2010

Field Trip Friday: Purl Soho

One of my favorite stops on our recent trip to Manhattan was the new Purl Soho shop. Check out that front window alone. Does it get your creative juices flowing?? The pillows, the wool circle garland . . .
Purl was a knitting store opened in NY in 2002.  A few years later a fabric/quilting store was opened down the street called Purl Patchwork.  Just a few months ago both stores were combined into one larger location called Purl Soho. They also have a beautiful, inspiring blog called Purlbee as well as an online fabric store called Purlsoho.com.  I visited Purl Patchwork - a tiny little shop with gorgeous fabrics (and my favorite wall of Liberty prints in hoops) two years ago.  It wasn't until later that I found their blog.  I've since been inspired numerous times and was so excited to go back and see their new digs.
And here they are.  A gorgeous, light, open space with high ceilings and everything beautifully organized. I loved how uncluttered the store felt. (Rather different than shops in the Fabric District.)
Once again - not an overwhelming amount of fabric, but each bolt was well chosen.  A lot of great Japanese imports, whimsical Alexander Henry prints, and a collection of good basics. Look at the fabulous collection of Echino prints at the bottom.
LOVELY collection of prints by Liberty of London. The real stuff. (Like $35.00 a yard stuff - which I still can't bring myself to buy. But if anyone wants to give me some, I would cheerfully take it off their hands. *wink, wink*) So I didn't bring any home, but it was nice to just oogle it and pet it for a while.
One of my favorite quilts from Purl is their Color Wheel quilt. 
I want to make one of these one day.
This pretty bundle is a kit to make the Color Wheel quilt.
I also loved how the whole store was grouped like a color spectrum. 
So appealing to the eye. And soothing.
The whole shop felt so clean, organized and conducive to igniting that creative spark. 
 Some pretty non-color items as well.
Lot of great fabric collections pre-bundled to choose from. This one was my favorite. How I wanted to take those little spaceships home with me.

If you go, expect a NYC (i.e. higher) price scale on everything.  I didn't buy much (because I'm such a bargain fabric shopper) but I loved pretty much everything in the store.

The staff was really helpful and patient too. (I got a kick out of one girl patiently trying to explain to a customer why the lightweight, gauzy fabric she wanted wouldn't be the greatest choice to re-cover an ottoman. The poor associate was trying to be affirming of this customer's good taste in fabric, while helping her understand that some fabric is not made for furniture. The customer kept pleading, "yeah, but I love this one" as if the sales associate would just say, "Oh, okay. I'll just pull out my magic fabric wand and make that fabric into sturdy upholstery fabric, impervious to any wear and tear." In the end the customer decided she would just get double the amount of fabric and cover her ottoman in two layers - because quickly wearing out two layers of expensive gauze makes so much more sense. But hey- if you've got the cash, you can re-cover furniture - and re-cover again - in whatever you want!)

Anyway, visit Purl Soho - or at least the Purlbee blog - and I promise you will be inspired many times over.

Next week's field trip: M & J Trimming.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Working with Denyse Schmidt

More accurately, working with Denyse Schmidt fabric.  Mmm . .  Hope Valley.

This past weekend I took on a new project. I offered to make one more quilt (including kits) for the store where I occasionally work before the Shop Hop that starts today. Last year I was swamped and stressed trying to pull together the the Snippets Hexagon quilt and the Vintage Stars quilt and I vowed I would not pull that stunt again. But I did. Kind of.

Part of me thinks I was crazy - especially in light of the fact that on Sunday my life got handed a few more new responsibilities - and the other part of me has found this project very theraputic and pleasant.  It's been a really quick project to finish. And I got to finally sew with some of the Hope Valley collection. Lovely.
Here is a little sneak peak. I am working with the fabrics available at the store, obviously, and I threw in that sour yellow. I kind of love how it looks.  Every quilt needs a good zinger. 

Post edit: Augh! I forgot to mention that I can take no credit whatsoever for the design of this quilt. It was totally inspired by Jennifer's quilt that I found during the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  Love at first sight. I'm so happy to have made one myself now.  Thanks Jennifer, for the great inspiration!
And for those of you wondering what the heck this Wasatch Front Shop Hop is, it is a collection of quilt stores who get together to offer sales and other fun activities - kind of a big party all week.  (The Wasatch Mountains run north-to-south along the east side of the Salt Lake Valley - the cities that run along the west side of those mountains are called the Wasatch Front. Park City and other resorts are along the east side of those mountains - the Wasatch back. And there is your little Utah geography lesson today.) 

It starts today and goes through Saturday. I'll be working at American Quilting from 2:30 to 8:00 on Thursday - I probably won't bring the quilt or kits in until then - but if you're local and you're Shop-Hopping, come say Hi!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Flag Quilt Blocks

Well, I've made a little progress since then on my quilt.  
I really love each different flag block.
But a quilt emergency has arisen and three of my Union Jacks have been requisitioned for duty in a more pressing project.
A special friend of mine is coming to visit in a couple of weeks. She is from Norway.  We met each other when I lived in England and were roommates for about 5 months.  She is like a sister to me. I'm pretty sure we are somehow distantly related.  (I have a Norwegian Great-Grandfather, so I have some Viking blood in me somewhere.)  Julie is probably the closest friend at the greatest distance. She lived with me at the same time as my friend Sarah and she was the one who called to tell me of Sarah's passing.
And so I decided to make her a quilt!  Julie is 100% Norwegian - has lived in Oslo most of her life, but her parents were living in New Jersey for a short time when she was born, so she has dual citizenship.
Which means three different country's flags for her quilt. (It's nice that their colors all coordinate so well.) I finished piecing the top Friday night and dropped it off at the quilters.  I think it may be one of my favorite quilts ever and I need to make one for myself! I can't wait to see it finished.
And here are some in-progress photos.  One of the great things about this house is that there is a room in the basement for all my sewing mess. I used to sew in the family room at our old house and my projects were always all over the place = mess. But as nice as it is to have that space, I don't get nearly as much sewing done as I used to. Especially now that it's summer.  So, I've been temporarily relocating my machine to the kitchen table most days.  I get so much more accomplished in the hub of the action - because I can start and stop as the needs arise without having to go up and down stairs.  I'm trying to keep my mess contained to one project at a time - the rest in the basement - so things don't get out of control.
This also means I have entertaining things happening all around me while I sew. Like Light Sabers suddenly flashing in front of me.
Also, discovering that Omnigrid quilting rulers make really great monster truck ramps.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Field Trip Friday: Random Glimpses of New York

One of my favorite parts about summer is taking my kids on field trips to places we just don't have time to visit when we're on the school schedule like: museums, events in Salt Lake City, the mountains, exotic breakfast at Ikea, etc.  So I decided it would be fun this summer to take all of you blog friends on a field trip each Friday as well!  I have a bunch of great stuff to share.  This week I thought we'd look at some random glimpses of New York. 
I love the old art deco tile in the various subway stations.
Statue of George Washington at Federal Hall where he was first inaugurated President.
This was the first time I'd even stayed downtown in the financial district. (Our hotel was actually right by the World Trade Center site. Sadly no pictures, because there's really not much to see still.)  I liked seeing Wall Street (although part of my wanted to take some of those folks by the ear and put them in time out for an extended amount of time). I also thought Trinity church was really cool - this old church with centuries-old headstones right in the middle of downtown Manhattan.
Soho. I love the 19th century architecture and the revival of SoHo. Random cobblestone streets, wonderful buildings, and great shopping. This is the neighborhood where Purl Soho is located. That will be our field trip next Friday. (Are you excited??)
The Brooklyn Bridge.
Every time my husband has had to go to NY he's usually stuck in some hotel for a business convention in Times Square (which, frankly, is my least favorite part of NY).  So this trip I was determined to give him a good NY cultural experience.  We walked from our hotel to Battery Park, rode the Staten Island Ferry, walked through downtown to City Hall, and then walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to get pizza. It was quite the walk in the early summer humidity.
Afterward I was in dire need of one of these babies. Some Watermelon sorbet while we waited in line at Grimaldi's.
Check out the line waiting outside just to get in the restaurant - Grimaldi's pizza.
The interior was pretty sweet as well, with pictures of Frank Sinatra all over the walls and Queen's Greatest Hits playing loudly. 
There's my husband watching the Brooklyn-pizza-maestro's at work, getting some tips for his own Saturday night homemade pizza tradition.  It was quite the afternoon, but I think I succeeded in giving him a more favorable impression.