Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Recap

Today I am in the throes of yet another attempt at potty training my youngest.  You might think that a bathroom accident is unpleasant, but what happened after her accident, in the bath, was much more unpleasant.  I am hiding in the basement with a piece of fudge and I will use this time to write a 2014 personal "review" of my sewing accomplishments.  

The theme of this year seems to be paper piecing.  This mosaic represents several paper pieced projects I have been working on in 2014.  The arrows quilt (middle) was the start of it all and a great project for a beginner.  I definitely found the deer and the horse to be the most challenging.  (The hexagonal flowers are "English" paper pieced and just filled in a gap in the mosaic.)

This past year, I finished twelve quilts and have four in progress.  I definitely did a lot more sewing of "little projects."  After going through all of my blog posts from 2014, I am amazed at all the things I've  made: 16 pillows, 10 bags/purses/totes, 14 zip pouches, 10 toddler dresses, 10 flower pincushions, two sets of curtains, 25 Christmas ornaments, and several other miscellaneous items.

My favorite non-sewn/fabric related project has been the voile windows of my sewing room.  I was so hesitant to do it, thinking I might get sick of it or it wouldn't work correctly.  But it was so easy and I LOVE it.  I am already wondering how I will feel when we move eventually because it's so pretty!  The next house better have a set of French doors!

Here's a finish I couldn't share until Christmas was over: a Sew Together bag for my mom:

I chose the fabrics to go with this needlework tote I made her last year:

I am also happy to report that I've given away about a dozen quilts to friends and family.  I've really tried to be more generous and not let a few previous bad experiences of giving away sewn items prevent me from reaching out and giving a meaningful gift.  Moving made me realize how much I had and that it's not doing anyone any good by having so many quilts sitting in storage.  I am not saying this to brag at all, I am actually embarrassed that it's taken me this long to be more giving.

My goals for 2015 include finishing several quilt WIPs:

I also want to make a diaper bag and two baby quilts: one for our family's newest addition as well as one for my SIL who's due just two weeks before me.  After my baby comes, I am looking at a life consumed by a 5 year old, a 3 year old, and a newborn.  I make no promises for what happens after that!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Stash: Christmas Presents

I've tried to stay away from "fabric only" posts for quite some time- my family used to tease me that this blog was only about fabric and not enough about what I was actually making with it (they were right).  But I am going to make an exception for today to be able to share some fun additions to my stash.

This year, I planned ahead and saved up some money for the Black Friday sales.  If you buy fabric no other time of the year, waiting for Black Friday is so worth it!

Here are some of my choices from some recent Art Gallery collections: Priory Square, Utopia, and Geometric Bliss (plus a random Architextures print):

I bought most of the prints from Anna Maria Horner's Honor Roll line, but these four are my favorites:

I have been trying to stay away from complete FQ bundles but it was unavoidable with Mimosa.  A lot of the individual prints were sold out at Pink Castle and the bundle was 30% off, making the fabric average to less than $7 per yard.  I was a little skeptical about my choice, worrying that the prints might be too large scale or the tone of the colors might be too creamy, but I had a hunch that Mimosa was going to be special.  Now that I have finally seen it in person, I am in love and I can't wait to use it.

Out of all the fabrics I have received, this next picture shows my absolute favorites.  The prints on the left are smaller versions of the well known Wallflower print in GORGEOUS, hard to find colors, by Amy Butler for her True Colors collection.  The tiny whales are simply impeccable and will probably show up in dozens of my projects for years to come; a find from Pink Castle during their Japanese clearance sale.

Just when I had spent all my Black Friday nest egg, I learned that Craftsy was selling these Kona bundles for a song and free shipping.  A nearby LQS had these for $36 more!  I emailed the link to my mom as a Christmas idea for me and she came through.  I am thrilled- I think these are so fun and useful.  I received a Kona Sunrise bundle last Christmas and it's already been mostly used up in my Feathers quilt.

There is one more special Black Friday deal I indulged in, but I will save that for another day.  Linking up with Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash linky.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Finish: Dala Horse Pillow

I was very cocky  proud that I had finished my son's marker tote before Christmas Eve but I really ate my words when I was sewing binding on to this pillow at 1:30 in the morning on Christmas.  Oh well.  Things got so crazy with preparing to have company over, endless grocery shopping trips, and all of the other preparations for Christmas.  But here it is: a 24" Dala Horse pillow made in honor of my husband and his love for Sweden.

Constructing the horse took me a while- I am not extremely proficient at paper piecing still.  But the hand quilting was definitely more time consuming.  I used some DMC perle cotton to outline the horse, the paper pieced square, and 30+ tiny squares 1" squares framing him.

It took quite a while to cut and piece about 320" tiny 1.5" (1" finished) squares for the patchwork border.  I knew the math was easy to go bigger with 2.5" squares but I wanted this to be special and help highlight the horse.  I struggled a little with finding the right shades of green in my stash- I wish modern fabrics were a little more diverse in their color ranges!

I used my long hoarded Happy Holiday print of these adorable Santa knomes for a zippered back closure.  

It was difficult to decide whether this guy should be a pillow or a wall hanging but I decided that the pillow might be more "useful," I wasn't sure of where I would hang a seasonal mini quilt, and I already had the 24" form.

A big thanks for this awesome pattern by Julianna at Sewing Under the Rainbow for sharing her talents in creating this Dala Horse design.  

My husband was happy with it and probably especially pleased that the madness of trying to complete this was finally over.  For several nights, I literally sat in a small hallway in the living room away from him (while we watched a movie) to be able to complete all of the hand quilting without him catching a glimpse.

Linking up with Julianna's blog:
Christmas QAL

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Marker Tote Part II

Just a quick post to share the second "marker folio" I made for my son.  I know I said I might not revisit this project but I just had to: my son loves to draw and it didn't seem fair to make one for his sister and not him.

Luckily, this one was far easier than the first one, it took about three hours instead of six.  I didn't touch the seam ripper once, I was able to refer to notes and measurements from my first one, and I cut the large peltex for the body of it an inch longer (lengthwise) and that helped a lot.

The far right pocket is tacked down on just the right corner to enable a coloring book to slide in the side and the sketch pad to hang over top.  I brought these $1 sketch pads to a copy store and had them spiral bind them on the top because the weak glue was coming apart on top really quickly after brief handling.  This was a much more affordable option than buying those expensive artist's sketch pads.

Here are the two folios together.  Despite ample procrastination, I am so happy I achieved my goal of making two handmade gifts for my children and it's not even Christmas Eve yet :)  I am especially hopeful that these will serve us well during church- quiet activities are a lifesaver there.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Finish it up Friday: Christmas Sewing

I am amazed at the talent and generosity of Julianna of Sewing Under the Rainbow for creating the Last Minute Christmas Sampler series.  The paper pieced designs she has created are simply lovely.  I waited patiently for her to share the 16" version of the Dala Horse.  The Dala Horse is closely connected to Sweden, where my husband served an LDS mission for two years.  I am trying to make something for him for Christmas.  I am not sure if I want to turn this guy into a mini wall hanging or a large pillow cover.....

While I have been thinking about this, I took a break from that project and made a simple wall hanging for my sister.  This picture makes it look SO wonky but I promise it's not that bad.  It's a Harry Potter thing.  I used the alphabet on my sewing machine to embroider, "Expecto Patronum."

I decided to go the extra mile for teacher gifts at my son's preschool.  These nativity ornaments are just too perfect for the Catholic program Gregory attends.  I can't emphasize enough how much those teachers and that school have eased our cross-country move within the last year.

Here's a cute picture taken after the Christmas program we attended at the school.  I am so looking forward to Christmas and seeing them enjoy their presents- they are at the perfect ages to really enjoy it all.

Linking up to Crazy Mom Quilts for Finish it up Friday.

P.S.  I did have to draw a new name for the Tula Pink fat quarters for the SMS Giveaway and lucky Sarah from Canada was the winner.  They'll be in the mail shortly.  Thanks to all who entered.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Two Winners and More Christmas Present Sewing

The winner of the Tula Pink fat quarters is #150, Michelle, of the blog AQuilter212. There were 314 comments!  The winner of the quilted pillow is #162, Mary Smith of Louisiana.  (I haven't heard back from Michelle- if I don't hear from her by the end of the week, I will draw a different winner- so please contact me if you are Michelle!)

It cracks me up that there were many more entries for the fat quarters and the pillow cover was definitely less popular.  I stand by my assertion that Tula Pink fans are extremely loyal!

On Christmas, my family is going to be hosting two young women "sister" missionaries for the day.  They are really sweet girls who are giving up 18 months of their young lives to help people in our city.  Christmas will be a more relaxed day for them and I plan to spoil them rotten.  I've started my preparations by making the largest size of the open wide pouch from Noodlehead:

I am also finally making one for my sister who has had a thing for hippos.  I bought this fabric ages ago and I am actually glad I waited so long to cut into it because I barely became comfortable with zippers!  The other floral one just may stay with me.

Linking up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Marker Folio: Le Challenge: Ink

 Thank you to everyone's kind well-wishes on my pregnancy.  Also, welcome to so many new followers!  As promised, two winners will be chosen tonight, via the random number generator.

I made the mistake of taking a very late in the day snooze on Saturday afternoon.  The consequence was that I could not sleep that night and ended up staying up till 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, working on this "marker folio" for my daughter:

She loves this princess fabric.  I only had a half yard and it had been cut into for her quilt that I've been working on- but she's brought it to bed with her and used it as a "blankie" for her dolls.  

I looked and looked for a crayon roll type of pattern that would accommodate markers and a large sketch pad.  I wasn't interested in a tote bag type of pattern.  I finally decided I would have to make my own pattern, which was admittedly tough for me.  The left side obviously holds markers and the right side is a pocket that can hold a coloring book and a sketch pad.

Overall, I am not super thrilled with the results but I know my two year old won't care.  The thing that bothers me is how warped the left side has become with all of the markers in there.  I knew that would happen but I didn't know how to prevent it and I didn't think it would be this obvious.

I have the supplies to make my five year old son one as well and I am leaning towards chickening out and maybe just putting the art supplies in his stocking.  Is that horrible?  I am wondering if he might enjoy a pillow with a Star Wars paper pieced lego character instead......

I am linking up with Le Challenge this month, as their theme is "ink."  I don't know if this is really common with other kids, but I've found that my kids definitely prefer markers to crayons.

Thanks for reading!

Le Challenge

Friday, December 12, 2014

Ornaments and News

Welcome to so many new followers!  I feel a little overwhelmed with how many comments I have received on my two SMS Giveaways.  I hope you will enjoy visiting my blog and seeing what I have been creating.

My time to sew seems to be rapidly disappearing.  Even though I have been in denial, I am finally coming to terms with my two year old's change in schedule: she is done taking afternoon naps.  I am squeezing in what I can, but I really do better with a solid chunk of time rather than a few minutes here and there.  So I've realized with any of my holiday sewing, I need to keep things simple and try not to overdo it.  I recently participated in an ornament swap and I found this adorable and simple tutorial on Wild Olive to make a nativity ornament:

I also have been churning out these cute stocking ornaments to be small gifts for various people like MOPS (Mother's of Preschoolers) members and school and church teachers.  Last year I made lots of zip bags for people, but these are much quicker and still cute.  Tutorial is at Stumbles and Stitches.

On a personal note, I would like to share that I am expecting our third child on May 23!  We are excited and my other children are thrilled.  I won't be finding out the gender ahead of time, I love having the surprise at the end.  I feel like this explains my lack of productivity for the last several months although many people have been telling me that I have been accomplishing plenty.  I will make some things for the baby soon and I probably should get going on that before my energy really disappears!

Thanks for reading.  Linking up to Finish it up Friday at Crazy Mom Quilts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Mini Mueller State Park Retreat

Last weekend, several people from the Front Range Modern Quilt Guild got together for a retreat in the mountains.  It was a one hour drive from my home in Mueller State Park.  I had no idea what to expect and I'll admit I was a little nervous.  But how could anything go wrong when this was the view from the back of the cabin we rented?

I think I was nervous about the retreat because I thought it would be a very primitive setting.  I was so wrong!  The accommodations were easily some of the nicest I've ever stayed in.

It was such a busy weekend, I didn't take a lot of pictures while I was there.  But here's a quick shot of the main living area where we spent the majority of our time sewing and talking. There wasn't a ton of sleeping, and I will admit that it was tiring!

I spent the whole week beforehand cutting and preparing my projects. Quilting retreats tend to be a little crowded and cramped in my experience and I didn't want to monopolize a "cutting station."  I also just wanted the cutting to be done, so that I could just concentrate on sewing.  I came prepared with three projects.  One I cannot share yet because it is a Christmas present for a loyal blog reader and friend.

I finally made myself a Sew Together bag and I am in love with it!  This was my third stab at the pattern and I think it came out the best so far.  I used a few adorable prints from the Sew Yummy fabric line, a collection that I've been drooling over for months.  I love that it's rainbow without looking super juvenile.

I also worked intensely on my daughters quilt.  I plowed through 15 of the 30 blocks at the retreat, here are a few of my favorites:

I know it's going to sound a little cheesy, but I really don't care that much about all that I was able to accomplish. Spending time with like-minded, down to earth ladies was so refreshing.  I will admit that I have really struggled with homesickness lately and this was just the boost I needed.  A huge thanks to Melissa for organizing this fabulous weekend.

(I'm the one in the red hoodie on the left).

If you have a chance to attend a retreat, do it!  It's so hard to get to know guild members if you only attend meetings.  Linking up to WIP Wednesday.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day: Four Tula Pink Fat Quarters

Welcome to my blog!  Please leave a comment, telling me what your favorite sewing book or novel is to receive a chance to receive these four brand new Saltwater fat quarters, designed by Tula Pink.  There is something about the "tulatroops" that just amazes me, avid fans of her fabrics are dedicated and put other designer groupies to shame.  When I saw these at an LQS a few months ago, I knew they'd make someone very happy.  I used bits and pieces of her Prince Charming and Saltwater collections to make the City Sampler recently:

International entries are welcome.  Followers of my blog, old and new, are welcome to leave a second comment for a new entry.  To give you an idea of what kinds of projects I share here, here's a small sampling:

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Good luck!  Comments will be allowed for this giveaway from now through December 15 until 6 pm MST.  A winner will be chosen randomly that evening and will be notified via email.  Please make sure you are not a "no reply blogger" so that I can contact you.