Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello, 2011!

Riley Blake +
I spent a bit of time the other day writing down all of the projects and goals that have been floating around in my head for the last month or so. As my list got longer and longer, I realized that they might not be goals for 2011. They might be goals for the next decade at the pace I went this past year! But it really doesn't matter how fast I accomplish this list. I had so much fun this past year and that's what really DOES matter. I'm so excited to learn and try so much more. I'll include some photos of newly acquired fabric I'm looking forward to playing with. 
Laura Gunn
Embroidery (starting here)
Raw Edge Applique
Circles or Curves
Long Arm Quilting
Free Motion Quilting (on my Bernina)
A bag or purse
Mug Rug
2 Aprons
A piece inspired by a vintage canning quilt
No Prints Allowed Challenge for KCMQG
Whittle down those wonderful WIPS on my shelf
Lilly & Will
Continue sewing with my small group 
Join the Kaw Valley Guild
Make something WITH Jenna
Blog a bit more
Participate in another swap
Eva & Hushabye
1 Quilts for Kids
2 other baby quilts for charity
Participate in another KCMQG charitable activity
Sherbet Pips Charm Pack
Sew a little something everyday (even for just a few minutes).
Organize my craft closet...again.
Set up a little work station close to where my daughter plays to sneak in a bit of play time for me.
Limit Reader and Flickr time to give myself a little more sewing time.
Dec 2010
So there's my giant list! I can't wait to get started. It's officially 2011 here in our household as we toasted in the New Year at 9:00 pm with lemonade and exciting celebration with our 4 year old! 

Happy New Year to you all!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Back


One last WIP for 2010! I put together some of the 6 inch blocks I made for Tia's quilt along to try out some long arm quilting. One of my friends offered to let a few of us try her long arm and it was so much fun. I was a bit intimidated and had no idea where to start but she was a very patient and encouraging teacher. So this is my first wobbly attempt at free motion quilting on something other than a scrap. That little taste has left me wanting more. Luckily, I have some birthday money left to spend on some a class to really get me started. 
House Quilt Back

Of course, it's the end of the year and I have to take a look back. I could tally up all of my finishes, WIP's, UFO's, swaps, purchases, gifts, donations, and blocks but that will never measure what a difference sewing, quilting and blogging has made in my life this year.

Joining the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild, attending a couple of retreats, and sewing with a small group has connected me with some great new friends that I've learned and laughed with. 

Quilting has strengthened my connection with my family. I've loved getting to sew and share ideas with my mom. My sister and I went to a quilt show together in Knoxville and learned to make hexagons with my mom. My daughter has cut and glued many scraps while I've sewn and even pulled my needle through fabric for me. My husband's aunt and cousin helped us document some family quilting history. My dad has shopped with my mom and I. I had to laugh the other day when I was on the phone with my sister. I could hear my niece yelling in the background "Fabric, mom, fabric!" Awesome memories.

I can't even begin to describe how much I've learned from blogs and Flickr. There are some very talented quilters out there and I am so grateful that they are sharing what they've learned and are inspiring so many with their wonderful creations.
Quilting has given me a sense of accomplishment and an outlet for some creativity. I've learned to let go of perfection and just jump in and try new things. I absolutely love that when I sew something together it usually stays that way (unlike clean dishes and laundry). And most of all, I love learning and I feel like I could live to be 100 and never learn everything I want too. Oh, and can I just add how much I enjoy looking at and working with all of the gorgeous fabric!

I hope this year has been just as wonderful for all of you!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A New Bag

Birdie Sling
While my mom was here visiting, we had a good time visiting quilt shops in the area. We stopped at Prairie Point in Shawnee, Harper's in Overland Park, Sarah's Fabrics in Lawrence and Stitch On, also in Lawrence. A mini shop hop of sorts. Mom let me pick out some fabric and we spent an afternoon making this Birdie Sling pattern by Amy Butler.

I have been a bit intimidated by the idea of making a purse or bag. Layers of batting, interfacing, fabric, lining, zippers, turning inside out... Now that I've helped with the process I'm very confident that I can go solo next time (without a zipper).

birdie sling interior
Here's a peek at the lining. I really love these Innocent Crush fabrics by Anna Maria Horner. I've been using the bag as a tote and it's so handy. Definitely room for a notebook or two and a camera plus all the other essentials.

I've been making a list of sewing goals for the next year in my head. I'll share those with you next time. Have you been thinking about next year yet?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Instead of Blogging...

and finishing this quilt....
Bloom Strong

I've been....

*visiting with my mom and dad 

*celebrating a big birthday

*cleaning my basement and sewing room

*having a fabulous Christmas Brunch with my MOPS friends

*helping a few families have a Merry Christmas

*putting on a puppet show for Jenna at the library

*watching Santa get rescued from the top of Weaver's Department Store

*having dinner and seeing the Christmas Lights on the Kansas City Plaza

Old Fashioned Parade

*watching the Old Fashioned Christmas Parade in Downtown Lawrence

*caroling and crafting with preschoolers

*viewing Gingerbread Houses (I want to live here!)

*sewing with my mom

*giving long arm quilting a try (and loving it!)

and enjoying every minute!

Hope you are enjoying this Christmas season too!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Miss J and I just put a pumpkin pie in the oven for tomorrow's Thanksgiving dinner. She has been calling it a feast all week. We are expecting a small cozy Thanksgiving this year since we've already been to TX to see family and my parents will be coming next week. We are looking forward to some relaxing time together. Everyone has something on their agenda this long weekend. Roy wants to watch lots of football. Miss J wants to go to the movies to see Tangled. And I plan on spending some time sewing and organizing my stack of fabric that's falling over

Here's a peek at a top I finished last night. Well, this morning. You know I'm most productive after midnight :) If I can get it quilted and bound this weekend I'll enter it in Project Modern.

I'm feeling so grateful for so many things in my life right now and I'm happy to have a day to reflect and celebrate. I hope you all have a very blessed Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Fall Dress

My mom made Miss J a few dresses this summer and my very good friend commented on how much she liked them. When I told my mom, she sent enough fabric and a pattern so we could have a sewing day to make dresses ourselves for our girls. The fabric is Spirit by Lila Tueller for Moda.

We started about 9:30 and I took a break to pick up Miss J from preschool and grab lunch for us all. We finally finished around 4:30. The three kids played so nicely together while we sewed. My friend's mom popped over to help us figure out the pocket which used elastic cord to gather the top. We both swore making clothes took more time than it was worth but in the end we were happy we did it. In fact, I had a little giggle of excitement when I sewed the pocket. It was so much fun to try something new. My friend made a couple more since then and she said the others went much more quickly.

Have you ever enjoyed sewing with a friend? I've been sharing quite a few sewing experiences with friends lately and it's a great deal of fun!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Lovely Swap Goodies

I've had a wonderful couple of days. The weather is getting much cooler and I usually don't like these darker days. But for some reason I'm feeling cozy and I'm having the urge to organize, clean and snuggle. So I'm doing a bit of each of those and having fun working on a quilt for Project Modern. 

I'm really enjoying the new items in my home that swaps have brought my way. There was much excitement the other day when my Scrappy Hoops Swap package arrived all the way from Australia! Little Miss J and I were having a late lunch when we saw the mail carrier walking up the driveway and I knew exactly what he was carrying. Isn't the packing tape adorable. We had fun opening it and I was just shocked when I saw what was inside.

I had seen this hoop on the group's Flickr and loved everything about it. The colors, the words (Where ever the ride takes me), the polka dots, the bike, the scrappiness. She even painted the hoop aqua. Love, love, love! But what were the odds that I would get the one that I loved so much. Miss J and my husband thought it was pretty cool too. I love looking at it and I'm very impress with the bike embroidery. It will definitely have a special place to hang in my sewing room!

Leah even sent a couple of beautiful fat quarters. They are so pretty! Thank you Leah!

My other swap goodies came from the KC Modern Quilt Guild. For the November meeting we were to bring something we made with a holiday theme (any holiday) or a few fat quarters of fabric. I brought some of my favorite Basic Grey Fruitcake fat quarters and then felt a bit bad because so many people had made the most gorgeous projects to swap. I need to step it up for next year!

We got to break up into smaller groups and participated in an activity where we could ask each other questions and get to know people in our group a little better which I loved.  When it came time to swap with people in our group I had my eye on a little bag with the brown polka dot fabric you see in the potholder above. I knew the fabric was from that very same Basic Grey line that I love so much and was hoping something inside had the same fabric. And it did! These darling potholders were inside.

I haven't seen the Christmas print before but it's just perfect. I love text and swirly prints. It reminds me a little of some Christmas dishes I've seen at Williams Sonoma.
I've never had any potholders this shape before and was very curious about how they'd work. They work great and have already seen some action in my kitchen. I just love opening my little drawer by the stove and seeing them there. Sarah used a neat technique for the binding that I'd like to try soon. Thank you Sarah! I love them!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Scrappy Hoops Swap

I finished my hexies for the Scrappy Hoops Swap on Flickr while I was riding down the road to TX this past weekend. I put it in the hoop yesterday morning and it was in the mail by the afternoon. It's headed overseas but I can't reveal where yet.

My partner's inspiration mosaic had lots of mushrooms, hexagons, Heather Ross fabrics, lots of bright colors so I tried to include all of that. I put a mushroom right in the center. It was so fun to use my Heather Ross scraps that I'd gotten from Etsy a while back. I pulled some other scraps and fabric from my stash. I just loved working on it and I hope she likes it as much as I do!
I kept all of the papers in while I stitched and traveled to keep it stable. You'll notice I punched a hole in all of my papers. It makes it sooooo much easier to pop them out. I usually just unbend a paperclip and insert the end in the hole to pop them out but this time I had a pair of tweezers handy and just grabbed the paper at the hole. No digging under the seam allowance!

I usually press both the front and back with the papers on and then press again after the papers come out. I was able to leave all of the basting stitches in so seam allowances stayed nice and flat while I put another layer of fabric on the back. I just trimmed up the thread tails and made it look as neat as possible.

I was a bit sad when I put the piece in the hoop. There was an owl and butterfly I really liked and some of my other favorite hexagons had to be trimmed off. Yikes!

Here's the little label I put on the back with some Heat n Bond. 

A gorgeous hoop arrived in my mailbox after lunch today and I can't wait to show you pictures!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Bloggers Quilt Festival Fall 2010 - Tennessee & Back

I just put the last stitch in the binding of this quilt! I came home after a busy day with my preschooler who had a field trip and a doctor's appointment. In between those activities we made a stop at the bookstore where I accidentally ordered a caffeinated beverage and I was feeling pretty motivated. On a whim I decided to finish the last side of binding and join the Quilt Festival. My sweet husband agreed to pick up pizza for dinner and was so nice to put our little one to bed while I stitched. 

I started this quilt in the summer of 2009. I was visiting my family in Tennessee and my mom wanted me to try her new long arm machine. She cut a stack of squares for me to sew together and the plan was for me to practice on this simple quilt. Well....I got busy visiting and only finished about half of it. So I took it back to Kansas and finished the top at a retreat in October. Back to Tennessee it went with plans to try the long arm during this visit. Again....too busy visiting so my mom offered to quilt it for me and send it back to Kansas in the mail. She did send it back (I believe it was in January of this year) and since I'd started several other projects it sat in the closet for a while. This summer I took it back to Tennessee and put the binding on while I was there, brought it back to Kansas and have been working on the binding a little at a time until tonight. So this quilt has some mileage! For this reason I've named it Tennessee & Back.

Even though this is a simple quilt, it was a stretch for me. My mom had me just pull squares off of the stack to sew them together instead of laying every square out and making a plan like I've always done before. It was really the beginning of moving towards a more intuitive improv process. It was also fun to play with colors I wouldn't have thought to put together - red, eggplant, lavender, peach, sage, olive. I love the mix and can't wait to put this quilt on my bed! Thanks Mama!

I have to thank Amy for hosting the Festival again. It's so much fun to see so many quilts and read about their stories. My entry in the Spring 2010 festival is here. And thanks to all of you for visiting! 

Amy's Creative Side - Blogger's Quilt Festival

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Cherri House at KCMQG

I was so fortunate to hear Cherri House speak this month at KC Modern Quilt Guild. Cherri is such a genuine woman and her story of how her life has shaped her quilting was very moving. I picked up City Quilts the week before she came and got to know her quilt designs a little better. City Quilts focuses on solid fabrics and they are beautiful quilts. But I was just amazed at how vibrant they were in person. You'll notice City Green on the table. From a distance, all of the little squares look green. However, if you look closely, there are varying shades of blue and even some purples. Cherri's eye for color is just incredible. 

I've never worked with solids (besides white) and hearing her speak has opened my eyes to so many possibilities. Many of the guild members have been using solids and I love what I've been seeing during the show and tells. Isn't it wonderful what we can learn from each other. I can't get over how many talented people I'm sitting around every time a go to a Guild meeting! 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Little Hexie Peek

I've been stitching away on my Scrappy Hoops Swap project and thought I'd share a peek. I'm so happy to finally be working with some of my Heather Ross scraps. I just love the softness of the Munki Munki. So much so, that I've been looking online for Munki PJ's to actually wear! 

I am eager to finish and get it off to my partner but my left hand that holds the hexies together is hurting a bit. At first I thought I had fallen on my hand or banged it but I suspect it's the gripping while I stitch. Hopefully I just have some hand muscles that need to get used to the work they are doing. I may have to slow down a bit....or hurry up and finish :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Orange Binding

NICU binding, originally uploaded by Under the Evening Star.
I love binding, at least the hand stitching part. It's so nice to have a good excuse to sit and visit with my little girl, watch Food Network with her and it's guilt-free since I'm being so productive!

Vicki lead the KC Modern Quilt Guild in this project to donate quilts to a local NICU. I'm not sure who pieced this quilt but it's beautiful and I love the color combination. My friend Sheryl quilted it and then passed it on to me to bind. I took it to our guild meeting tonight and it was so fun to see most of the quilts displayed. It's amazing to see what many hands can accomplish together. Check some of them out here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Scrappy Hoop Swap Inspiration

***It just occured to me that I shouldn't post photos from flickr of projects others have completed without their permission, even if they are inspiration. I deleted the photo, but if you'd like to take a peek, click on the link below and you'll see the mosaic and information about the projecrs and their very talent creators.
Hoop Swap Inspiration
I joined in on the Scrappy Hoop Swap on flickr and I'm excited! I think it will be so fun to design something special for someone but I'm also a little nervous. I hope I send something my partner likes. I know I'll be thrilled with anything I receive. I'm just looking forward to the suspense and surprise!

Here's the mosaic I made of projects on flickr that I love. Can you tell that I really love scrappy things!

When I made the mosaic I couldn't think of a single thing I don't like but after a lot of thought I decided that perhaps there is one thing. I'm not a big fan of owls. Don't get me wrong, I love real owls in nature. They're beautiful. But owls have been all the rage in both scrapbook paper and fabric designs for a while now and I'm just not drawn to them. I know I must be in the minority because I see them everywhere. Actually, the Alexander Henry owl fabric is pretty cute but I'm not a brown owl kind of girl. Am I the only one?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hexagons on the Go

 Here's a peek at the little case I grab for quick outings. I can drop it in my purse and have all I need to make a few hexagons on the run. It's actually a 4x6 photo case.

The red felt has threaded needles with regular thread and some silk thread. I wear the circle shaped thread cutter on a ribbon around my neck if I'm in riding in the car. Hexies are ready to stitch. I have extra thread, templates, fabric, and paper clips just in case. Little scissors to trim the corners of fabric and a threader which I don't have to use that often.

I have a bigger case for longer trips but that's another post....

How do you carry your hexies?

Guess What

Guess what's catching my eye lately.

A precious scrap....
 And something for the wish list.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Hexies

I miss my sewing machine! I haven't even unpacked her from my retreat. With husband out of town last week and coming home sick, I've not had a chance to sit and sew. Last night I just had to get my hands on some fabric and get something accomplished. 

I chose a few charms from Haunted Mansion by Moda and made a simple flower. I then hand appliqued the flower onto a kitchen towel I picked up at Target. It felt great to start and finish something in one night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Little Houses

I made these little houses for Tia's quilt along. I started them Friday night at my retreat and finished them up by lunch time on Saturday. When I made the last one, I swore I'd never make another! But now I'm looking at them again and they are kind of cute. I think my frustration stemmed from knowing I brought so much I wanted to work on and these were taking me much longer than I anticipated. Tia said she whipped her's out in 45 minutes!

There was definitely a learning curve with estimating how much a seam allowance would shrink the size and remembering not to put the roof on before I sewed on the air around the walls of the house. The doors, windows and a chimney are raw edge applique.

I think I might try ONE of these again for a small project when I can focus on lots of cuteness and when I feel like I have a little extra time to spend.

I cut the pieces with scissors, very free form, estimating sizes I'd need.

I tried a mushroom shape but the curved piecing wasn't working out, even though I pinned it like crazy!
This one might be my favorite. Any idea what tall item is beside the house? I'm still trying to figure it out!


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