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, 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 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 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'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'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 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 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!!