Thursday, March 31, 2011

the mini design wall

The other day when I was putting together the first of these blocks I realized I needed a design wall to make laying them out easier.  Space comes at a premium around here and my particular side of our office area really has very little wall space.  So I conjured up this idea for a mini design wall that I could store easily on my shelf  and I think it turned out great.

My sewing desk is an old computer desk with a roll out table, originally for the computer keyboard, that I usually place my cutting mat on.  My new little design wall fits perfectly on that little roll out table so I can lay things out and then bring it right to my sewing machine to start piecing it together.
At some point I still might make a larger one to put against the back of the other bookshelf but we'll see...

So now there are two!  I'm really loving these blocks especially with all the bright scraps.  Its sort of tempting to want to make this into a large quilt.  I just love all these bright colors together.
In other happy news, I knocked out two more single girl blocks last night which means I'm four blocks from finishing the quilt top.  I had lost some steam but now we're nearly to push through and finish it up.

Today I'm linking up with:
giveaways    A Crafty Soiree

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

WIP Wednesday and other things that are distracting me from finishing my Single Girl

The other day I was looking at Lily's Quilts  and she showed off a new block she'd made.

I LOVED the block and thought it was a great block that could utilize scraps and was fairly quick and easy to sew up.  So I decided I wanted to put one together myself.

It was so easy since it utilizes 3 inch squares made into half square triangles and since I keep an old baby formula container full of them on my sewing desk, they were there just waiting for me to use them.

I adore this block and now I think I'm going to make a pile more for a wall hanging to go on one of my bedroom walls.  So pretty and thanks for the inspiration Lily's Quilts!

So it appears we've added yet another WIP to my already untamed piles.  What can you do?

This weekend while my husband was still in Singapore my dad came to stay and helped me procure and then paint some big old shelves for our playroom/office/sewing studio room.  We had used this old Walmart-y shelf Josh had from his college days and a toy box to sort of section off the different corners of the room.  It looked okay but sometimes I walked upstairs and wondered if I'd wandered into a garage sale things were sort of piled and arranged in odd patched together ways.  So dad and I painted the shelves and put the room together and now it looks like this.....

I love how things are now divided a little better and all the toys (mostly) are off the floor.  It keeps a cluttered, full space looking not quite as cluttered.

And that yellow?  Well originally I had planned on red but at the last minute my son declared that yellow is his favorite color and I thought," red is my go to color.  Why not branch out a little?"  I was pretty nervous about the yellow but now that its here and I've had a few days to get used to it, I like it.  It keeps things light and sunny.  Now I just need some curtains, a nice frame for my wall art I just bought and I think we'll be done!

And now for a collage of the current WIPS. After getting these shelves in I got myself all organized and have things set neatly, all ready to be worked on. 
(from L to R, clockwise- Current quilt tops still being pieced, quilt tops ready to be quilted, 3" square bucket ready for more Lily's Blocks, the ever ongoing hexagon quilt)

Today I'm linking up with:

                   Whimsy Couture WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Hexie Holder

Next month I'll be heading to Finland.  Its sort of the realization of a lifelong dream to head home to the motherland and visit family.  I'm so excited I can hardly sleep at night.

I've been planning and daydreaming all the things I can sit and do during my long flight to Helsinki and on the top of the list is some time with my hexies.

So I made this little hexie holder to tote them along for my Scandinavian adventure.

I found the fabric at Hart's here in Santa Cruz.  I am sort of over the moon in love with this fabric and kind of want to wallpaper my life in it.  I. love. it.   

Turns out zippers are tricky and that took me the longest.  I sort of made it up as I went along but I think it turned out pretty well and it is going to work great for toting hexie supplies on the airplane and anywhere else I'd need to bring them.

Its got one pocket for completed hexies, one pocket for templates

and then one fuller pocket for fabric pieces and a large pocket on the side to place completed blocks and little spots for travel scissors, thread, needles, thimble and even a threader should I decide to use one.

I love how it turned out and I think its going to be perfect for my trip.

Two more weeks till go time!

Fresh Poppy Design

Monday, March 28, 2011

A home for the hexies...

I picked these little pretties up for a project I'm hoping to have ready for Fabric Tuesday tomorrow, the linky over at Quilt Story. 

I'm off to Finland in two weeks (yay!) to visit family and I wanted to have a pretty little holder for my hexies so I can work on it during my flight.

I've got an idea in my head and we'll see if I can find some time today during nap time to get it done.  

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

While the cat's away, the mouse will play. With scissors.

I keep my ongoing hexagon project in a little basket downstairs on the side table next to the couch.  This way I can pick it up here and there as I find time to sit and work on it a bit.

I really love this little hexie project.

The other day I was upstairs, taking a shower or some other necessity while the baby napped and Carver was left downstairs enjoying some Fireman Sam or Barney for a bit.  

This is usually not a problem.  


When I came back downstairs, I found this guy in some trouble.

He's just recently take a fancy to scissors and all the fun that can be had welding them.

Apparently my little hexie basket's days of going unnoticed by this little fella are over.

I found him working on this quietly on the couch.

I thought I had just found him in time and this was the only damage done.  He said sorry mama and we had a talk about scissors and how we
  only use kiddo scissors and we 
only use them on paper
with mama helping.

Then last night I sat down to catch up on some Hulu with my hexie basket and I found this...

and this


Lucky for him he was sleeping quietly and cutely in his bed so when I went in to "talk to him" about this new discovery, 
he was looking so sweet and innocent I just had to laugh and kiss his cheeks and snuggle on him a bit.

I think I'm going to leave them so someday when the hexie quilt is done and old and we're wrapping his little baby in, I can look at those little scars and remember the curious little imp of a boy I was blessed to have and all the fun little rascally things he did.

After all, memories are what quilts are all about right?

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

An Ode to Bernie

One of the questions I get a lot is about what kind of sewing machine I use. 

The short answer is I sew on the Bernina Aurora 440QE.

While we're getting our bearings back around here (folding the MOUNTAIN of laundry accumulated during our sick-cation, putting away the flury of clothes left by my husband in his frenzy of packing for Daddy/Daughter time in Singapore, putting away a weekends worth of dishes and figuring out the baby gate question for the bottom of our stairs-still with me?) I thought I'd share a little about my favorite sewing tool-io.

I call her Bernie.

I've got a lot of love for my little Bernie.

Here are the things I love about my Bernina 440 QE

-Her nice extra L O N G sewing arm-
This is a machine specifically for quilters so they make the arm of the sewing machine extra long so as to make room for the quilt roll you have as you machine quilt on this baby.  I've tried quilting up to a good sized twin and it was a taddish heavy but totally do-able.  Very nice for this quilty girl who doesn't have much of a budget to send out quilt tops for quilting.

-The nice, extra large sewing surface slide on table.
This too really helps with the machine quilting as well as piecing.  I don't think I could ever go back to a regular sized sewing machine work surface.

-Her free motion quilting foot
Machine quilting on Bernie is a dream.  The free motion quilting foot plugs in and you can just go as fast or as slow as you want and her little sensor tells the motor how fast to go to keep up with you.  Its fantastic and makes it possible to EASILY do my own machine quilting.

All the fun feet she comes with
Before I bought my Bernie, I'd never used a different sewing foot than the basic one that comes with it.  In fact I don't think I even knew what the sewing foot was. Much less that there could be other ones.  But then I took the free classes that came with my Bernie purchase and as we worked through the different feet, well, lets just say I have a little wishlist for all the fancy feet I'd like to get Bernie.  

My favorite extra (didn't come with purchase) foot is my #10 Edgestich foot.  Love it!

On my wishlist are:
the binder attachment
the straight stitch hemmer
the ruffler
the button sew on foot

The embroidery arm!  FUN!
Admittedly I don't use this little function all the time.  BUT when I do.  Its awesome.  Every time I get it set up its all I can do to keep myself from pulling out all my clothes and labeling them as my own.

There are a lot of similar machines of other makes (Janome, Viking, etc...) that have their embroidery software built in which I admit would be easier to move around.  The Bernina uses a laptop for the software which makes for a full sewing table.  BUT it also makes for a nice big screen to create your design.

-She's solid, my Bernie
All metal parts makes for a heavy, not so "let's grab the machine and go to sewing class" machine.  But she's solid and in the four years I've had her she continues to run like a dream.  Bernina's are excellent machines and last forever.  A dear friend of mine has her Bernina that she got for her wedding (over 30 years ago!) and it still works beautifully.

A couple of buying tips
for anyone (who made it to the end of this long post)
who is looking to buy a machine.

These baby's aren't cheap (BUT TOTALLY WORTH IT) so its good to make sure you shop around to get the best price.  My feeling is, if you are going to spend this kind of money get what you want, but get a good deal.

Visit all the sewing machine dealers in your area and test drive their machines

Decide what features are really important to you.  
There are all sorts of whistles and bells that will woo you but once you get it home, does it really matter to you if you have 3500 embellishment stitches or will 250 suffice?
(by the way, I think in the four years I've had my machine, I've used maybe 10 of my 180-but some people use a ton)

Find out if there are any sewing shows or expos coming to your area and buy your machine there.
I bought mine here.
They usually have an exhibition area where they have all the demos.  Buy a demo model and save a bundle.  You can wheel and deal here too.

So if you've made it to the end of this post, you must be interested in buying a machine.

I wish you good luck!  

And good sewing once you find it:)

So now lets hear what you sew on...

Monday, March 21, 2011

Coming back: Inside and Outside

First of all 
thank you Thank you THANK YOU
all for such lovely get well wishes for my boys. 

I am happy to report that they are all doing better and as far as I can tell, 
(Although this bug seems to give short 24-48 hour breaks before it comes back with a vengeance so we'll see.....)

the me "not feeling 100% myself" of last Wednesday, by Thursday afternoon left me a hollow, waste of a mama on the bathroom floor.
So I apologize for the lack of thank you responses to your kind emails as I was pretty ill myself for awhile.

Which begs the question,
Who takes care of mama when mama is sick?  
Dad still has to go to work, helpful neighbors can't take my kids since I wouldn't dare subject them to our germs and loving parents are hundreds of miles away.  
What is a mama to do?

Anyway.  We survived.

Enough of that.

Since I have been too sick to do any sewing worthy of an update or post of its own, I'll share a little of my window of sunshine and health, Thursday morning.
Which is a little creation of its own.
Just not of the fabric variety.

I love to work outside.  Which is weird since I cried and pouted my way through many a Saturday morning family work party outside growing up.  But at any rate, now I really enjoy it and love that we moved to a new home last summer with a "fresh canvas" shall we say of a backyard.  We tried to do some planting last summer when we moved in but the dirt was so poor that it needed a seasons worth of TLC before it was ready for anything to survive much in it.

Thursday morning the boys were feeling better and the sun was shining so we took a little trip to Home Depot and picked up a few plants and some potting soil to start our little vegi starts.  Carver and I spent the rest of the morning while Asher napped digging and raking and trimming and worm hunting.

There is something so heartening to me about watching my boy chase worms about the garden all morning.  He kept telling me, "mama, this is a WORUM, not a snake, okay?"  Okay.

Here is my before shot.....

and here is my after shot....
I got these fantastic bags of bulbs at Costco (heart!) a few weeks ago for shade loving plants and those are all planted in there, ready to pop up and fill in the blank spaces. 

Next on the docket...
Replant the grass and this lovely side

Here's to a coming spring with improved health and many more days out here digging, planting and chasing "worums" with my boys.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Or the STILL sick report

My poor boys are still sick.  We thought we were over it Saturday night but Sunday night we had a resurgence of sick (during dinner thank you very much) and here we are, STILL keeping the couch warm and getting our money's worth from Netflix.

Somehow I seem to have escaped the worst of it but I'm not feeling 100% so I don't mind the quiet time just snuggling together, trying to rest our bodies so we can be back in full shape next week when the sunshine comes back.  At least its rainy-ish and grey outside.  On these kind of days you sort of want to be snuggled up with a fire in the fireplace watching a good movie.  

I set up my sewing machine downstairs so I can sew while the boys rest on the couch.  I have pinned another round of single girl blocks and my goal is to be up to 12 finished by tonight.  I sewed my first 8 together and laid it out on my bed and I loved it so much it got me revved up again ready to tackle some more of those curvy curves.  

And we've made some progress on my postcards from granny quilt blocks.

Our biggest work in progress around here though really is just getting these boys better.  Its so sad to see two usually active, wiggly, giggly boys turned quiet and melancholy for such a long time.  The other day Carver told me he was done with TV and that my friends is a true testament to how way too long this has all lasted.

So that's the WIP update!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, March 14, 2011

One more for Asher

 While Asher does have a crib in the "boys' room,"  since both boys still have kinda different sleep/napping schedules, it is still just easier to have Asher sleep in the pack and play in Mady's room since she won't be needing it till this summer.  I really liked my BFF (can I still say BFF if I'm not 15 anymore?) Jamie's idea of laying a quilt down on the bottom of the pack and play and so with my extra blocks from little Nellie's last week, I made Asher his own pack and play quilt.

I used some leftover red minky-like fabric to back it and since that fabric is so fluffy by itself, I didn't bother to use any batting which left it a super soft, LIGHT blanket. 

I liked how the minky as backing/batting worked out and I think I'll be doing more of that for baby quilts in the future.  It was super easy to work with and I just quilted straight lines across like I did with Nellie's quilt.  I had to be a little more attentive to bunching since the minky is so stretchy and there just wasn't as much there to hold things in one place while quilting it but it wasn't really that tricky.  I used a little adhesive basting spray before I started and that seemed to keep things under control.  

I really love this quilt and how it spices up the pack and play.  It also makes it really easy to keep clean since my little one is QUITE the drooler and its a lot easier to pull this up and throw it in the washer rather than have to pull the bottom up to get the sheet off.

Its the simple things, you know?

I linked up today with:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Checking in and inviting you to join....

So my two little boys are doing better. (yay!)  We even ventured outside today for some trike riding and a trip to Jack in the Box to spend some coupons the hubsy has been saving.

Unfortunately now the big boy (my sweet hubsy) has come down with the bug.  


While I've been stuck inside since Thursday I've been sewing like a maniac and made much progress on my WIPs I posted about here.

In other news,
I ran across chatter about this little event

 happening next Friday night and since its basically what I do every night once I put my boys to bed,
I thought, lets make it official and link up with my fellow late night quilty sisters.

Sounds like fun, no?

Click over and link up!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

We interupt this blog for a brief message from Barfy McGee and his brother Ralphy O'Sickums

So Tuesday my Carver woke up with a barf and we proceded to have a sick day in front of endless episodes of Kipper and Ni-Hao Kai-Lan.  In between barfs he was bouncing off the couch as per usual so I figured he wasn't that sick and this would all be short lived.  

In fact Wednesday he was totally fine and I thought it was all over.
But then during morning cuddles today he barfed all over my bed and about 9:30 his baby brother decided to follow in his footsteps and the rest is as they say, history.

I pulled out just about every quilt in the house and covered the floor because while Carver can give warning and aim toward a barf bucket, my little Asher  

This was a lesson we learned thankfully in the kitchen over linoleum 
(enter third costume change of the day for mama).

The quilts covering the floor has been pure genius.  I'm sure my landlords will thank us for it.

There's been less bouncing around today and more barfing than I care to talk about.  
Let's just say I've changed my clothes four times and done as many loads of laundry.

So we may be a little quiet over here while I keep the "ginerella" flowing and the saltine cracker bowl full and cuddle my boys while we catch up on all the Fireman Sam, Barney and Wonder Pets Netflix has to offer.

We'll be back.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

WIP Wednesday: Exhibits A through F of my quilting ADD

This weeks WIP shows my serious quilting ADD.  Turns out I have six current works in progress.  And actually there's more but those are so not getting worked on right now, I'm not going to count them.

I think this happens when I set out on big quilts because every once in awhile I need a quick shot of "finished product" to keep me going.  This single girl is taking time (which is fine, I do love my single girl) and I think she's the catalyst for all this frenzied small projecting.

Or maybe I just can't ever shut my brain off and get too excited about all the fun quilts there are to make.

Maybe a combo of the two?


Here's a new project that has been percolating in my brain for a few weeks and has now jumped into the actual hands on creating process.  This will likely be a long-term ongoing quilt too.  In our Relief Society room at church we have this leftover basketball hoop studdery on the wall right up front.  Lovely it is not and the other night at craft night our president asked me if I might be interested in creating a little something to cover up the basketball hoop leftovers.  Of course!  So I thought it would be fun to have the other sisters help in creating a project.  The assignment will be to create a quilt block representing your favorite hymn and I've dubbed her the Hymns of the Restoration Quilt.  
We'll call that name a WIP too since it sounds a little stuffy to me.

Mine is Love at Home.  I don't know if its my favorite hymn per se but I do really love it and I think it makes for a sweet quilt block
"there is beauty all around, when there's love at home...."

I've also been really wanting to do a postcard quilt ever since I saw this one in American Patchwork and Quilting a year or so ago.  I got some great fabrics from the bargain garden at the quilt show last weekend that were perfect.  So last night when my husband was using the computer when I was going to blog, I figured  well I'll just do something else till he's done.  And so I busted out four postcard blocks.

I'm calling this one Postcards from Granny because the fabrics sort of remind me of grandma prints.  And when I quilt, I often think of my Grandma Sampson who was an avid quilter and I miss her sometimes.  Quilts are her postcards from Heaven to me.  Corny, yes.  True, yes.

I'm loving them so far.
I've really been wanting to create a larger quilt to hang on this blank wall in our family room and I think this postcard quilt will be great here when it's done.

And then there is this corner of WIP's

I've been plugging away here and there on my little hexagon quilt.  This is such a nice little something to do while I sit outside on these nice, sunny pre-spring days with Carver while he rides his trike up and down the street. 
 I think its doubled in size this week.    

Here we have my leftover blocks from Little Nellie's raw edge circle quilt.  I'm thinking I'm going to put them together and make my own bottom of the pack and play quilt for Asher.  I have some red minky that I think I'll use for backing.

The other project pictured here is a pile of blocks I made with the leftovers from another quilt.  I'm still not sure what I want to do with those blocks.  I've got writers block for quilts (quilter's block?) on that one so its in a holding pattern for now.  But it IS on my mind to figure it out so I figured we'd let her sit in on the photo shoot.

Phew!  So there you have it.  

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
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