Monday, August 30, 2010

Explore the World

It's so easy to get into auto-pilot mode as I go about my day to day activities. I see things fresher when I go on vacation. I'm so excited to be immersed in new surroundings and I just soak in the details, trying to savor and remember each moment. Then I go back home and try to get back into that comfortable routine and the details start to blur. So I'm challenging myself to look around and explore the world around me. Visit places nearby that I haven't been to and photograph or sketch the details that inspire me.

I had a chance to run a few errands alone this weekend and decided to run into the Spencer Museum of Art in Lawrence. I may have visited once in the last twenty years but I certainly don't remember. There's a quilt exhibit there and thought I'd pop in for a few minutes to check it out. As I looked for parking, I drove by this garage set into a hill and something about it made me catch my breath. I knew I needed a photo! Of course, I'd taken my camera out of my purse for one reason or another. My iphone camera would have to do. 

The exhibit at the museum was small but interesting. On the way out, I almost missed a small exhibit across from the gift shop. It was a quilting project that a middle school class created using literature as inspiration for small wall quilts. They were amazing, and it was so interesting to read the students' comments on the process. I don't think they will be on display for very much longer but if you have a chance check it out.

My iphone camera also captured a potential hexagon layout the other day. I snapped a picture to remember some of the options I tried. I'm trying to decide now whether to take the time to hand applique the hexagons onto the background or just do it by machine. I like the look of hand applique better but it'll take so much longer. And I plan on letting Jenna use this as a doll quilt. Hmmm. We'll see....


Friday, August 27, 2010

Selvage Bookmark

Here's my Selvage Bookmark that began with this lovely pile of scraps. I finished it late last night and intended to photograph it in natural light today but the day was just too busy. Now it's very late and this is the best I can get in my sewing room after midnight.  **Just swapped out the picture for a better one.

Here's the story of how it came to be:

I have a mother who knows I love pretty things and sent me a little surprise package recently. She's always tucking in little things she'll know I'll like or use. Needles, thread, a recipe, a fat quarter, a magazine, a handful of scraps. So this latest package just happened to have strings of scrap fabric to keep the stack of magazines from sliding around and they just happen to be in a line of fabric we both love (Fresh Cottons by Fig Tree Quilts). I knew I had to make something with them!

I remembered that Jacquie had a selvage tutorial on her blog and thought I'd start from there. I discovered that her selvages were no smaller than an inch and had at least 1/4 inch of pattern showing above the selvage. My scraps were much smaller. I think the largest piece was about 3/4 of an inch total and not much pattern above the selvages. But I thought if I alternated a selvage with a printed fabric strip it might look similar. 
This 5x5 square was the result. I thought I'd make a pincushion for my sister. But the more I inspected I realized that my seam allowances just weren't deep enough. I was afraid it might split open and I'd never hear the end of walnut shells spread across my sisters house! So I thought for a day or so about what I could come up with that wouldn't stress out my seams. I know Viv loves to read so I dreamed up a bookmark. 

Scraps + Scrapbookpaper + Sewing Machine + Adhesive + Button = Cute Bookmark for Viv. I'm sure she won't see this for a while since she's chin deep in teaching at the moment.

It took some trial and error. The big discovery was that I needed to leave the foundation paper on the back as I sewed it to the heavy scrapbook paper. Otherwise it stretched in the direction I was sewing.

Here's the back. Gotta love Basic Grey. (Did you know they make paper? Did you know scrapbook paper has selvages too?!)

And Mom, if you are reading this, I have enough to make one for you too!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Can you believe...

Can you believe I'm making something from this pile of scraps my mom used as padding in a package she sent. Too pretty to throw away!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Shoo Fly and Surgery

My Monday to-do list was long and I accomplished much. Emails, phone calls, playdate, cleaning, laundry, more playing, cooking (new yummy recipe), bathing little toes. However, it's after 11 and I'm still in my workout clothes that I put on this morning since I was going to exercise just after I finished a few things. That one item is rolling over to tomorrow's list but I think I'd better do it first thing when I wake up! So I got lots done but not necessarily what I really was hoping to do.

I was going to tell you that I didn't get to sew at all today but I just remembered that Amy the Penguin was in need of emergency wing surgery. I suppose that my sweet girl remembers a rather lengthy wait for one of Monkey's surgeries so she put Amy the Penguin just where she knew I'd find her. So cute! I'm happy to report that the penguin is recovering nicely snuggled up next to my sleeping girl.

I did get to sneak in some sewing this weekend after a lovely breakfast date with my husband. I made these Shoo Fly blocks as part of Tia's quilt along.They were so fun and quick to put together. I'm enjoying the quilt along so much and I can't wait to see what else Tia has in store for us. 

 Those are  a couple that I really liked.

I think I'm going to have to let this swirly fabric go for this project. Just doesn't seem to go with the others. Doesn't produce enough contrast either. It's funny how you can really like a fabric but when it's wrong for a block, uggh!

And red is always a favorite.

I must go get some sleep. We're off on another adventure tomorrow with some little friends and some mamas. Can't wait!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Buttons and Triangles

When I was a little girl, my mom kept a container of buttons in her sewing room and I loved playing with them while she sewed. She gave me this little juice pitcher a long time ago and as things go, it sat in my kitchen cabinet a long time because we don't really serve juice that often. I want to use it so I put it in my sewing room to hold the buttons Jenna collects from quilt shops. The two little "dishes" beside the pitcher are actually attachments from a kitchen tool my mother-in-law had in her cabinet. Sometimes I can't get a stain out of a cute outfit of Jenna's and before I throw it out I pull off any of the fun buttons. These make a great place to put them since they are special to me and I don't want to throw them in with the others. Call me sentimental! Do you store any of your tools or supplies in special containers?

Have you tried Triangulations? It such a quick easy way to whip out either half square or quarter square triangles. Just like dot-to-dot. You sew on the dotted line and cut on the solid line with your rotary cutter.

I've made a few star block with these and they are so fun and easy to put together. I use a bone folder from my scrapbook supplies to "finger press" my seams open before I hit them with the iron. I'll try to get a few pictures of them since I just pulled them out to work on again.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Potholder Swap

KC Modern Quilt Guild had a potholder swap a few months ago. It's been so fun to open up my little potholder drawer and see these two lovely creations peaking out. I'm still surprised when I see them. I forget they're in there!

The potholder above is made from Tula Pink's Nest line of fabric. Isn't the little egg perfect for the kitchen?

This next one is so cute with donuts and cookies. The really cool part is the middle. Let's take a closer look, shall we?

It looks like a vintage cookbook page was copied onto fabric. What a neat idea! The quilting is pretty cool too. Here's it's sibling. We each made two to swap but they were passed out randomly.

These are the potholders I made for the swap. I love the fabric but I encountered some problems. The pressure on the quilt sandwich was so great that I had to literally pull the potholder through the machine to quilt it. It was pretty thick with Insulbright and batting. It stretched out the corners as I did pretty dense straight line quilting. I cut out some extra pieces so I'm planning on trying again with my new machine to see if it makes a difference. Here's the tutorial I used. I really do learn so much with every project I try. The only way to learn is to get in there and give it a go!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A Fun Quilt Along

Tia from Camp Follower Bags & Quilts is hosting a Free Piecing Quilt Along and I thought it would be fun to try my hand at some wonkiness again. I had two goals as I started this Quilt Along. I wanted to play a bit with my new sewing machine because I've been doing a lot of handwork lately. I've been anxious to get some fabric in it!  I also wanted to play a bit with color choices.

I usually choose fabrics from one line in my projects and when I mix things up I tend to get matchy-matchy. I end up with too little contrast. I dug into my little stash and discovered the only solid I had was white! But I dug a little more and found a few fabrics that I thought might read as close to solid. In the end I found some prints and tone-on-tones that I thought might achieve some contrast.

The blocks are 6 x 6 and pretty quick and easy to put together.

This itty bitty anvil block is an example of some hand piecing I did on my trip that doesn't have enough contrast to it. The greens are blending together.

It's fun to start experimenting. I feel like am learning so much! The more I do though, the more I find I want to tweak and learn.

So go check out Tia's blog! She is just the nicest gal and makes the coolest bags and quilts for her military friends from uniforms and quilting fabric! I met her at the Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild but she just moved to TX so I'm keeping up with her on her blog.
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hooked on Hexies!

While I was in TN, my sister took me to the AQS Quilt Show in Knoxville. We had a grand time and I was amazed at the variety and quantity of quilts. The vendor area was fun to walk through too. was demonstrating how to make hexies and I was fascinated to see it in person. I decided to buy some templates to give it a try. My sister, mom and I watched a CD from McCall's magazine to see a different way to make them. They are so fun and easy! It's amazing how fast they go together. It is true that they are addicting. I really like the method we use because you don't get the thread on the front side.

I put most of these together on a trip out to CO and back. I've got a nice little kit set up and I won't travel without it now.

This red and blue is my favorite flower so far. I'll be making these into a doll quilt for my daughter. I'm pretty excited to look for the background fabric. I think gray would look nice but I don't know if I should try something with a little more color since it's for a 4 year old girl. I'll just have to play a bit.

**ETA: The fabric here is Urban Chicks 1974.

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Creature of Habit

I am such a creature of habit. My laptop virus protection is being updated as I type by my fabulous tech support guy (aka husband) so I'm trying to blog from his computer. It's so different, and I need to upload pictures MY way on the laptop.

Luckily he's uploaded some vacation photos to his computer but I can only figure out how to post 1 photo per entry on this computer. So here you go....a lovely photo of my darling daughter and her beautiful cousin learning how to fold fat quarters at my Mom's quilt shop. And who is teaching them, you ask? Well that would be their PaPa, my dad. 

He happens to be folding Basic Grey's Fruitcake that I'm in LOVE with. I came home with a nice stack and have the perfect pattern to show off all the fun fabrics. I found a charm pack this summer and picked out all of the fabrics I wanted in my quilt. Then, surprise, surprise! Mom posted on her blog that she got that line of fabric in. So I went through the little charms I liked and compared it to her blog photos and made a little shopping list of sorts with my charms. I knew exactly what I needed to buy here and what I could get on my visit to TN. I'm set now and just need to get some other projects wrapped up so I can get started.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Getting Back in the Groove

July and the first part of August has been filled with travel for my little family. We've been to Colorado twice and to Tennessee for a couple of weeks. I've always loved to travel but this was quite a lot at one time. I'm enjoying being home now and find myself nesting with little organizing projects here and there as I get back into the swing of things. 

I can't wait to share some of the projects I've been working on as I spent hours in the car and in my mom's two studios (home and quilt shop).

But for now, here's a view is from Clingman's Dome in the Smoky Mountains. I took a quick drive up into the mountains since it's just down the road from my mom's quilt shop in Gatlinburg. I'll have to spend some more time hiking there with my little one. My brother is quite the hiker and I'm certain he could pick out a trail or two she'd love. He's taking my husband on one that was beautiful in new fallen snow and he took me on a trail that lead to a waterfall where we had a little picnic. My daughter caught the hiking bug and I think the Smokies have some easily accessible trails she could explore.

Kansas City Modern Quilt Guild met tonight and as usual I'm too excited to sleep just yet. We have some amazingly creative people in that group and had a wonderful speaker tonight that was so inspiring. And to top it off I get to ride into Kansas City with a couple of women who are so fun to visit with. It's such a gift to be able to talk with people who get just as inspired and excited about quilting and fabric as I do!


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