Saturday, August 31, 2013

Eye Candy + Instagram

Things are settling into a little more of rhythm here and I am full-steam-ahead working on my preparations for Riley Blake's upcoming Fabric Fest and then the Sewing Summit the week after that! It's going to be a crazy month. A lot of work to get there, but a lot of fun once I arrive. I hope!
Fortunately the preparations are pretty fun too. (Other than preparing what I'm actually going to say. That part = stressful. Eek.)
But the sewing and cutting-up-fabric part is super fun! Especially after not doing a lot of sewing the past few weeks/months. It feels fun to be spending more quality time with my machine and even my rotary cutter again.
These lovelies are Riley Blake solids. They make such pretty eye candy.
One of the classes I'm teaching is about Modern Quilting and I want to talk about improv quilting. So I am finally assembling some improv Bee swap blocks from 2010. (When I looked up when that bee was I was kind of shocked that is was that long ago.) Well, it's good that they're finally seeing the light of day!
And finally, speaking of eye candy, check out these pretties from Aurifil thread and the Fat Quarter Shop. This collection is called The Binding Box and it contains a variety of colors to have on hand to match most bindings.
I am a huge fan of Aurifil thread. I buy it buy the cone in basic neutrals and use the 50 wt for all my piecing. Those cones last for.ever. I also love the 50 wt because piecing comes together so nicely and because you can get a lot of thread on a bobbin! So when the Fat Quarter Shop offered to let me sample their new Binding Box collection I was ecstatic to have colored Aurifil thread to play with too!
And finally, if you're looking for insta-quilty-eye candy on your mobile device, I am on Instagram @diaryofaquilter. I've been lurking on instagram for a while - I like my own quick-fix on other people's eye candy too - but my private life and my public quilting world were colliding and making each other uncomfortable. So I finally bit the bullet and created a separate account. Now I am free to post all kinds of fabric-y fun, without embarrassing my children, and my extended family and neighbors thinking I am a total weirdo. If you're an Instagram-junkie too, let me know where to find you!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

$50 Gift Certificate Giveaway from Southern Fabrics

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Today we have an awesome giveaway from blog sponsor, Southern Fabrics. Southern Fabrics is an online fabric shop located in Georgia and happily shipping all over the world. They specialize in the latest from Free Spirit, Moda, Riley Blake (a great selection of the RB Chevrons) and Westminster (including some classic Amy Butler prints).

Some new arrivals at Southern Fabrics include Highstreet, Midwinter Reds precuts, Boo Crew precuts and yardage, and one of my recent favorites, Simply Style. So many good basics in that line.
Southern Fabrics also has some great collections on sale, with precuts and yardage still available such as Noteworthy, Cuzco, Lark, and Marmalade - a super popular collection that is getting pretty scarce.

To keep current on Southern Fabrics latest arrivals and sales, I highly suggest you follow them on Facebook, the Southern Fabrics blog, or twitter

Today Aubrey of Southern Fabrics is giving away a $50 gift certificate (holey moley) to one of you readers. Leave a comment telling me something you'd buy from Southern Fabrics with that moola. Giveaway open until Saturday, August 31 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

Winner: Cindy said...
I would order simply style! Thanks

Thank you to all of you for supporting these awesome sponsors. I'm very choosy about who I accept as sponsor's of this blog. I know from personal experience that selling fabric is not always as glamorous as it sounds. It's a lot of work for not a huge financial windfall and I'm so grateful to these independent businesses for supplying our fabric addictions needs. In turn, I am so grateful for the support of these sponsors so that I can justify the many hours spent sharing here. Huge thank you's all around!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Vintage-Sheet inspired quilt finished!

First of all, thank you so much for the sweet comments and encouragement on my post last week. That meant so much. I'm always a little leery of sharing TMI, but at the same time finding the balance of keeping it real. That's a tricky thing for me.
Second of all, I finished binding one of the quilts! I started this quilt ages ago. Well, it feels that way at least. The fabric in this quilt is from a collection for Moda called Dream On by the Urban Chicks. The collection was inspired by vintage sheets (something I really love). It came out I want to say 4 years ago (was it really that long ago?) and I gradually collected bits and pieces because I liked it so much.
It took me a while before I finally decided what to do with the collection - I chose my Double Crossed pattern because I really liked how the green solid (I think it's Kona Green Grass) contrasted with the busy floral patterns.
Lest anyone out there think that I am constantly cranking out a quilt - because I know it can tend to seem that way in blogland - let this quilt be a good example of the reality behind the scenes.  Fabric purchased 3-4 years ago; finally started cutting into it 1.5 years ago; started piecing blocks last summer; finished piecing blocks at a retreat in February; finally sewed all the blocks together at the beginning of the summer, then it still took me 2 months to add the borders and choose a back; had someone else do the quilting last week. And voila. It is finally done.
The back for this one is a vintage sheet I found at a thrift store a few years ago. I knew I wanted a vintage sheet for the back and it took me a while to find just the right one. I've actually cut up most of the one's I have. Fortunately I'd preserved this one because I liked it so much and it turned out to be a good match. Plus, it was just the right size! And it was so nice not to have to piece a back.
The quilting is a simple all-over meader-loop pattern by Melissa of Sew Shabby quilting. Perfect for the really busy prints.
It's such a cheerful, summery quilt. Feels so good to even have it done before the end of summer! Bonus.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee Block #13

It's that time again (man, this is going fast!) Another Virtual Quilting Bee block. This block is so cool, with two variations that give it a completely different look. The design and tutorial are by Brooke Johnson of the blog Pitter Putter Stitch. When you click over to the tutorial, you have to stay and check out Brooke's quilts. She is amazing!


As always, for more details and links to past block tutorials, checkout the Virtual Quilting Bee here.

Blocks 1-12 for the Virtual Quilting Bee
Check out these pretty blocks by Bekself on flickr. I just love seeing the variety of blocks that everyone comes up with!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Doing what matters most

I had intended to write a blog post days ago. But with summer ending, school starting, a husband having knee surgery - I haven't even touched the computer for a few days. We went away last week for a family trip and last hurrah of summer vacation. As always, it was good to get away and hang out together. We're at a pretty awesome stage with our kids right now where they all like going on road trips all together. We're milking it.
We liked Yellowstone so much last year, we decided to head that direction again. We stayed a few days in south-eastern Idaho first. It was absolutely beautiful - in a big-sky-western kind of way.
There was also a nice balance of kitsch to go with the scenery. I mean, who doesn't want their own giant Teddy-Bear sofa?
And inside Yellowstone, the scenery is incredible. Driving through the beautiful surroundings felt so therapeutic for me.
I worked on some more orange peel blocks on our drive. I started this project on our summer family vacation 2 years ago! Perhaps one day I will have enough and actually put them together in a quilt.

This summer has been a busy one, and a somewhat more tiring one than usual. I have one of those thyroid glands that does not work as well as it should. For the past 15+ years I have taken synthetic thyroid medication to compensate, and for the most part it has done a good job. I tried a different medication this spring and it threw my body out of whack. I had to go off everything all together for a few weeks so we could retest my levels, and then have been gradually building those levels back up to 'normal'. As a result I was frequently physically exhausted for most of the summer. I'm happy to report that I'm feeling tons better now. Yay for that.
Another perennial road-trip project: mini hexagons
On top of that, I was asked to take on a busy responsibility in my congregation at church. (Our faith has no paid ministry - all congregations are staffed by volunteers only, with leadership and service responsibilities rotating among the members.) This time it's my turn. I enjoy it because I get to work with all the women in our congregation, particularly those who might be going through a hard time. It's not something I asked for, and it's demanding on my time, but I enjoy it because I love these sweet women.
Can you see the hexagons I was working on in the car, reflected in the window?
So summer has felt physically and emotionally taxing this year - even more so that usual. There are many emails that I didn't respond to (my humblest apologies if you're one of them), I never did my summer closet clean-outs, I did far less sewing, my sewing room is a disaster, we had fewer trips to the pool, etc.; but I keep reminding myself that I did do things that mattered in the bigger scheme of things: visiting hospitals, taking care of extra children, doing things with my kids. What mattered most got done. And it was great. I'm glad for that perspective.
And now school is back in session. I have a lot of catching-up to do, and classes to prepare for this fall. I haven't touched my machine for weeks, but I just picked up these two quilts from the quilter. I think some binding sounds equally therapeutic right now. And then: something fun and finished to share.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Koi fabric giveaway from Honey Be Good

I'm so excited - today I have an amazing giveaway from online fabric shop, Honey Be Good.
Honey Be Good specializes in carrying only organically grown cotton or hemp fabric, including flannels, voiles, canvas and knits. And in recent years there are so many beautiful fabrics to choose from that are organic cottons! Karen carries collections from Daisy Janie, Cloud 9, and Monaluna (including the gorgeous Raaga collection pictured above.)

Honey Be Good also carries collections by Moda, Riley Blake, and Robert Kaufman, including organic Kona solids! You can also find bundles and pre-cuts in many of the collections. 
One of my favorite recent organic collections is Koi , Rashida Coleman-Hale's latest collection for Cloud 9. The colors and prints in this collection are so beautiful. Honey Be Good carries Koi in quilters'-weight poplin as well as three of the prints in voile!
And today, Karen of Honey Be Good has TWO Koi giveaways: First is a fat quarter bundle of the 13 poplin prints and second is a full yard bundle of the three voile prints!! Those are both valuable prizes! To enter to win either prize, take a quick visit to Honey Be Good, pick out something that you love, then come back here and leave a comment sharing what you've found. One comment per person. Giveaway open until Wednesday, August 21 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED

Winners:

Chelsie CAugust 17, 2013 at 7:42 AM
I love the willow line, especially the herringbone prints! Thanks for an awesome giveaway :)

Om! I'm soooo in love with Saffron Craig's prints! so very gorgeous! tks fr the chance, xx

To see pretty pictures of the latest arrivals, follow the Honey Be Good blog. You can also follow Honey Be Good on Facebook  and Twitter to keep up on all the sales and latest arrivals. Thank you, Karen!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Summer is winding down

We are officially down to less than a week before school starts here. And as a result, we are trying to make the most of that limited time. I feel so incredibly behind on many things: projects, emails, life in general...but don't want to waste the end of summer, so those things will have to wait a little while longer. 

There will be time to catch-up later. If I ever catch-up. This summer has been a doozy.
I did however, start cutting into my Pot Luck fat quarters (combined with the rest of my American Jane hoard collection) to make some Dresden blocks. I figured I could take them with me and do the applique part on some car trips. Until I realized I had cut the background blocks 3" too small. D'oh! Ahh, summer. The season when my brain officially turns to mush.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Fabric + Vintage Treasures

I recently discovered a wonderful newish shop in not far from where I live. It's full of all kinds of fun treasures from fabric to vintage glassware, buttons, etc. Pretty much right up my ally, eh? So much pretty, all in one place. I love pictures of inspiring spaces, so I thought I'd snap a few to share here.
The shop is called Harmony and is located in an beautifully preserved, 130 yr-old home in downtown Provo, Utah.
There is a gorgeous and well-currated collection of fabric. Not huge selection, but it's well chosen with unique prints and includes voiles, corduroys, and oil-cloth.
They also carry a beautiful selection of quality yarn.
Vintage Trims
 More vintage goodies
 A drawer full of Washi Tape.
And a bench for a patient little kid. Don't let him fool you. This cooperation was purchased at a price: the promise of a donut at the Provo Bakery around the corner. I am not above bribes. (Plus, I'm always up for a good excuse for one myself.) It's hard to get any better than pretty fabric shops followed by fresh donuts.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Virtual Quilting Bee Block #12

Today we have the tutorial for Block #12 of the Virtual Quilting Bee. This tutorial is by Katie Blakesley of the blog Swim Bike Quilt.



If you're new to the Virtual Quilting Bee click here for all the details as well as links to block tutorials, fabric requirements, and introduction to quilting tutorials. 

Blocks 1-11
I always love checking out the the other blocks in the VQB Flickr Group. Here's another variation on the monochromatic theme by Craftyfesta1. Aren't they great?

http://swimbikequilt.com/2013/07/100-quilts-for-kids-charity-quilt-drive-starts-today.html
And finally, if you're looking for a great cause, when you are visiting Katie for today's tutorial, be sure to check out the 100 Quilts for Kids charity drive. I love Katie's commitment to charitable sewing and to motivating the rest of us to do the same. This campaign is all about making and donating a quilt for children in your local community. And when you do so, you can share your contribution on Katie's blog and be eligible to win an amazing prize. That's about as win-win as it gets!!