Showing posts with label new projects. Show all posts
Showing posts with label new projects. Show all posts

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Pretty new sewing space

I have always been sheepish about sharing pictures of my sewing space, mainly because it wasn't very pretty. (I tend to be kind of a messy sewer.) I have a spot in our basement where I keep my crapola stash and supplies, but I prefered to migrate my machine and whatever current project I was working on to the kitchen table so that I could be where the action was. It was never a pretty sight and clearing the table every night so we could eat, resulted in a pile of my stuff on the floor next to the kitchen table. Not a good look. And frequently my children's friends would comment to my kids that their mom sure sewed A LOT.
This past fall I had one of those clever "a-hah" moments - which tend to be rare, so it was especially exciting. Our house happens to have a dining room open off the front room, which is the one room I try to keep tidy. A dining room was nice in theory, but we rarely use it for dining - even when we have people over. The only thing I consistently used that room for was photography, since it has two windows that face south and west with the best light in our house.

So my "a-hah" moment came when I finally realized that we could hang doors between the front room and the dining room (creating the ability to close-off the back room and thereby, hide my messes) and I could move my sewing machine in there. It has been fantastic! I'm right off the kitchen so I'm still where the action is, but it's so nice to have a place to keep the machine set up, and to not have to re-clear the kitchen table every night. (I know what some of you are thinking, "Duh! What took you so long?!")
We also did some painting before we made all the switcheroo and hauling fabric into the dining room. Our walls were a really brown-ish taupe and ready for an update. We ended up painting them blue and it is SO pretty and refreshing. It took me forever to pick the paint and then, I'll admit, a little while longer to feel at peace about the shade of blue. (Sherwin-Williams Tidewater) I am the WORST about making those kind of decisions.
One other thing happened to spur me on to finally just make a commitment and paint. We had a leak in the bathroom above our front room which resulted in water dripping through the front-room ceiling. Which, ironically started happening the day I was leaving to teach at the Riley Blake fabric fest in Las Vegas. Of course. Ugh. I had no choice but to walk out the door to catch my flight with water dripping through a hole in my ceiling! (Ahh, such a glamorous life...) The one good thing about having to rip out part of your ceiling and repair it, is that it forces you to finally make a decision about paint...
So, three cheers for a fresh paint job and a simple fix like hanging some doors so that I could shut off this room and make it a usable space. We kept the refurbished china hutch in the room as it provides good storage and the table in the room so that things can be easily cleared and the room could be used for actual dining, if needed. But it's sure getting a lot more use now and not just with my sewing. I put the kids craft supplies in another corner in the room opposite the china cabinet (not pretty at the moment, therefore, not photographed) and I love it when they come in and sit at the table while I sew and work on Perler beads or homework and doing things like sing songs from the Frozen soundtrack. I also LOVE having my design wall right next to my machine! It's so handy.
To increase storage, I added an Ikea Hemnes Dresser which looks pretty and can hold projects while I'm working on them, helping to decrease the clutter. I love it! (And I'm proud to say, I even assembled it myself one weekend while my husband was out of town. Thank you.) Finishing the modern colorwheel dresden wall hanging was the perfect finish for this room. I'm so excited about how things turned out! Plus, it's fun to have a pretty place to set up Big Bertha (the Bernina 710) and give her the space she needs.
I'd like to make a few more mini's to hang on the walls. Right now I just have this little scrap-bag mini. Here's a close up. (This scrappy little mini-quilt project is in the latest issue of Fat Quarterly online magazine - issue 16.)

I may take forever to finally get there, but it sure feels good to get this far. Now on to the rest of the house...could someone please come hold my hand and help me make decisions? Hopefully without a leaky upstairs bathroom to finally get me to take action.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Scrappy Trip Along progress and New Olfa Splash

Over the past few months I've been working on a lot of projects with deadlines. I finally wrapped many of them up and it has been so nice to do some "just-for-fun" sewing. I pulled out my Scrappy Trip-Along blocks that I started last January. They got put on the back-burner and it was fun to see again. I've worked on a few each day and my number is growing.
Here's the progress as it stands right now. I'm using lots of my very favorite fabrics - the kind you hoard for "just the right project" but I'm not 100% smitten. I'm trying to figure out why.  I added some brown to the mix and I think it's given a little more depth. I'm going to keep playing with it. I know I will LIKE however it turns out, but I kind of want to LOVE it. The original tutorial for Scrappy Trips Around the World is here. I warn you: it is addicting in the funnest kind of way.
I'm also trying to catch up on my final outstanding (as in over-due) bee block for Calli. It's a paper-pieced Double Wedding Ring quilt. This one is going to stretch me a little, but if I can conquer it, I may have found a new project I want to try! That is what I love about Bees. I still need to make my Block #7 from the Virtual Quilting Bee!
As I'm working on these rotary-cutter heavy projects, I am loving using the new Splash rotary cutter by Olfa. This is their brand new model of the mid-size (45mm) rotary cutter. I am a die-hard Olfa rotary cutter user. I have been using them as long as I've been quilting and I think they are the most sturdy and stable. Any time I've tried a different brand of rotary cutters I've been disappointed or frustrated or just plain irritated.
So when the nice people at Olfa contacted me about sending one of these new Splash cutters to try out my answer was a "yes please!" I am hooked. This cutter is more ergonomic (easier on your hands), lighter-weight (but just as sturdy) and the clincher is the much-improved mechanism for changing the blade. You just slid the yellow doohickey on the back down and the blade is ready to pop off, change and put back in place. So much slicker than that knob and washer-thingy that have to be put back just-so. And, it's turquoise so points for color too. And on top of all that: it's cheaper than the old 45mm version. Kind of a no-brainer.
Other than sending me the rotary cutter, Olfa did not compensate me in any way for this review (though I wouldn't turn down a life-time supply of blades if they offered it) - all the thoughts and opinions are my own. But they did send a second rotary cutter to share with a friend. So if you'd like a new Splash rotary cutter of your own, leave a comment on this post. Open until Sunday, June 9 at midnight MST. GIVEAWAY CLOSED.

Winner: ✾Jamie Lee Cooley✾June 6, 2013 at 6:11 AM
Your scrappy trip is looking good! I'd love to try the cutter...I can never remember which way the washer goes whenever I remove it to change the blade!

Now back to my sewing in random, snatched moments between slip-n-slides and handing out popsicles.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Exciting news!

I am so excited to be able to finally be able to divulge some happy news I've had to keep on the down low for while now.  Moda Bake Shop has a new book coming out fall of 2012, compiled by Lissa Alexander called, Sweet Celebrations, and I am a contributor!
This book is a compilation of dozens of projects - more than just quilts - to get you creating for your own family celebrations.  I have a few projects in the book, including a little Valentine's wall hanging. 
A Father's Day wall quilt.
And this one is my favorite - my Gratitude quilt. It's a quilt commemorating the things, places, and people that I am most grateful for.  We'll have to wait until this fall for the full reveal, but I'm so happy with how it turned out. It was so exciting to be invited to contribute to such a fun book, but to get to create something so personally meaningful was extra gratifying. 


I shipped these projects off last fall and last week is the first time I got to see a sneak peak of these images from the book.  They are so gorgeous! I can't wait to see the whole thing.


Thanks for letting me share my happy news. You have always been such supportive and encouraging friends. I'm sure that I would not have had this opportunity were it not for your support of this blog. So clearly I need to have a "my blog peeps" block on that gratitude quilt. Thank you!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Another new project: Sarah Jane Family Tree

Well, I've done it again. Started another new project.  It seemed in December and January I did a really good job of finishing projects.  Hence a lot of posts with finished quilts, etc.  Lately it's all been about starting something new. Sorry for so many posts of random piles of fabric or blocks.  Hopefully the pretty colors and fabric will distract you.
We're going to have some good car time this weekend - which is also some of my favorite time to just sit and sew, guilt free.  So I needed to come up with a project to work on.  As I've been sorting and cleaning out my sewing stuff, I found this Sarah Jane Family Tree panel and decided this was it.  I fell in love with the panel again as I realized the children in the panel so perfectly represent my own kiddos. I've got an oldest brunette daughter, next a fair-haired sister, then two boys - one dark and the youngest a blondie. Seems this drawing was made just for us.

I put together one for Sarah Jane's booth at Market last spring and she kindly gave me one to make for myself and it just got added to the never-ending 'someday list'.  Well today is that day. I'm going to work on stitching the names while we drive.  I'm planning to make more of a pieced border for mine. So I went through my fabrics and picked out prints and colors that reminded me of my kids. Including some scraps and pieces of novelty prints that I've been hoarding saving for just the right project. Well, this is it. I'm excited to see it come together.
In my snatches of spare time I've been cutting 2 1/2" squares to make a pieced border for the panel. While I was at it I just kept cutting more so I can use them for granny squares or for mini hexagons.  One can never be over-prepared when it comes to 2 1/2" squares, it seems.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Weekend Sewing

Progress on my bright, scrappy blocks. They are big blocks - 12" each. I used Leigh's tutorial as my inspiration and just made the blocks bigger. This project is so not high on my priority list right now, but it's the one I keep wanting to work on!

This was one of those rare and lovely weekends when we didn't have a national holiday, a birthday, sporting events, sinus surgery, extended family event, house guests, yard work, or any other major commitment. Can I tell you how much I enjoyed it?  I should have been cleaning out and organizing my basement, but the fabric scraps that exploded all over my sewing table kept calling my name.  (To my credit I did spend 45 minutes dismantling and unclogging the large blockage in my vacuum cleaner, so I should get points for that at least. I'll spare you the pictures of that 'creative' endeavor.)
Saturday was one of those afternoons here where the kids built forts and played "orphans" with the neighbors for hours. (Why do kids love pretending they are orphans?)  My sewing space is right off the room where they were playing so I loved feeling like I was close by but able to get a lot of sewing done at the same time. Very rare, but very awesome. I wish every Saturday could be like that! (Especially when I end the day gorging myself on sushi with my husband. Talk about a perfect day.)
I worked on getting caught up on some of my blocks from Jackie's free online Block of the Month. There are four blocks so far with a new one on Wednesday and next month one from yours truly. 
Some of the sewing was even practical: new baby burp clothes for a baby gift, made with the worlds' easiest burp cloth tutorial
Finally (one more gratuitous fabric shot) I've finally picked a palette for my Swoon-a-long quilt. Which, yes, has not even been started. But this is progress. And let's face it, probably a long term project. Nevertheless, I'm still enjoying the Swoon-y inspiration going on right now.

I was having a hard time deciding what colors and fabrics to use for this quilt. I swore up and down, no new fabric - it ALL had to come from the stash.  Then I went to JoAnn to buy a new rotary cutter during a 50% off sale and happened to walk past the Denyse Schmidt fabric (which also happened to be on sale). I didn't realize she had a new collection, Daisy Mae.  Some really COOL prints and colors - that's where the greens and the red at the top came from. Seeing those colors totally inspired me for this quilt. The rest are from the stash. Sadly, (or maybe fortunately for me), the fabric quality is not nearly as good on this collection (and yet the price is the same). As a result, I did not buy very much. Unfortunate, since there are some really cool prints.

So anyway, thank you 'boring' Saturday afternoon for your generous donation of productive time. I hope you had some weekend time to sew, or play 'orphans', or clean out your vacuum cleaner too.  This is when I like January.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Scraptastic - new life for my fabric scraps

Progress using my American Jane scraps (previously seen here) on my design wall. Totally digging it. I'm using a white linen blend I unearthed in my stash, instead of my old standby Kona Snow. Look at me branching out.
After Christmas I was asked to help teach a scrap-busting class at American Quilting in March.  (Wanna come? It's on March 15. Schedule here.) Because, as you know, we quilters can not let any fabric scrap larger than 1/2" square go to waste. It would be like abandoning puppies in the desert.

Planning for that class has been a huge motivator to do something I've needed to do for far too long: sort my scraps AND actually make something with them. These American Jane scraps are leftovers from a bunch of projects. Some were already sewn in rows from this quilt and this quilt. I love giving them new life - and freeing them from their captivity in a box in the closet.
Here's another new WIP (work-in-progress) using leftover scraps from the Amy Butler lattice quilt from last spring along with other assorted random brights. I have a vague idea what I'm planning to do with these assembled strips, but I'm still curious to see how it actually materializes . . .
For lo these many years, I have mostly been keeping my scraps sorted by collection and scattered about my fabric stash. And frankly, they've been hard to find, they act awkward around the bigger pieces of yardage, and I tend to forget that I even have them. (Reminds me of Junior High.) Reading Jodi's Organizing Scraps post was perfect for me. She simply sorts ALL her scraps by color. I know I've heard this other times and other places, but for some reason this time it finally clicked. NOW was the time to seize my scraps once and for all, free them from the bondage of their pre-assigned collections, and assemble them all in one, easy to find location, purely by color. I can't tell you how liberating this was for me. Next step is to do the same thing with ALL my fabric. (And for further permission to do the same thing, read AmandaJean's post on the topic.)
My method is not fancy.  I went and bought some of those clear, plastic drawer sets (that are handily on sale this time of year) and just started sorting by color.  Now everything is so easy to find and I am so much more inspired to USE them. Seriously, what took me so long?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A birthday, scraps, and new projects

We had a birthday celebration this past weekend, so I decided it was time to finally put together that Delighted bunting to make the place look festive now that all the Christmas decor is down.  (This pennant pannel is still available here.) It looks so cheery compared to how bleak everything looks outside.
And with said birthday celebration, I have started a new epoch of my life: mother of a teenager.  Thirteen years ago my life changed forever with the birth of this baby girl.  That period of time has been full of more drama, cuteness, hysterics, laughs, sleep deprivation, and bodily fluids than I ever thought possible, but I can't imagine my life with out these kiddos.  I'm pretty sure that the next 14 years of teenagehood at our house to be another wild ride full of other unimaginable emotions and experiences.  I have a feeling I'll earn my share of gray hairs in that time, but once again I'll be richer for it. (As well as even more batty than I am now.)
This early January birthday always marks the conclusion of our Holiday festivities, and I must say, I'm kind of happy to return to 'normal' (whatever that is.) I'm in the process of getting ready to move my sewing space. (Yikes.) This could be an epic event, but I'm excited for the chance to really go through everything and organize and purge at the same time. My hope is to have a more stream-lined, organized space that I'm not embarrased for other human beings to see.  As I result, I've started organizing my scraps with motivation from Jodi's Scraps-along help. 
In the mean time I've started a bunch of new projects and joined a Swoon-along. A little bit over-enthusiastic? Probably so. But so far, I like it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Christmas Pennants

Here is a teaser picture of the progress I've made on the quilt I stayed up to cut on Thanksgiving.  I cut up my scraps from last year's retro Christmas quilt + some Kona green (Palm and Holly) that I got on a sweet clearance deal last year. I am loving it.  I'm hoping to finish it this week and I will reveal the whole thing.
While cutting the triangles for the quilt (we used the Accuquilt Go Cutter) my sister helped me cut the rest of the retro fabric remnants in to Christmas pennants.
Throw in some red bias tape and a cute, quick Christmas banner perfect for Decking the Halls.
We have a few sets left over and they are now listed in the Etsy shop.
Bad news. They are gone. So sorry. 

The good news is: I'll be back Monday to participate in Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day.  
Whoops! Just kidding! Next Monday for SMS. But I still have a little giveaway Monday. :)
Also, the winners of the Stitch Craft Create magazine giveaway have been posted. 
Hope all you are enjoying some holiday cheer where you are.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Navy and Green Crib Quilt + pattern

I started this quilt a few months ago. I finished the quilt a while ago, but haven't blogged about it until I finished the pattern as well.  Pattern writing just seems to take a while for me. I think because regular life takes precedence. But the day has finally come so I'm finally ready to share the quilt too!
This quilt is for another cute little nephew.  His room is navy and green so I started pulling all the navy, blue, and green fabrics from my stash collection and then I stared at them for a while, trying to decide on the perfect design. It took me way too long to decide what to make, but I think it was worth it in the end. I was so happy with the finished result!  It was so much fun to work with this color palette. Kind of prep-school classic.  I have a thing for Navy blue - always looks sharp.
I am doubly proud of this one because I actually quilted the whole thing myself as well.  I put a green check (the one in the triangle on the bottom right) on the back.  I'm happy to report that the quilt was lovingly received. And now, I want to make another one to keep. ;)


The pattern is now available in my pattern shop and from Etsy. The pattern comes with instructions for the crib size like I made or a Twin size version. (I know there are a few of you who have been waiting for me to finish. Thanks so much for your patience.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

Red, Pink & Aqua Fabric Hoops

Finally a finished project. (Thanks for enduring the many pictures of unfinished/works-in-progress over the past couple of weeks.) I was happy to finally hang the fabric hoops for my daughter's room and quite pleased with the final outcome.

There has been a big empty space over the bed for the past two years. I've intended to make a quilt to go there for some time, but haven't got around to it. Just this spring I finally realized I could do more hoops (like the hoops in my sewing room)! Duh - I don't know why that idea took me so long.  And with Sarah Jane's Children at Play fabric collection coming out, it was a no-brainer what fabrics we should include -especially since we already have one of her prints hanging on the wall.
I've shared pictures of my daughter's room and quilt in the past as well as the wonderful vintage curtains (they belonged to Grandma as a little girl!). This summer we added a white Jenny Lind bed that ties things together a bit better. (Keeping-it-Real-full-disclosure: This room does not always look like this.  For this picture I cleared the night stand, kicked shoes out of the way, wiped the wall, and re-made the bed leaving off the 2 purple unicorn stuffed animals, teddy bear, and additional blankets. Only for photographing purposes, then everything went back in its 'proper' place.) Here's how we made the pom-poms above the bed.
This is the pillow I made from Children at Play for Market last Spring. It has since been to a trade show in Belgium and back. It's a very well-traveled pillow - better than me. I hope it got to sample some waffles.
Four of the prints are from Children at Play (pinwheels, parade, dresses and the little girl with the flowers).  [Each of these Children at Play prints can be found at The Quilting Garden. C@ P fabrics also available here, here, and here.] The rest of the fabrics came from my stash and from left over scraps from making the quilt on the bed. All of the florals and damasks are from Tanya Whelan collections a couple of years back except the red floral at the bottom, which is from Lecien's Flower Sugar.
The patch-work-y print is from Lecien's Old New collection. I can't find the selvage from the red toadstools, but it's a Japanese import. (If/When I find it, I will update here.) And Little Red Riding Hood is from Aneela Hoey's next collection, Walk in the Woods. It's pretty darn cute (I got a sneaky-peak!) and should hit stores by spring.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Finished Strawberry Fields Quilt #2

This weekend I finished a quilt that has been in progress for a while now. And I'm SO happy with the final results.  I was going for a really vintage, faded, Cath-Kidston-y look. And I think it worked.  All thanks entirely to the fabrics.
This is my second quilt made with the Strawberry Fields collection designed by Jan Figueroa for Moda. Usually I like to throw prints from other fabric collections together and mix them up a little, but since I loved every print in this collection, I figured why mess with a look I already love?
The first Strawberry Fields quilt was the Easy Bricks quilt made for Moda Bake Shop. I used 2 Layer Cakes (collections of 10" squares) to create both quilts. For the Bricks quilt I used more of the saturated colors to contrast with the white fabric.  This one I used all the light prints and the remaining brights to create a more washed out color palette. Both quilts were machine quilted by my friend, Meridee.
I usually go for bolder binding fabrics to really frame the quilt, but this quilt called for something more subtle that looked old and classic, so I went with the bias blue gingham. Does it get more classic than bias blue gingham? I'm not sure. I think one of the reasons I love the way this one turned out is because it looks like something Anne Shirley would have on her bed. But then again, it's maybe a little too froofy for Marilla's more sensible taste.
And here's a literal "behind the scenes" shot.  I took these pictures last night at my mom's house before a family barbecue.  My husband rarely has the privilege to hold my quilts for pictures, so I thought I'd give him this awesome opportunity. This may even be his debut on the blog. (At least in a photograph. He did write an awesome guest tutorial in June.) Isn't he doing a great job?  Look at how straight those arms are. And that's after a 7-hour hike with our 7-yr-old. What an iron man. Way to go, honey.

This quilt was made using my Hour Glass Quilt pattern (only I eliminated 6 blocks - one row- to make it a little smaller and to use the number of 10" squares that I had. And I made the inside border slightly wider.) If you're looking for Strawberry Fields fabric you can find it at Shabby Fabrics & Fresh Squeezed Fabrics.