Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For Double The Fun...

Here's my 2nd bundle for the Guest Curator Contest at Sew Lux Fabrics!

Just humor me, would ya?  I don't always know what I'm doing when I'm pulling fabric together for a project, but I sure do love to try!

I give you Fanciful Pheasant -

Get it?  Peacocks...they're pheasants...and pretty fancy ones at that!  I almost named it Phanciful Pheasant, but I thought that might be a little much.  So, enjoy.  Pretty blues and golds and purple-y pinks.  Oh so pretty, if I do say so myself!
If you're not inspired to join in on the contest, at least go check out the Sew Lux Fabric shop!  It's run by a mother/daughter team and they are stellar.  I've ordered from them on more than one occasion and they have never let me down.  On top of excellent customer service and a great selection, they have wonderful deals and post lots of fun stuff on their blog.  (btw, no one asked me to say these things...I just love their shop!)
Stay tuned...I've got another post up my sleever...I actually made a couple of things!!  Go me!

Have Ya Heard?

Sew Lux Fabrics, one of my fave little fabric shops, is having a Guest Curator Contest!  Go ahead and visit their blog for more details, but the quickie version is that you can pick 8 prints/solids from their shop, make a mosaic, post it on their blog, and be entered to win your bundle AND have your bundle for sale in their shop?  I know, right?  AWESOME!

And, for TWICE the fun, you can enter two bundles!!  Feeling sassy and serious?  Cool and warm?  Wintery and summery?  Well, go for it...make two bundles to satisfy BOTH halves of your personality.  The only downside is that today is the last day to enter...so get over there and get curating!!

My first bundle is a little something I call Beauty Berry:

This time of year I'm always drawn to luscious gold, deep berry, and warm grays.  I was drawn to the floral Ladies Stitching Club print and built my bundle from there, with accents of purple-y pinks, grays, and yellows.  It's cozy and fall-like to me.  I hope you like it!
So go...check out the contest...and link up your own bundle if you're so inclined!  Stay tuned...I'll be posting about my 2nd bundle very shortly!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fave Finishes

I'm super-excited to announce that the Mo-Stash Bee is now full!  If you're bummed that you didn't make it in (or are just reading about this A-MAZING bee for the first time), please feel free to join the group...you can still hang out, see what we're up to, and be 1st in line for our next round of sign-ups.  Granted, we won't be starting round 2 until July, but that gives you plenty of time to figure out all of the details of the quilt you want to make.  Who knows...maybe the most fabulous tutorial for the most beautiful quilt block will be posted in June, and if you're in the bee already, you won't be able to use it.  So there ya go.

I thought I'd share a couple of projects that I completed during my "blogging break"...I say that in jest because it wasn't a planned break...it just kinda happened!

Here's my absolute favorite finish - it's a quilt I made (with the help of the 9 other awesome ladies)  for the Love Circle of do. Good Stitches.  If you haven't heard of do. Good Stitches, go check it out.  It is a gigantic charity sewing bee that is the brainchild of Rachel of Stitched in Color (she may be a bit of an idol of mine...just sayin').  DGS is made up of several circles and each circle makes a quilt a month to donate to a charity.  I've been part of do. Good Stitches for about a year, making blocks for others to make into quilts, but this is the first quilt that I made and donated.  And, I just LOVE how it turned out, don't you?

During our move I ended up taking a quick leave of absence from DGS, so I had to leave the Love Circle, but I'm back in the swing of things and am now part of the Bliss Circle.  It's another amazing group of ladies and I'm so proud and honored to be able to be part of this special bee.

I used Elizabeth's Patchwork Wheel Block tutorial to make the quilt above, as well as this table runner...another of my fave finishes over the summer:

My sister is a 7th and 8th grade Language Arts teacher in a teeny town in New Hampshire.  This was an end-of-the-year gift for her classroom para-professional.  Her favorite color is orange and my sister told me she cried when she opened it...so, I think it did the trick!

I'll be back to share some of the things I'm working on now...and, I just might do a quick post about Sewing Summit.  I can't believe I haven't even mentioned that I went to Sewing Summit last month.  Uber-fun!!

(me and my quilting bestie, Whit, at Sewing Summt!)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Introducing: The Mo-Stash Bee!

Hello to all of you beautiful modern fabric stashionistas!!  The year is winding down a bit and we KNOW you're starting to think about which bees and/or swaps you're interested in committing to for 2013.  And, ya know what would be better than signing up for any ol' bee?  Being part of a brand new bee that my uber-awesome friend, Whitney, and I started...that's what!!

Whitney (you may know her as The Peacock Tree) and I were talking about how tough it is to commit to a year-long bee.  People go MIA...people lose their mojo...people feel like doing other stuff.  So, we (well, SHE, and she was gracious enough to ask me to join) thought it'd be super-cool to get a bunch of gals together who love modern fabric and start a stash bee that lasts just 6 short months.  It's your typical stash bee...every month starting in January someone will host and choose a block...the other folks in the bee with make 2 blocks with fantabulous fabric from their stash and send them of to the host...easy peasy, right?  I present to you the Modern Stash Quilting Bee...better known as the:

Sounds peachy, right?  And when Tom Selleck is involved, you just gotta join!  Ok, so I may have embellished the Tom Selleck bit in my last post.  The bee isn't exactly about him or really have anything to do with him other than he's our mascot, but that 'stache!!  How long can you resist that 'stache?  Not long, I bet!

And better yet, we've dubbed all of you Stashionistas - how cool is that?  You covet your stash...you love modern fabric...you can't wait for the best new lines to be released...you probably even hoard some of your best stuff...you know who you are!

OK, Stashionistas...RUN over to the group and join.  We'll have an official registration form to fill out soon if you want to commit.  For now, at least join the group and follow along.  We can't wait to start!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Back By Popular Demand!

Ok, ok, that's exaggerating just a bit...well, a lot.  BUT, when I was off spending time with my tribe (as another lovely attendee, Suzy, put it) at the Sewing Summit, one of my fans (hahaha!) did ask me when/if I was ever going to post to my blog again.  So, to oblige Julie and all of my other adoring public, I have decided to blog again!!  Aren't y'all excited?

I can't promise out-of-this-world posts, or even semi-frequent ramblings, but I do hope to continue to share my sewing adventures with you...no matter how mundane or sporadic.

So what have you been up to since March?  Well, we moved to VA...that's the biggest news, I guess.  We rented out our house in New Hampshire and made our way down to the outskirts of DC in July.  It was a rough adjustment for some of us (mostly me!) but now that the boys are all settled into school and activities, all is well.  We're renting a house a couple of miles away from Paul's office, which is really nice, since he tends to work long hours.  We've committed to try to make the most of our stint here by seeing/doing as much as we can.  It's fab to be so close to "The District" (as it's called around here) - so many fun things to do in DC!  Did you know they have a Postal Museum?  Me neither, but I plan on checking that out one of these days!

Sewing-wise I've been stitching here and there, making bee blocks, doing swaps, etc.  Basically all of the stuff I was doing before and then some...just not posting about it!  How sneaky am I?  If you want to see what I've made lately, you can check out my flickr photostream HERE.  It's not everything, but it'll give you a good snapshot.

The nice thing about our new house is that I still have a dedicated sewing space...and it's NOT in the laundry room!  Our basement is actually a walk-out/daylight basement, so there are windows down there...MUCH better for sewing!  It doesn't feel like a dungeon.  I can't say much about what you can get for your money in this area (it's not much, in case you were wondering), but I am grateful for my corner of the finished basement to do my sewing.

One of my best finishes lately is a little number I put together for one of my very favorite swaps - the Little Quilt - Sew, Vote, Send Group.  Here's what I made:

I personally love it and I hope the gal I sent it to does, too!  The funny thing about this mini is it was the start of my very first quilting project.  Around March or April of 2011, I came across the Blogger's Pillow Party, which was hosted by the lovely Rachel of Stitched In Color.  I'm certain y'all know Rachel, but if you dont, RUN to her blog right now...she's fantastic!  So, I run across the party and was inspired by a pillow I saw there - it's excellent, right?  I thought "maybe I could do something like that"...so I chopped up nine charm squares from the gorgeous Nouveau line by Sentimental Studios for Moda. 
And, well, long story short, those little squares got put in a drawer so I could try other things.  I finally pulled them out when I got back from the Sewing Summit.  Instead of making a pillow, it is now a mini, but it feels good to have completed a project I started so long ago.  And, it probably looks 1,000 times better than it would have looked had I actually finished it back in 2011...I've learned a ton since then!
It's great to be back in the swing of things...let me know what you've been up to these last several months.  I'll be back to share some of the other projects I've completed and other things in the works.
PLUS, I will have a very cool announcement on Monday...right here on this little ol' blog!  If you like modern fabric, Tom Selleck, and dipping into your stash, this might be right up your alley...stay tuned!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Drumroll, Please!

I know y'all are just dying, wondering who won the fabulous Charming Travelers giveaway.  Let me first tell you that this charm pack is chock FULL of fabricy goodness.  I snagged about 20 of Diane's charms, so there is still plenty of yumminess from the giveaway creator herself (I'm talking Hope Valley goodness included, people!).  I reloaded the pack with some of my favorites...you'll just have to wait and see what the stack beholds.  So, 56 delicious, drool-worthy squares are going to....

Kim of One Krafty Kitty Mama, who said "How exciting! I would love the chance to pet these charms!!! LOL".  (as a side note: I had 33 comments, one of which was a duplicate and one was left by a quilting buddy who is out of the country, so that left us with 31 entrants).

So, Kim...I'm going to send you an email and once you send me your address, this sweet stack-o-goodies will be on their way to you!

Thank you to all of those who entered.  Check out Kim's blog soon for another chance to win.  And keep tabs on Diane's blog to follow it around the country!

Monday, April 9, 2012

The One About Moving...

Some of you may have heard...not sure if I mentioned it on here at all...that we were waiting to hear if the man of the house got a promotion.  Well, the GREAT news is that he did!  Hip-hip-hooray for my honey!  The tough part of the deal is that we have to move.  I've moved a lot over the years...I've lived on both coasts, in the mountains, in the south, in cities and suburbs, on Army posts, in apartments and in our lovely little home here in New Hampshire.  So, the idea of moving isn't so bad, especially since we've always known that this is part of the deal with Paul's job.  BUT, we've never moved with school-aged children before.  We've never moved after living somewhere for 6 years.  I think it'll be a hard but awesome experience for all of us.  We'll be moving to the Northern Virginia area - Paul will be working in McLean, which is right outside of DC.  How cool will it be to live so close to DC?  So cool!  Paul has to report in a month...the rest of us will head down after school gets out and our house sells...so, sometime this summer.  Lots will be happening around here!

One thing that I won't be doing much of in the next few months is swapping.  Oh how I will miss it so!  I just finished up a couple of good ones and have a couple of small ones left on my plate.  It has taken all of my self-control and some pleading to friends to help me NOT sign up for any right now.  There are a few great ones that I'm bummed I can't do this time around:  the Modern She Made swap, the Potholder Pass, the Tabletop Swap, and the Fab Little Pincushion Swap, just to name a few.

Luckily I've been involved in some pretty great swaps lately.  Here are a couple I finished up -

The Scrappy Mug Rug Swap.  I love making minis...they're so quick and fun!  It's great to try out new blocks and ideas and techniques on a small scale so you don't spend too much time (and fabric!) on something that may not turn out fab.  My partner for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap was the crazy-fun Kristen of Gock's Frocks.  She likes bright and scrappy, just like me, so it wasn't hard to be inspired for her mug rug.  Do you like it?  I tried some organic, wavy quilting and I just love how it turned out!

I received an amazing mug rug, too...I'll share it with you tomorrow...once I finally take pictures of it.

I also took part in the Doll Quilt Swap.  It's one of those swaps that can be a little intimidating (at least for me) because of the amazing talent in the group.  Not that my other swaps weren't full of awesomely-talented ladies and gentlemen, but there was just something about the last round or two of the Doll Quilt Swap that made me a little nervous to join.  I just sent this puppy out this morning, so mum's the word on its recipient:

This swap comes complete with some rules...I can be a rule-follower when I want to be, so I was game!  We had to make a quilt using at least 6 blocks, one of which had to be a log cabin, flying geese, churn dash/shoofly, drunkards path, or N.Y. beauty.  PLUS, we had to use a non-white solid.  So, after taking it all in and checking out my partner's mosaic and doing some stalking, I decided to do hexagon log cabin blocks, a la Lee of Freshly Pieced.  I made a pin cushion a couple of months back using her Hexing Around block and I just wanted to do it again...they're way fun to make!  I put them in a staggered setting on a spring green background.  I wasn't sure about the color at first (I mean, hello, white goes with everything!) but now I just love it...I think with the quilting and the orange binding the whole thing just works.  I sure hope my partner loves it as much as I do!

The last thing I sent off is a secret.  As soon as the recipient gets it, I'll fill you in...it's a good one!

So, between my swaps, bee blocks, other sewing, and moving, I've got lots going on!  I'll keep you posted on everything - it's a whirlwind around here!!  Thank you to everyone who has signed up for my Charming Travelers giveaway.  If you haven't, check it out HERE.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Charming Travelers have arrived!

People...it's here....it's HERE!!   The Charming Travelers package arrived at my door yesterday and I couldn't be more excited!  I know you guys are all thinking "you didn't mention anything about a package...what are you so excited about, Deb?"  Y'all are going to LOVE this! 

If you've been reading many blogs or been on flickr much lately, there's no doubt you've seen charm swaps popping up all over the place.  If you've been lucky enough to get a spot in one, you may even be swapping your little heart out already.  But - what if we took a charm pack, sent it around the country, let people choose the charms they wanted, had them replace the charms they chose with new charms, asked them to post about it and host a giveaway on their blog, and then have them send the new stack to the next winner?  How fun would that be?  The most fun, right?  I don't know about you, but I have a thing for charms.  When I started sewing it was probably one of the first things I fell hard for.  So many different fabrics in one 5" stack.  It's heavenly, don't you think?  I digress... 

I can't take even a smidge of credit for this.  I've mentioned it before...I'm not all that creative.  I'm always thinking "man, I wish I thought of that!"  The great thing is, I'm getting to know some of the amazing people that DO think of this stuff!!  The fabulous Diane of from blank pages came up with this fantastic idea of a traveling charm pack.  Click on the picture to get the whole lowdown -

from blank pages...

In a nutshell, Diane had a giveaway last week (well, she had a LOT of giveaways...she was doing a lot of celebrating!) - one of them was for the traveling charm pack.  And, yours truly won it...I know, that in itself is reason to celebrate!  It's a prize with a twist.  You get the whole stack of charms, BUT  you have to make a few promises if ya want it (don't worry, these are promises you can keep!) -
  • you must be an active blogger (so you can post about it and host your own giveaway!)
  • you must reside in the US
  • before sending the charm pack off to the next winner, you must be sure there are 56 - 5" x 5" squares of fabric in the stack - please no yucky fabrics
  • to help keep the map updated, you must fill out the quick and easy form to let Diane know where you are!
  • if the charm pack arrives full of unwanted charms, let Diane know and we'll clear it out and fill it back up with some more beautiful fabrics! 
So, you get the stack, pull out the ones you want, fill it up with gorgeous new charms to equal 56, post about it on your blog, have a giveaway, choose a winner, and send it on its merry way to your winner.  Then the whole thing starts all over again.  Diane's keeping track of its whereabouts and we can all follow it on her fab map - I wonder where it's going to end up next!

If this sounds like fun and YOU'D like a chance to win the charm pack, just leave me a comment...any comment will do.  One entry per person.  Mr. Random will choose a winner on Friday.  In the meantime, I'll be stacking and restacking and choosing and petting and swooning over the charms...there are some really good ones in there!  Good luck!

Friday, March 23, 2012

You Should Really Go Someday...

No big quilty news here today.  I have been sewing up some swap/bee blocks, but I haven't had a chance to take any pictures.  Six down, though, and 6 to go, so not too shabby!

Today is my wedding anniversary.  Paul and I got married on Turtle Island in Fiji 11 years ago.  It's one of those magical places that seems like it's only real in a brochure.  But, trust me, it's just as marvelous in real life.  I hope we can go back some day.  We've always said for our 20th...so, we'll see.  Here's what it was like -

Fabulous, right??  Yes, indeedy, it was!  Today my littlest guy and I had lunch with the man of the house - the food was delicious, but it was a little pricey at $11 for a club sandwich.  We're not huge "celebrators" so the rest of the day will be low-key.  I have a yumm-o dinner planned and I just baked a cheesecake for dessert.  Tomorrow night we have a sitter and we're going to a hockey game.  Can't wait for a date with my man!

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!  I'll be back to share my my sewing tidbits next week!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

I May Have Pulled A Muscle...

...doing happy dances over the fantastic swap packages I received! 

The best things about swapping, I think, are meeting new quilty friends and getting to make something fabulous for someone else.  But, the bonus is that you get something in return!!  And boy did I luck out!

So I sent off two swaps recently...the For The Love of Solids swap and The Pillow Talk {Swap}.  My partners for those swaps received and loved their packages (or, at least they said they loved them, so they're super-sweet either way!). 

My FTLOS swap parter was the uber-cute Hope, of Going Sew Crazy.  She's had a lot going on lately so she wasn't able to post a lot during the swap...so that was really challenging, but I also felt like it gave me free reign (within her preferences, of course!).  I had a fabulous time making her pillow once I got going and got all of those pieces cut!  My swap package came over the weekend and I was crazy-excited to see that my secret partner was my very good bud, Whitney.  How awesome is that?  Even though we don't "know" know each other, we seem to have a ton in common, so of course she nailed it.  This is what was in my box:

So many lovely goodies!  I love the pillow cover.  I really need to run out and get a couple of pillow forms...this poor cover is sitting on my sewing table for the moment, but it can't wait to be upstairs on my couch!!  Isn't it just lovely??  Then Whitney goes and adds in some fabulous extras.  She made me penny fabric weights...I mentioned that I'd been meaning to make some but hadn't gotten around to it.  So, she did it for me!  What a great gal!  And the colored pencils?  Another great addition...I'd said that I'd been using the boys' crayons to color my sketches...that maybe I should get something for my very own.  Bam, now I have some!  She knew I wasn't going to get around to it.  She knew I was going to keep using those crayons.  Then there was a great sketch book, scraps, a cutie elephant, and Jelly Bellys!!  Paul and I toured the Jelly Belly factory years and years ago when we lived in California, so I always smile when I see them.  Anyway, all in all, a FANTASTIC package from a fab chiquita!

And then there was The Pillow Talk {Swap}.  My partner was the wicked talented FABRIC DESIGNER Mo Bedell!  Yeah, no pressure there.  I mean, this girl CREATES for a living...how the swap mamas thought I should make something for her still baffles me.  I pretty much consider myself NOT creative...maybe I should reconsider that??  Luckily Mo loved the pillow I made her so it's all good.  And, I got really lucky with my partner, Sue.  She made me an absolutely fab pillow...I love it!  Don't you?

Bright and cheery and scrappy...just my style!  Check out the free-motion quilting.  I'm so jealous of Sue's skills!  I really need to find some time to figure it out.  She also included an awesome zipper pouch and cute granny square mug rug (no way I'm setting a cup of coffee on that thing...it's hanging up on my wall with my other awesome minis).  Sue really got it right...the colors are just perfect for me and I just love everything about it.  I'll have to get a pic of the back when I get a pillow form (shame on me for not having any on hand!!)...she did an awesome job on the back, too!

So, there you have it...two fab swap packages all in a week's time.  Am I lukcy or what?  I'd say lucky for sure!!  I have two more swap wrapping up shortly - the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap and the Doll Quilt Swap.  I finished up my mug rug and I'll show that to you soon.  My doll quilt is still in my head, but it looks gorgeous in there!!  I'll be knocking that out after I work on some bee blocks this week.

I must find some stitching time today...it's so hard with a three year old who desires a constant playmate and the gorgeous weather!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PSA: Charm-Tastic Color Swap

This is just a quickie little Public Sewing Announcement:

Who doesn't want a mailbox full of rainbow-y charm square goodness?  Exactly...NO ONE!  That's why you should pop on over here and join the Charm-Tastic Color Swap, hosted by the lovely Sew Sane Jane.  I already did, so you know at least one person if you do!  You also need to fill out a quickie form on her blog, so go here and scroll to the bottom and do that, too.  All of the swap details are in the blog post and in the flickr group.

I just finished up a charm swap hosted by Kati at From the Blue Chair.  It was fantastic - I got so many different fabrics that I could just squeal!  Fabrics that I'd been eyeing...fabrics that I should have been eyeing...and now I have charms in all of the colors of the rainbow - perfect for small projects and block swaps.  I am a sucker for charm squares anyway, so getting such a bright, happy, rainbow of charms is just even better.

So, go sign up...hurry, though...sign-ups end the 25th or whenever the slots fill up, whichever comes first.  Happy swapping!

Whatcha Been Doin'?

I haven't been churning out a zillion projects lately, but I have finished a couple of biggies.  Well, not biggie in size, really, but big as in important...like they had to be really good!  Remember how I was all sign-up-happy back in January?  Swappy things are starting to be due!!  I've sent out 3 swaps lately, two of which were pretty intensive.  Let's have a show-and-tell, shall we?

First was a swap for the Bee a {modern} Swapper bee.  It's such a cool bee.  It's a typical online bee every other month...and during the other months we have the option to swap a small item.  Fun, right?  I'm all about a good swap.  We did pincushions in February and let me tell you, I had so much fun with it.  I think I might churn out a bunch of pincushions if I can find some time.  They're cute, functional, and so quick!  I made mine for the fabulous Heather...she loves Kate Spain, linen, and owls, so here's what I came up with:

I know...terrible picture.  What are ya gonna do?  I'm just sucky at taking pics...you should know that by now!  I was trying to get decent light in my house at night...I put the pincushion on a piece of paper and then put it under my lamp on my dresser.  I think a light box would be better, right?  Sigh....a project for another day.  Anyhow, I LOVE this Hexing Around The Block block from Lee.  I have another trick up my sleeve with this block, but you'll have to come back for that!  I made it with Kate Spain's Good Fortune, a cute owl print that I got in a scrap pack from Starlit Nest on etsy (Alison is awesome...stop by her shop!), and backed it with Essex linen.  Oh, and I filled it with crushed walnuts.  I love that it gives the pincushion some weight.  I happen to love this little cutie and luckily Heather likes it, too!

Next up was the For The Love of Solids Swap.  This swap entails making a project entirely from solids based on your partner's colors.  This one was tricky for me - partly because the pinks were a little out of my comfort zone and because my partner wasn't very chatty (which is OK...not complaining...just sayin'!).  I ended up loving it in the end, but I wasn't sure about the design when I sketched it.  So, it kind of sat...then when I realized I needed to cut over 300 pieces for the top it kind of sat some more.  But, when my hubs was out of town I buckled down and knocked this out: 

I made it into a pillow cover, which can double as a mini quilt if my partner decides she'd rather not have it hanging out on her couch.  It was inspired by Lee's Scrappy Rainbow Placemats (love Lee!).  Do you like it?  I do!  I used Essex linen for the background...linen seems to be popular these days.  I love it!

Oh, and the assignment was to make a "big" item and include either a store-bought or handmade small item.  I decided to make another pin cushion.  Remember, they're totally fun!

Then the last swap project I wrapped up the other day was for The Pillow Talk {Swap}.  I'd been eyeing this swap for a few rounds and finally had the nerve to sign up.  There are a lot of superb folks in this swap, which can be a little intimidating.  I worked until almost the deadline on this one because it wasn't until my third try that I came up with something that I love.  My partner said she likes lots of color...good thing, 'cuz so do I!  What do you think?

I happen to love it and I may just revisit this design to make one for myself.  My only regret is that I don't have a pillow form big enough to show you what this looks like as a pillow.  Oh well, maybe my partner will post a picture of what it looks like.  I'll reveal my partners for the last two swaps when I'm sure they've gotten my packages.  I backed this one in Essex linen (I'm on a linen kick!) and leftover blocks from the front, but I didn't get a good snap of it, so just trust me that it's cute!  I also finished this one off a little differently.  I didn't want to add binding because the pillow is already busy.  And, I didn't want exposed seams on the inside.  So, I made a French seam instead.  Basically I sewed around the whole thing with wrong sides together, then trimmed the seam allowance, turned it all inside out and sewed about a 1/3 inch seam.  Then I turned it right-side-out and all of the seams are hidden!  Not sure if I explained that well, but trust me, it works!

Next on my list are some bee/swap blocks and then two more swaps due in the next few weeks.  Oh, and a baby quilt for my Mom's boss.  It's cut and ready to piece...just gotta get 'er done.  I'm excited to get started on all of it!  But first, I'm putting together a tutorial for the Margaret's Daisies I made (the potholders).  I made another one and snapped pics all along the way.  Now to organize it all into a tutorial for you!  I'll hold off posting it until I get word that the little gift I made with it arrived safely at its new home.  Yipee for surprises!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Hope I Nailed It!

So, remember how I said I got a little sign-up happy at the beginning of the year?  I'm having a ton of fun with all of these swaps, but it's somewhat nerve-wracking...at least for me.  Some of the people in these swaps are bonafide superstars!  I just sent these out this morning for the Potholder Pass -

I really hope my partner likes them.  I love them, but I was so nervous about choosing a design because, well, she's really, REALLY good and seems to like a lot of unique paper-piecing and super-cool stuff...stuff I didn't think I could really do.  Luckily, the pattern I ended up choosing was pretty straight-forward, but really makes an impact.  My partner commented that she liked them when I posted my in-progress pics, so hopefully the finished product will be a hit, too!

The pattern is Margaret's Daisy by Christine Thresh.  If you want to try your hand at one, here's a link to the pattern - http://www.winnowing.com/margaret.html.  Keep in mind that her pattern is for a 3" finished block.  I doubled the pattern and added a border to make my potholders.  The great thing is that the super-talented Christine gave me permission to do a tutorial of her block and show you how I enlarged her template and added the border.  I'm so excited to share it with you!  Once I get a couple more projects off my plate I will get this in order.  You'll probably crack up at my "on the fly" and "messy" approach to paper-piecing, but hopefully it'll at least be entertaining, if not helpful.

Back to the studio...time to get moving on my next swap...a pincushion for another wicked talented gal!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Quilt From My Heart

I finished a quilt a couple of weeks ago and tomorrow it's headed to Michigan...to hopefully bring comfort to a friend.  I hope she likes it -

It's a quilt I didn't want to make.  Let me rephrase that...I would have HAPPILY made my friend a quilt any day of the week.  Seriously.  It's just the circumstances of THIS quilt make me wish it wasn't needed.  My dear friend was diagnosed with Cutaneous T-Cell Lymphoma (CTCL) last year.  As I understand it, it is typically a non-fatal, but non-curable form of cancer that involves the skin and can also involve lymph nodes, the blood, and other organs.  While my friend will mostly likely survive for a long time, she has had to go through radiation and continues to deal with treatment for her disease.  All with three small kiddos at home.  She will have CTCL for the rest of her life.

I am so glad I was able to make her a quilt, especially since I cannot be there to help her and comfort her in person.  I feel terrible about the friend I've been to her these last few years.  We were besties when our husbands were stationed at Fort Drum, NY.  We met when the guys were in the same unit.  We were at a function, in line for food and we started chatting...only to discover we went to the same college!  She graduated a year before me and, though we knew a lot of the same people, we never met.  But we became fast friends.  We had our first kiddos 11 days apart...her husband deployed shortly after their daughter was born and my hubs had left 16 days before our son was born.  For the next 10+ months the four of us did everything together...and then after the guys got back we stayed super-close. 

Both guys decided to leave the Army for other endeavors and we promised we'd visit/call/stay close.  And we did...for a long while.  They moved to South Dakota and we moved to Florida.  We had our second kids.  We stayed close.  They moved to Michigan and we moved to New Hampshire.  We had our third kids.  We stayed close...we did visit and call.  Then we just didn't as much.  I'm probably more to blame than her...much more.  I hate talking on the phone.  Sometimes she'd call and I wouldn't call her back for a week.  I'd get tired of me, too.  Anyway, over the last couple of years we've just been "Christmas Card Friends".  The sad thing is, that's how I found out she has cancer...her Christmas letter.  It makes me feel like a jerk, to be honest.  So I knew I had to do something, even if we aren't as close as we once were.  The least I could do was make a quilt for the girl who I leaned on as we were figuring out how to raise kids without the men around.  I remember clearly the day we went to Red Lobster and the kids sat in high chairs for the first time.  Then there was the day we ordered their first kid's meal to share.  Good times!

So, hopefully this quilt will bring her a little comfort and joy.  Hopefully she'll forgive the kind of friend I've been and know that I've loved her all along, even though life is busy.  Hopefully she'll understand that she was never far from my thoughts and that I still consider her a good friend.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

S to the U to the P-E-R!

I am one lucky gal.  Let me just start by saying that.  I've got a long list as to why, but let's just say that in the bloggy-online-quilty world, I've hit the jackpot!  I've been terrible about posting all of the lovely goodies that have shown up at my door.  Part of it is laziness...I'm just kind of that way.  I think it's mostly because I'm a terrible photographer and I feel bad posting so-so pictures of the amazing things that have come my way.  Don't worry, I have personally thanked everyone who has sent me things...I may be lazy but I do try not to be rude!  Now it's time to brag on these ladies!

So, without further ado (because, really, I got these first couple of things in December/early Jan):

My new, but very good friend Whitney sent me this pincushion (look at all of those pins...I use this thing all.the.time) and mini quilt as part of a swap we set up in December.  She felt bad that I missed the cutoff for the ALFALC swap so she said "hey, let's swap anyway...and let's make something for each other, too!"  You know me...I'm all about the swap.  So, I made her my "Gettin' Ziggy With It" mini and she goes and outdoes herself and gifts me with not one but TWO amazing handmade goodies.  The mini Dresden on the pincushion is to die for.  She told me how she did it but I can't seem to get my head around it.  When I have time I'm going to play around and figure out how to do one.  And, the mini quilt?!  It's perfection!  I love Denyse Schmidt so this is right on.  Is Whit good or what?  Along with these there were also a few fat quarters, some pins, ric rac, and chocolate.  Doesn't get better.  Oh, but it does!  Keep reading...

Then she goes and sends me this for.no.reason:

Isn't she the best?  LOVE her.  I've been eyeing Pezzy Prints but had held off buying them since I had no immediate plans.  I've been flipping through the charm pack just admiring all of the yumm-o colors.  And, isn't the mug rug fabbity-FAB?  Yes, it is!  Don't be offended for me.  In one of our first conversations I referred to myself as a dork...because, quite frankly, I am.  She thought that was hilarious because she often calls herself a dork, too.  I don't think there are too many grown women that use that term to describe themselves (at least not to people they've never met!).  So, the dork mug rug was born and it's awesome...especially since it is made with Domestic Bliss...another favorite linen of mine at the moment.  See?  Thoughtful and wondeful...she rocks!

And, last, but far far FAR from least (I'm only posting these in the order I received them...nothing more)...

These are the pot holders I received for the Potholder Pass from the wicked-talented Caroline of Trillium Design.  She nailed it!  Scrappy, happy, and bright - just how I like 'em.  And stars!  I love stars.  I'd been hoping these were mine, so when I tore open the package and saw these in there I was super-excited...giddy like a little kid, I tell ya!  And look at those cutie little Japanese erasers...darling!

Oh, and the bonus?

Lookie there...a pocket on the back...brilliant!  I'm torn, though.  These were made to be used, so I'd feel kind of guilty if I don't use them for their intended purpose.  BUT, they're so gorgeous I don't know that I can bring myself to use them for cooking.  What if something gets on them?  I may have to hang them up instead...at least for a while.  They're so pretty!

Ok, so there's a peek at a few things I've gotten recently.  I haven't posted the bee blocks I've gotten in the last couple of months, but I'll get to that one of these days.

I have been busy in the studio (hee hee), cranking out bee blocks, swap projects, and brainstorming stuff.  I have lots in the works that I plan to share ASAP.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Flock of Geese in a Ring

Remember how I mentioned last week that I'd put off the blocks for my Geese In A Ring Swap, mainly due to stage fright?  I'm happy to report that I've crossed them off my list!  I'm proud to say I think they turned out beautifully and I hope my swap gals love them.  I did neglect to make one for myself...but I may get to that some day.  After making 7 in a week I'm ready for a break from the fiddly little buggers.  What do you think?

I know, the picture kind of stinks.  Have I ever mentioned that I wish I knew how to take better pictures?  The problem is that I don't want to learn how to take better pictures...I just want to be gifted with the talent to take better pictures.  Oh, what a pickle.
Anyway, since I just went through the process, I thought I'd mention a few lessons learned...just in case you want to tackle these beauties (and I think you should try at least one if you never have) -

1.  Get comfy with the fact that you are going to waste use a lot of fabric...and I mean A LOT.  I'm sure if I do more paper piecing I'll get better at not needing quite so much fabric.  But, I found that using more from the get-go is a lot easier than getting PO'd when you flip the fabric over and it doesn't reach far enough and then you have to rip out the whole seam (which is not easy when you've shortened your stitch length to make getting off the paper easier!).

2.  Make good friends with your seam ripper.  Me and mine are already pretty close, but it got quite a workout with these blocks!  Just know you're going to use it.  Even when I was super-duper sure I had everything lined up and looking good, inevitably things wouldn't work out sometimes and I'd have to rrrrrrrip out the seam.  I tried my best not to throw too many tantrums about it and just chalk it up to the process.  Maybe you'll be luckier than me, but of the 28 units I made (4 units per block) I think I only DIDN'T need my seam ripper for about 5 of them.  I can be in a rush, so maybe that was my problem.

3. Try to have it set up so you don't have to get up at all to make each unit.  I sat with my pressing table to my left (I'm left-handed) and my cutting mat to the left of my machine.  So, I was able to have my fabric close by (strewn about my lap and all around my desk...I can be a messy quilter) and do everything from my chair.  It saved so much time!  I would hold the paper up to the light to place my fabric, sew the seam, press it (I guess finger pressing would be fine, but I'm an obesessive ironer with my sewing, which is funny b/c I LOATHE regular ironing...go figure, but I digress), trim it, and then do it all over again until all 9 pieces were in place.  Well, I did have to get up a lot to tend to the kiddos, but in theory being able to stay put can be a huge help!

I just realized that I'm writing this as if you've paper pieced blocks.  If you haven't, no worries...it takes a little practice but it's not really hard.  It takes time and some patience, but once you get the hang of how to place your fabric, you'll be set.  Here are a couple of links to help you out:

Paper Piecing Practice/Tutorial (Quilter's Cache) - this is a great tutorial/practice page to get you started with the basics of paper piecing.

Paper Piecing Tutorial (Fresh Lemons) - another fab tutorial about paper piecing

And, if you're up for trying a Geese In A Ring, here's a link to the template I used: http://www.piecebynumber.com/circleofgeese.htm

Good luck and let me know if you try one!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Calling All Charity Quilters: Quilts for Cancer Needs You!

Hello, lovely people!  I just got back from a weekend up with my sister so I'm getting back in the swing of things at home.

I mentioned briefly in my last post about a new flickr group/bee that I just became involved in: Quilts for Cancer.  If you've ever wanted to quilt for charity, here's your chance!  We have two more slots and we'd love for you to join us.  It's set up like a traditional stash bee...but after you complete your quilt you donate it to someone with cancer or to a cancer-related organization - the choice is yours!  The quickie info is that everyone picks a month (December and January 2013 are left).  When it's your month you choose a block and color scheme.  Then, everyone in the bee makes a block (or 2) and sends it to you.  Then you assemble your blocks, make the quilt, and donate it.  Fabulous, right?  I've really been passionate about charity sewing/quilting so this really fit in with my goals this year.  Hop on board...here's the information for our February block...go check...I'll wait.  Great, right?

I hope you consider joining.  I know everyone commits to a whole lot at the beginning of the year, but if you think you have the time and think it's a worthwhile cause, come on over!!  Thanks!

In other quilting news...I finished 5 1/2 of my 7 Geese In A Ring so I'm trying to knock those out today or tomorrow.  Then it's on to binding my quilt for my friend, Jennifer.  I'll post pics as soon as I can!  And, remind me to post pics of the awesome stuff my friend Whitney sent me, m'kay?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Doin' A Little Happy Dance Over Here!

Ages and ages ago I signed up for the Geese In A Ring Swap.  I absolutely love these blocks and really wanted to jump on the bandwagon and try them...and what better way than to combine it with a swap?  I'll get 7 super-duper blocks from my swap pals and I get lots of practice making these cutie blocks.  Ok, so I'm signed up and have until 2/14/2012 to get them done.  Great.  No problem.  Plenty of time.

Fast forward three months and I realize I'm now PANICKING about getting these blocks done on time.  I think I put them off because I was scared...nervous about paper-piecing (I managed a few paper pieced blocks with the Summer Sampler Series, but that's it), intimidated by how complicated they seem, freaking out about how long each block will take.  Yikes!  Procrastinate some more?  Yes!

Then I got off my tush, pulled on my big-girl pants and gave one a try.  It was FAB!  I'm not going to lie and say I didn't need my seam ripper (several times) or claim that I placed all of my pieces just so and facing the right way on the first try...no sir-ee-Bob.  But, BUT, every time one of those pretty little perfect geese showed up it was so worth it.  I love it.

One down, 6 to go.  Better get moving!

Also, I wanted to let everyone know about a new bee that's starting up on Flickr.  As you know, charity quilting is one of my passions - this new bee is called Quilts For Cancer.  It's set up like a traditional stash bee (when it's your month you choose the block/colors and everyone makes blocks from their stash) - but after you get your blocks and make your quilt, you donate it to someone with cancer or to a cancer-related organization.  Fab, right?  I thought so!  So run over as fast as you can and sign up.  I know we've all signed up for a lot and have lots of things on our plates other than sewing.  But, if you're up for quilting for a great cause, come and join us!

That's it from my corner of the sewing world today.  I didn't sew a stitch yesterday because I took my adorable three year old to the children's museum while the big boys were at school. 

We had a blast and it was so cool to do something fun with just him.  Third kids, you know, sometimes get the short end of the stick!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Studio Catch Up

I always laugh a little when I call my sewing space a studio.  I love how it sounds...all fancy and big and organized and like someone uber-talented works in there.  My studio is actually a little corner of my laundry room.  For some reason when some previous owners finished off part of the basement, they made one part into a fairly large laundry room...not sure why, but I'm glad because it gives me some space to keep all my schtuff.  I feel pretty lucky that I can leave my junk out all the time, especially because I usually make a gigantic mess when I'm sewing and often have to just leave it on short notice because of they mayhem that ensues in the next room (our playroom).  I've taken over most every inch that is not being used by the laundry stuff or storage stuff.  So, is it a studio?  Perhaps not, but it's my very own spot in the house that's not inundated with boy stuff!!

Anyway, I digress...  I've been up to a whole bunch lately so I thought I'd show you a few of the highlights over the last month or so.

49 string blocks for the Mini Scrap Basket Block Swap.  These were really fun and quick blocks to make - and they use a ton of scraps to boot!  My only regret is that I didn't save some of my own blocks...I swapped them all!  But, I can always make some more, right?

Next up are my December blocks for the Love Circle of do. Good StitchesRachel put together an awesome tutorial for these fab herringbone blocks.  I love how they turned out and can't wait to see the whole quilt!  Our circle took the month of January off, so be sure to check back for the awesome block lined up for our February quilt!

This is a little mini that I made for my new super-duper buddy, Whitney.  I missed the deadline for signing up for the ALFALC swap in December so she suggested we swap anyway.  The swap is for fabric and chocolate, but we decided to add in a handmade item as well.  I'd just finished up the blocks above but wasn't ready to be done with the block...so I modified it a little bit and came up with this fun mini quilt.  I personally love it and luckily Whitney does, too!  I'll post what she sent me in the next day or two...she spoiled me!

I joined a flickr group called Quilting for Kids, which is a group that donates quilts to children in foster care.  I made these four blocks for a quilt going to a little boy and I can't wait to make more blocks for this cause!

I made these blocks for my hive of the [3x6] Sampler Quilt Mini Bee.  I happen to love how they turned out...isn't it amazing how many different ways you can use HSTs?  One of these days I'll find time to make a block in my colors.  I have too much on my plate right now!

I knocked out these babies for my hive of the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee.  I'm so excited that these turned out OK - I was a bit nervous to send them along since my hive consisted of ElizabethLee, Lindsay,  Lyanna, and Wendy.  Talk about hanging with the cool kids!  And, again, I didn't have a chance to do one in my colors...but it's surely on my to do list because I love how these worked out!

And these cuties are for Michelle, for the Design Camp [think outside the block] Swap.  She sent us these A-MAZING Echino fabrics (the first time I've seen any in person!) an asked us to try an awesome technique dubbed "confetti".  The one on the right is my block using that technique...it was so fun!  Then she (Michelle) said to just have fun with the rest...the left block is what happened.  I love them both and I can't tell you how much I love the fabric.  I do think I'll be splurging on some Echino in the future.

I also managed to make 2 inifinity scarves...one for me and one for my fantastic sister.  I'll have to grab a picture of one - I made it from Anna Maria Horner's Folksy Flannel and Little Folks voile.

I have lots more in the works...I may have gotten a little sign-up-happy and joined a whole mess of swaps!  Oops!  I'm excited, but I'm getting a bit nervous to make things that my partners will think are super-awesome.  I'm sure it'll work out - and I will keep y'all posted on my progress!

Oh, and I have an actual "real size" quilt in the works, too...it just needs binding and then I'll post about that.  See?  My studio (ha ha ha!) has been a busy little corner of my universe lately!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Say What??

Remember this post? Blogger's Choice Bundle Contest.  Well, the most amazing thing happened...I was one of the three winners!  How unbelievable is that?  And I mean that literally...UN-believable!  There was a lot of excellent competition and I honestly didn't think I had a snowball's chance in h-e-double-hockey-sticks.  Not that I didn't want to win, of course, but I really entered for fun and to challenge myself to pick a bundle made up of fabrics from several collections.  I tend to feel like I don't know what goes together and find myself hesitating when mixing fabrics.  Maybe I should have a little more confidence in myself, eh?

Check out the post on Laura's blog: http://quokkaquilts.blogspot.com/2012/01/and-moment-weve-all-been-waiting-for.html

Now, should I let this go to my head?  Maybe I should head over to my LQS and start offering free fabric selection advice?  When the ladies start looking at me all kooky I'll just explain that I won this contest where I pulled together a bundle of 15 fabrics and the judges liked it so much that they picked mine.  Surely you should take my advice, quilty lady.  Of course I know what I'm talking about!  Ha ha!  That would be so hilarious, especially since the gals at my LQS are mostly older lady types with extremely different tastes.

OK, so I'll just graciously accept my bundle and then roll around in it for a bit when it comes...then pet it obligingly because I don't know about you, but I just adore fresh-from-the-store fabric!

I didn't realize when I made the bundle that it's a perfect match for my Mom.  Yellows and blues and greens are just so her.  So that's what this bundle will become...a quilt for my awesome Mom!!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

A Two-fer!

So I'm trying to get organized and plow through some of my "must do" items...and then I get sucked into browsing flickr, perusing blogs and the like.  Ya know what the only problem with that is (besides the exhorbitant amount of time wasted, that I could otherwise be sewing...or cleaning...or folding laundry - I hope you can relate a bit)?  It's that every swap, quilt-a-long, and bee seems so very fabulous that it's so hard NOT to sign up for every.single.one.  I probably haven't been as choosy as I should be since I'm trying to spend more time on making things for me/my household, but all of the pretties make it so very hard to stop!  I'm just such a joiner!

I'm looking forward to all of my upcoming swaps and projects, but one (or two?) that I'm super-excited about is my combination Scrap Attack AND A Quilt for a Smile project.  How's that for multi-tasking?  I get to pass one quilt off as two things.  It almost feels like Buy One Get One Free...it's almost like cheating, but not.  Awesome!

First, Rachel over at Stitched in Color is hosting the fabulous Scrap Attack challenge.  It's basically an ingenious way to get everyone excited about using their scraps and have a big, old party while doing it.  Fun, right?  The only rules are that you have to make your scraptacular quilt using mostly scraps and it has to be finished by the end of March.  Easy peasy...I can do that.

Scrap Attack Quilt-Along

Second, the lovely Pat Bravo of Art Gallery Fabrics put a call out on her blog & Facebook page a little while back asking for help.  See, she had a ton of studio scraps and wanted to know what she do with them.  After some suggestions she decided she would SEND THEM TO US to make quilts for Project Linus.  Yes, you read that correctly.  She sent ME a whole pound of scraps to make a quilt.  Beautiful, gorgeous, super-pretty Art Gallery scraps.  As you know, quilting for charity is right up my alley so I could hardly turn it down (well, she didn't exactly ask me...I asked her if little old me could join in the fun - luckily she said YES!).  The project has been dubbed Quilt for a Smile and I can hardly wait to start my contribution.  I was literally drooling when this squishy bag of fabric delights showed up on doorstep:

Now I'm just waiting to finish up a couple of things before I dig in to my two-for-the-price-of-one project.  I'm thinking scrappy log cabins...or maybe tumblers.  I'm not sure.  I feel bad that I haven't had a chance to start on it so I don't want to do anything too tricky or intricate, but I do want it to be scraptacular and beautiful.  I'll keep you posted on my progress.  I'm not sure if Pat is sending out any more fabric, but if you're interested, you might want to drop her an email - she is uber-nice!

I'll have to update y'all on some other things I've been working on.  I made some pretty cool blocks for the 3x6 bee and I'm working on my 4x5 blocks (they're due the 15th!...must get off this thing and sew).  Plans are also brewing for lots more fun stuff.  Stay tuned!

Friday, January 6, 2012


No, no. Not me. I would hardly consider myself a genius. Idea stealer? Maybe. Tutorial user? You bet!  Shameless I'm-going-to-take-this-idea-and-try-to-figure-out-how-you-did-it girl?  Uh-huh!

Have you ever had moments where you think "for heaven's sake, WHY haven't I been doing this all along?"  Or "I never knew how this tiny little thing could change.my.life?"

I've had THREE of those moments lately - yes three.  It's funny how little tips or ideas can change the way you quilt.  What's even better than me realizing these things? I'm going to share these ideas with you!  You don't have to thank me...I'm just a giver ;)

Ok, after typing out the post I realized I got quite garrulous...so, feel free to skip the dribble and just pay attention to the three Lessons Learned in the post.  It'll save you time (but you may not laugh as much).  You've been warned.

First - A conversation in one of my Flickr groups gave me the idea to clear off the clutter-filled side of my sewing table and put my 18x24" cutting mat there.  I can't believe it took me so long to figure out that the spot was even big enough for my cutting mat!  It was (and at times still is) the problem area that is a fabric magnet, notions dumping ground, pile o' schtuff spot.  I cleaned it up and voila - instant, magical cutting space.  You would be sad to know that before this I was hauling everything I needed to cut upstairs to my dining room table or living room floor b/c I didn't think I had a big enough surface on which to cut fabric.  Little did I know that I DID have the space...it was just buried under the heap of fabric that I try to promise myself I'm going to fold and put away as soon as I cut it but never do.  I still schlep my stuff upstairs if I'm doing a lot of cutting at once or if I'm cutting large pieces of fabric (my 24x36" cutting mat tucks right behind my piano in the dining room!).  I may not be getting as much exercise bounding up and down the stairs every time I need to cut something, but I sure am a happy little camper down in my laundry room "studio" cutting away, all pleased with myself.

Lesson learned:  have a dedicated spot for even a small cutting mat near your sewing machine if at all possible.  Saves so much time!

Second - Just like the miles of staircases I've climbed to cut my fabric, so too was I getting a workout to iron everything.  My laundry room is technically big enough to set up the ironing board, but it's kind of awkward and I still had to get up every time I wanted to press open a seam. Gosh that makes me sound lazy!  Most of the time I would set it all up in the living room (more space) and trek back and forth to press stuff.  Imagine how many times I'd be up and down just to complete one block!  My thighs may have thanked me, but I sure was wasting a lot of precious sewing time.  I don't get a lot of sewing time with the circus that is having three energetic boys going on around me, so maximizing my "machine time" is critical.  How did I remedy this, you ask?  Simple.  A pressing table made from a TV tray!  I cannot take credit for this idea (remember, I'm an idea stealer borrower, NOT idea maker) - Elizabeth over at Oh, Fransson! is the girl-genius that devised this fabulous number.  It was kismet that this project came to be in my home.  My mom had gifted us her set of tv trays a few years back, which we thought would come in so handy.  Um, they ended up being excellent dust collectors in our storage room.  We were cleaning out  a few months ago and decided to donate the tv trays.  I'd just stumbled upon Elizabeth's tutorial about the pressing table and figured it was meant to be.  I snagged one of those puppies and turned it into a fab table the very next day and I haven't looked back!  It sits right next to me when I sew.  I just have to swivel my chair to press all of those pretty little seams.  I can finish a whole block without getting up (again with the LAZY)!  How awesome is that and why can't I be that clever??

Lesson learned: Oh Fransson's! TV Tray Pressing Table is pure genius and everyone needs to make one ASAP!

Third - I kind of stumbled on this myself, but it was pure coincidence.  I'd wanted a 12.5" square ruler for quite a while so that I could easily square up swap blocks.  I had a 50% off coupon for JoAnn a couple of weeks ago and decided to get one.  As I was deciding which one to get (who knew there'd be like 3 or 4 different 12.5" square rulers to choose from...how can they possibly be different from one another?), I happened upon a 4 pack of square rulers.  Surely 4 is better than one, right?  Of course it is, especially if I can save 50%!  To be honest, I didn't even really look at what sizes the other rulers were.  Onto a shelf in my studio the package went.  Then, the other day I was cutting 80-something HSTs for the 3x6 bee and not really looking forward to trimming them all.  For the record, I love-ity love HSTs, but the trimming is so tedious!  I was poking around for the 12.5" ruler for when I managed to get all of those buggers sewn into blocks when I found the little 4.5" square ruler.  Hello, sunshine!  I'm not going to lie and tell you that this baby trims the HSTs for you, but that little ruler sure makes it a helluva lot easier!  I'd been using the 45 degree angle line on my cutting mat and my big 6x24" ruler to trim them in the past.  I had no idea how hard I was making it!  I might just start carrying the little square ruler around with me in case anything else needs a quick trim...LOVE that thing.  All of my HSTs are trimmed and ready to be sewn...I just love how those 2 pretty little triangles make a perfect square.  Sometimes it's just the little things.

Lesson Learned: Use a little square ruler to trim HSTs!  Or, on a more general note, use the best tool for the job.  You'll thank yourself (and that cute ruler!).

Have I blabbered on long enough?  Me thinks.  I just have one little request if you've made it this far...share one (or more!) thing you do/use that makes your sewing life easier.  I'd love to hear everyone's suggestions!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Feel Like A Celebrity Blogger!

So y'all have probably seen all of the fancy schmancy Blogger's Choice Fat Quarter Bundles over at the Fat Quarter Shop.  If you haven't...check them out NOW...I'll wait.  Fab, right?  I think it's so cool to see what fabrics the "popular bloggers" love...am I right?  Picks by Allison of Cluck Cluck Sew, Vanessa of V and Co., and Heather of {House} of a La Mode (and others) - yes, please...I'll take 'em all!

What's even better than that?  Picking your very own Blogger's Choice bundle...and getting the chance to win it!  Pop on over to Quokka Quilts to get the down-low on this fantastic contest/giveaway.

I spent about a gazillion hours last night trying to pick just the right bundle (3 solids and 12 prints)...it was so much harder than I thought!  I had so many ideas for color cominations that I just didn't know which direction to go.  I finally settled on this:

I wanted to focus on a color combo I love (aqua and green) but spice it up with additional pops of color and prints.  I also wanted to challenge myself to choose several different designers and manufacturers.  It's easy to go with a line and that's what I usually do...I wanted to see if I could combine lots of styles and looks to create a cohesive bundle.  The more I look at it the more I love it!  I really could have come up with about 50 different bundles - there is so much gorgeous fabric out there.  I'm crossing my fingers that the judges love my bundle.  If you decide to enter, good luck to you, too.  Entries close on the 15th!