Thursday, June 30, 2011

Combo Posts

I feel like I'm always writing combo posts, about several different things all at once instead of giving each topic it's own post; but whatcha gonna do {shrugs} things happen in multiples around here.

So, here is another Combo Post for all of you.

I received my pillow in the mail yesterday from Jamie (maricopafabrics) as part of the Pillow Talk Swap, it's perfect and exactly what I asked for, SCRAPPY...Isn't it a beauty?  Thanks Jamie!!!

While we are talking about swaps, I finished up my large item for the Spicing Up the Kitchen Swap, it's a table runner and will be mailed tomorrow.
Finally,  I took a few well-needed days off of work this week and my Sister and I headed to an antique mall in St. Mary's, Missouri today.  It's a little over an hour away from my home; but is ginormous and worth the drive. 
My Sister had found a few things right away.  I on the other hand while always swooning over old books, glass jars and antique furniture; wasn't gravitating towards anything in particular this trip.  About 1/2 way through, we came across a booth that had about 6 small tubs of fabric in it.  I rummaged through the 1970s polyester, sinfully-poor quality calicos, handful of velvets and corduroys to find this.
Four whole yards (one large piece) of Amy Butler Fabric from her Charm collection.  I must have flipped it over 10 times in my hand not really believing what I had found.  Now, let me be frank here.  I had never heard of this collection nor seen this fabric before; but as soon as I saw the name Amy Butler and FreeSpirit I knew that I had found something worthwhile.  Here's the kicker of it all, the price.  $3.50 for the entire thing...four freakin' yards. 
This is the end of my Combo Post for today, I hope you've enjoyed this little recap...oh, and I wrote a guest post over on Robert Kaufman's blog: The Swatch and Stitch, to celebrate what the STLMQG accomplished as part of our 1st sewing challenge.
Have a great 4th of July! and let those flags wave high.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Modern Day Quilts

I got an email the other night, completely unexpected and out of the blue; but it was cause for a mini-celebration and if I was the type to do a little dance (believe me, I'm sooo totally not); but let's pretend that I was... I would have broke out in dance right in the middle of my kitchen.
So, what's all the hooting about. Well, this......

If you head on over to Modern Day Quilts, you'll find my Solids-Only Challenge Quilt hanging out with all the cool kids. I know, right, so totally awesome! 

Here's my earlier blog post about the quilt.

Go check out my quilt and all the other loveliness from other modern quilters around the world.

And for those of you visiting my blog for the first time,
WELCOME!!!  I hope you'll stay and look around for a little while.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pillow Talk Swap (Round 5) Finished

The 5th Round of Pillow Talk {Swap} is due July 1st, which is a quicker then usual turnaround; but that didn't stop me from participating anyway.  The nice thing about making pillows, is that they are small in size; but have all the characteristics of a full-size quilt.  I like pillows and this swap in particular; because I can challenge myself without being overwhelmed. 

My Secret Partner created a wonderful mosaic of things that she liked and after studying it for a few days, I referenced one of my trusty vintage quilt books filled with block ideas and instantly found what I was going to make, aptly named "Friendship Star". 

What I didn't do was pay attention to the fact that it was an Advanced block with a lot of intricate Set-In Seams.  After I selected my fabric, and had cut everything out, that's when it really hit me. 

Let me pause for a brief second here...
Three-Fourths of the blocks had to be cut by hand/scissors as they were an unusual shape and I didn't want to waste any fabric; therefore I butted the templates next to one another.  It sure made me realize how dedicated quilters must have been before the invention of the Rotary Cutter.  So Thank You!!!  Rotary Cutter Inventory, whomever you are.

Don't know what a Set-In Seam is?  See the photo below.  The Set-In Seam part is that V-Shape where the Grey square meets the yellow and green fabrics.

The above is the first Sew-In Seam I did, as you can tell, it's not perfect, I'm actually a little shy at the top.

Essentially what you have to do (in my example above) is sew that grey square to the yellow, then rotate the grey square and sew it to the green.  It's hard to explain; but I imagine there are tutorials out there.  It took a little bit to get the hang of it; but eventually I did and it started going semi-smoothly.  There were a few hiccups along the way; but there always are.

It took a couple of hours to finish piecing the below 14" block; but I think it was well worth the effort. 

I quilted it this afternoon and then finished the pillow with a machine binding.  It's my 2nd time doing a machine binding, and while there is nothing like a hand-sewn binding, I'm liking the results so far.

I joked earlier that I was relieved to be finished with all the Set-In Seams; but looking back at it, I will be sad to see this go.  The goods news is that if I ever make another one, it should go faster.

I'm mailing this one off sometime this week to my Pillow Talk {Swap} Partner..

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations
Figured I'd link on over to {Sew} Modern Monday for the 1st time too.

Father's Day -2011-

Thought I'd do a little baking for Father's Day.

Although I don't eat Apple Pie, I can't deny the wonderful smell that fills my kitchen...can you smell it?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Goodie Bag Gifts

I'm sorry to report that this is not a gift for you; but rather a lovely swap-gift that I received from QuiltinKimmie as part of the Goodie Bag Swap.

My Swap-Partner, Stephanie, has already received the bag that I made for her and is taking it to her next Modern Quilt Guild meeting.

I had just started a discussion thread yesterday on Flickr saying how excited I was to know what bag was coming my way; but a little sad as each bag that I so loved was being received by their new owners.
Little did I know what treasure was waiting for me when I got home yesterday.

Can you say Jackpot!!!!

I cannot even begin to describe to you how amazing this bag is.  It has multiple inner pockets, a zippered pocket on the outside, as well as two side pouches.  If that wasn't enough; Kimmie rounded out the package with a charm pack of Sugar Pop, a separate little pouch to match and some bag essentials (pen, notepad, tissues, keylight and lotion).

Thank You Kimmie!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Solids Only Challenge

If you are visiting me from Modern Day Quilts, WELCOME!!!  I hope you'll look around a little bit.

Many of the Modern Quilt Guild's around the country have been participating in the Kona Solids Challenge sponsored by Robert Kaufman.  Our St. Louis Modern Quilt Guild is no different.  We started in January and the quilts were due in June.  It seemed like a good amount of time; but in looking back, it also meant that I could "waste" several months and then rush to get it done at the last minute.  Okay, okay, so it's not like I didn't have other things going on; but 6 months to finish a baby-size quilt and I'm quilting and binding it the week it's due {shakes head in disbelief}. 

Here's some earlier post, January 9th and April 21st and June 2nd.

There are a few members who dislike the quilt that they made and one that is actually giving it away.  Yet, I really like mine for a couple of reasons.

1.   I actually made a quilt without using a block, I had an idea and just found a way to do it.  It gave me some freedom that I honestly thought I didn't have in me.

2. I actually tried a few new-to-me things.  The first of which was the semi-wavy, not straight stitching.  It was liberating and I think is easing me into eventually doing free-motion quilting (which I swear up and down I cannot do).  The second new-to-me thing was machine sewing the binding on, not a single hand-stitch in the whole quilt.  I tried this on a failed test a few months back and couldn't get the hang of it, this time I used Red Pepper Quilts technique of "stitching in the ditch" and it looked pretty good.  I'm not 100% sold on this new method vs. the numbing; but loving hand-sewn binding; but it's certainly growing on me.


Scraps left over

Saturday's reveal was a little chaotic (my fault); but let me just say that the level of creativity my guild has is fantastic.  Woo-Hoo!!!

And just because another post wouldn't be complete without a cute bunny face, here is Tucker.

Yes, that is a bunny, and he's "sleeeeppppiiinnnngggg"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Goodie Bag Swap Completed

A few months ago, I was invited to participate in the Goodie Bag Swap on Flickr.  It was Round 1, so we weren't entirely sure what to expect; but let me tell you, its been a wonderful ride.

I'm proud to say that I finished my swap partner's bag this weekend...YAY!  Having previous knowledge of bag construction I decided to not use a pattern and instead just have at it.  I'm very pleased with the results
and hope that my secret partner is too.

It looks like they plan on doing this twice a year (once in Spring & once in Fall).  I encourage you to head on over to the Flickr Group page so you can get in on this for Round 2.

Oh, and before I go...I just have to share with you an adorable photo I took of Hank.  Isn't his little bunny face so cute.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hiding Out

My blog has been a little quiet, here's why...

1st - I've been putting in long hours at my "pay the bills" job in preparation for our upcoming trade-show.

2nd - Several swap projects and bees have been keeping me busy.

Sneak Peek of the bag that I'm sending to my Goodie Bag Swap partner...
when it's finished of course.  A few more pieces to attach and scraps to pull.

Sew Scrappy Sew Happy Quilting Bee - May belonged to Cranial Hiccups

3rd - My local Modern Quilt Guild (STLMQG) is participating in the Robert Kaufmann Challenge and our
Solids Only Quilt is due June 11th.  I had a few ideas along the way; but it wasn't until a week or so ago that I really got down to much for starting early.

Here's a sneak peek of my quilt top

4th - It's a good thing that I have so much quilting to get done; because I've also been hiding out in my house...completely creeped out of what is waiting outside.  What could be so terrifying you ask...let me show you.

UGH!!!  Even posting those photos gives me the heeby-jeebies.  If you don't have these devil-insects in your neck of the woods, you are truly blessed.  These insects are called Cicadas and unfortunately St. Louis is Ground Zero for the 13-year infestation.  While these ugly monsters can be found in other parts of the country, for some reason they just love our trees. 

Let me tell you about these things, first they measure about 1 1/2" long, have red eyes and long wings.  They emerge from the ground find a solid place to attach and then shed their crusty shell.  A few days later you are bombarded with their incessent mating calls and if you dare step foot outside, you can see them swarming from tree to tree.  Estimates place hundreds of thousands of them in a single 1 acre plot. 

I'm usually not someone who is creeped out by bugs and actually is the one called on to smash a rogue spider, cricket, or other insect that doesn't belong where it is found.  Yet, cidadas literally give me goose-bumps.  The only fun thing about them is that they make excellent target practice with a tennis racket.

So that's what's been happening around here.