Friday, December 30, 2011

Recap of 2011

This past year was my start of serious quilting. And my start of blogging.

I made lots of things for just being a newbie!

I ended up with a total of 4 quilts, over 15 pillows, 2 tree skirts, 5 stockings, 3 table runners, a few wall hangings, and other odds and ends like plenty of zip pouches, aprons, and hot pads. In a time period of 5 1/2 months.

The above projects were my favorites of the year!

Notable sewing and life accomplishments for 2011:
  • Battled a terrible rental company about a roof leak in the house I was renting, and then finding mold in the walls of said house, making it necessary to immediately vacate, leading to being homeless for about a month and sleeping on the floor at my boyfriend's mom's house while we worried about finding a new home, not getting all the money back that was owed to us
  • Taught myself how to FMQ about a month into quilting
  • Started blogging. Kept blogging. Enjoyed blogging
  • Began serious job hunting early in 2011, hoping to get a job before I finished school. I didn't.
  • Had a booth at a craft festival that had approx 60,000 visitors, and did ok in sales
  • Installed my first zipper. And then a couple more!
  • Participated in 2 swaps. Can't wait for more.
  • Finished my graduate program with a 4.0 and received my master's degree
  • Cleared out a dedicated sewing space in my apartment, acknowledging that this is a hobby that's here to stay!

Sewing and life goals for 2012:
  • Find a job that I love! Or just a job that pays me :) [already got leads and interviews under my belt for this!]
  • Be ok with possibly having to move away from family and friends for that job
  • Make a king-size quilt for my bed [got some design choices]
  • Get better at FMQ other than stippling
  • Make some clothing [already have a dress pattern and the Schoolhouse Tunic pattern!]
  • Bake more. Not just desserts. Because I do that plenty. Breads and healthier stuff.
  • Have a smoothie in the morning at least every other day [almost to this frequency!] And add things like spinach to them.
  • I'd love to learn to knit, but have tried many many times, and it hasn't clicked yet
  • Purchase all new living room furniture
  • Join a sewing bee [this is amusing, because almost every blogger that I've read has said they want to decrease the number of bees and swaps they're in. Makes room for me I guess!]
  • Would absolutely love to be able to attend the Sewing Summit. And hopefully by October I'll get over fears of going somewhere to meet people that I've never met in person :)
  • Project 365. I've become a lot more comfortable with just pulling out my phone and taking a picture, and the camera isn't half bad, so I'm hoping that a combo of phone and real camera photos will document 2012!

Mostly though, I want to continue being happy with where I am in life, and who I am, and the amazing future I have ahead of me with all the opportunities open to me, the support of family and friends, and the love of an amazing man!
Here's to 2012 being everything we hope, and then some :)

A little of this, a little of that...

This post will just be a mish-mash of things to tell. I want to start the year off fresh, leaving all 2011 projects in 2011 posts! [um, except for one Christmas present I still have to share, and that isn't really cheating because I gave it to the person half-finished, and won't get to complete it until the new year...]

 This became a pillow for my parents. They didn't want anything this modern, nor did they want white, but I had the triangles of white and the green Flurry left over from my SuperSwoon Tree Pants, so I just sized them down and was ready to go. I didn't have any piece big enough for the middle, so that's where the red diamonds came in. It was necessity, but I totally dig it. I stippled in the white space and made a simple envelope closure :)

 I apologize for the terrible lighting in the first picture, but it was at night and at least you can see the entire runner. This was commissioned by my boyfriend's father for him to give to his mother for Christmas. He said her house looked like Kirkland's, and that her dining room was green. That's all the guidance I got, and my boyfriend was no help as to his grandma's taste. Luckily, his dad loved it, his grandma loved it, and I loved it. I especially like that the binding is also Kona Bone, and just blends right in.

 I made this little zippy pouch for a girl who was at my family's Christmas, and I wanted her to have some presents to open while my family had all ours. This was perfect, as I don't really know her, but I do know that she carries a purse, and she likes Tinkerbell a lot. So I chose a fabric that felt like it was Tinkerbell-esque, and went on my merry way. I still don't have great zipper ends, and that frustrates me, but the pouch went over well. I dubbed it a "survival pouch" that could be transferred from purse to purse and was filled with hair ties, band aids, tissues, hand lotion, and hand sanitizer.

No idea why the picture is messed up, but it would make a cool quilt pattern, yes? :)
When I was picking some things up for my new sewing station [yay!] I picked up my first clothing pattern. This was actually on my Christmas list, and it would have been easy to just never try my hand at clothing since nobody got it for me, but I shooed off my fears, and am very excited to give it a try in the new year!

I also got this pattern too, after checking out some pictures on Flickr. I already found a linen blend at Joann's that I'll be using for my first go-round, and if I like it then maybe I'll pick up some fun print!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Sewing Reflections

 Sew, Mama, Sew! is inviting bloggers to post about trends of this past year, and trends to come. I knew that prominent bloggers were featured at the SMS blog with their opinions, but then I read over at Blue Elephant Stitches that any ole person could join in. And I was very thoughtful when I got done reading her post.

So here I am, with my thoughts. As a new, fairly young quilter. **ETA: I wrote my answers out on Thursday evening after I had read only the post at Blue Elephant Stitches. I'm glad I didn't read any others until after, so that my views were uninfluenced by reading the opinions of others. That being said, I found Bad Skirt Amy's post very insightful and thought-provoking.

Looking back at the 2011 sewing scene, what trends stand out in your mind?

I've only been reading sewing/quilting blogs for 8 months or so, and only regularly quilting for about 6. So bear that in mind.
  • People started loving gray. Especially charcoal. Which I like as well, in some situations. 
  • There also seems to have been an outright statement over the fact that modern quilting could be anything, and I think that probably influenced what was made this year. 
  • Straight-line quilting
  • So many people seem to have been inspired to start paper piecing
What were some of your favorite things related to sewing this past year?

  • I loved that despite the fact that I'm new at this, I stepped way outside my comfort zone and got a booth at a local craft festival. And I did ok. 
  • I like that I've accepted that this is a hobby and a craft that I enjoy, and it doesn't matter that I'm much younger than the average quilter, and that nobody that I know my age sews, much less quilts. I've always been a very creative person, and used to draw and paint a lot, but that didn't provide me with a constant-enough outlet.
What did you make that you're most proud of?

I'm most proud of my 2 swap items, as they were my own ideas, and challenged my skills substantially. And then my SuperSwoon Tree Pants, because it was also an idea that I hadn't seen anywhere else, and I loved how it turned out. And so did everyone at the craft festival [it was purchased within 15 minutes, and then it was requested for the rest of the day].
What sewn projects have you seen this year that you absolutely love?

Oh gosh. This could take a while. I've noticed that I love a lot more finished products than I'd imagine if I were to just look at the fabric. There are so many fabrics that I'm not drawn to in the slightest, and then I see them in something and I love the end result. In that way, many of the pieces that I love and am inspired by are things that I would never feel compelled to make myself.

Do you have a favorite sewing book or pattern from the last year to recommend?

I don't own a sewing book. I've got a few magazines, but I've never used a pattern [when I made the SuperSwoon it was 4 ft square, so I made up my own measurements]. I like to look for inspirations, but I think the thought of a pattern makes me feel boxed in. I would like to get a quilting book that isn't so much the basics, but more of like a tips and techniques guide. Haven't found exactly what I'm looking for yet!

Are there any trends you're over and done with?

I have to admit that I'm sort of over the hype and the politics of both the sewing/quilting world and the online sewing/quilting world. It's so weird to me that people can be so caught up in all this. I guess maybe I haven't connected enough with any sort of fabric collection to ever feel the need to hoard it, or not cut into it, or rush to the store to buy 7 yards of it so I can have it for every project ever. Yes, I've loved some fabric lines. But I also realize that I'm going to love more in the future. I've also realized that I don't like many of the fabrics that may be "popular" and long-awaited, and that people can be snobby about the fact that some people aren't "appreciating" it. And that's silly. I'm sure painters don't scoff when their peers use a different brand of paint, and I feel like it should be the same way around here. I feel similarly about the hype surrounding what some people endorse, simply because they're well-known. I understand that it's a business for some, and whatnot, and I guess I can't fully understand it because it's just fun for me, but sometimes there's so much competition between one person or another...

What are your thoughts about social media?  How is it going for you?  What do you love or hate?

I'm 22, so I'm as active on the social media front as you'd probably imagine. Although I don't have a Twitter, because I don't quite get it. But I love my Google Reader, and I enjoy my Facebook as it lets  me keep in touch with people from the various places I've lived.
In the sewing world, I think it can be good and bad. Yes, social media does connect us to one another, but I think it also plays into the hype that I mentioned above. It's all about your mindset and what you plan to get out of it.

Did you have a favorite fabric collection or print in 2011?

Hm, I'm going to break this into 2 parts.
  • Fabric collections that I've loved when they've come out, just from looking at them: Sandi Henderson's Secret Garden, Joel Dewberry's Heirloom, and Sweetwater Countdown to Christmas
  • Fabrics that I've loved because I actually reach for them the most in projects: Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow Herringbone in all the blues and greens and Silent Cinema Front Row in any color
What do you predict for 2012 in the sewing industry?

  • I predict a shift in the feel of fabrics. I don't know any technical way to put that? There's been so many silky fabrics lately. Art Gallery, Flurry, and Sandi Henderson's Secret Garden collection comes immediately to mind. They all feel so good that when you pick up a Kona solid, for instance, it just feels rougher. With the increase in fabric prices, I feel like people are going to be demanding more. I know that Michael Miller is releasing their line of solids, Cotton Couture, and I know that it has the same feel as Secret Garden, and I think folks are definitely going to appreciate that. 

  • I also think paper piecing is going to be even bigger. As quilters become more comfortable with the concept, more complex patterns are going to come onto the scene. Before when you could paper piece for additional precision, I think it's going to be a paper piece or bust type situation. I guess I should try paper piecing, huh?
Can you tell us what to expect from you in 2012?  Any big projects or life changing goals?

This upcoming year should be interesting. I just graduated with a master's degree, and am looking for a job. I've been a full-time student with no job for the past year, allowing me plenty of time to sew. It will be interesting to see if my sewing falls off when I am employed. I don't have kids or anything, so my evenings/weekends would still be open, and my boyfriend is still in school, so I don't anticipate any reductions, but you never know. My big quilting goal for 2012 is to make a king-size quilt for my bed. We bought a new mattress in the summer, and have just been using all the queen-sized stuff as we pay the mattress and frame off. But we've also been trying to have a nicer home as we move out of the college phase and into the real-life phase, and a nice quilt for the bed would be the last step in the bedroom!

Thanks for reading, feel free to go to Sew, Mama, Sew! to link up your answers! I love reading them all :)

Blogger's Choice Bundle Contest!

This is a super cool idea thought up by Laura at Quokka Quilts.

Imagine custom building your dream car, and if a car company likes your car, they make it and give it to you. That's the idea of this contest! You build your custom bundle, in the same vein as the Blogger's Choice bundles at the Fat Quarter Shop [aka, 12 prints and 3 solids] and if the judges like it then you could win half-yard cuts of your bundle! That's 7.5 yards. And a ready-made quilt palette.

Oh, and it's fun.

So, there's no losing here!

I went hot air ballooning yesterday morning [more on that later!] so I totally should have gone to bed on Wednesday night, but instead I stayed up another hour and a half online window shopping for fabric! It was great. Ok, maybe not as great at 4:30 Thursday morning, but I had fabric on my brain still to make it all better.

In case you're feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of only picking 15 fabrics from the huge range over options at the FQS...I kind of centered on a color palette in my head, and then browsed every.single.fabric, just adding anything to my cart that I liked and that fit the scheme. Then I could look at everything in the cart together, and whittle down further.

I love this palette because it's so calm! I think something like this calls to me a lot more for snuggling and coziness than something with louder colors. That's just my preference. Although I love those quilts too. I guess I need different quilts for different moods? [Anything to let me make more quilts, right?!]

Go check out the rules over at Quokka Quilts, and make your own bundle! You have until January 15th :)

Favorite Christmas presents, Part 2

So I previously mentioned my love of my sewing station from my boyfriend, and how shocked I was that he had thought of something so wonderful [and as handmade as he can manage].

Jeni's books look as loved as my copies!

Well, another love of mine...Harry Potter. These books are perhaps a bit more dear to my heart than the average person, and for a few good reasons. I started reading them at the end of the 4th grade, and read the first 2 [which were already released]. I moved after 5th grade, as my dad was in the Army. The 3rd book was released the summer that we moved. My older sister and I had to share the book, so we would read a chapter and then pass it to the other person. It helped me not feel so sad/alone that summer as I moved to a new place. And then, as though J.K. Rowling was my personal champion, a new Harry Potter book was released every time my family had to move! After some time, my younger sister was old enough to read them, and we had to share a single book among 3 voracious readers. When I was in high school my dad had a military assignment in New Jersey. He lived there alone because it was in my senior year of high school, and he didn't want to make me move. We roped him into reading all the books, and we would all talk about them and get to experience the magic all over again as he read them for the first time. And then the last book came out, and it was sad to know it was over.

Needless to say, I have the trunk edition of all the books, in hardback, and I love them. I've read the series more times than I can count. I also own all the movies, and my sisters and my dad and I always see them together in theaters.

Well, we also live in Orlando, right by Harry Potter World. I've never been, but my younger sister and dad have passes, and go all the time. They have wands from the park, but my dad decided he could do it better.

And he did.

So he whittled wands for all of us, and customized them just for us. I got mine in time for the last movie that came out in July. They're better than the commercial wands because they're real wood, and he carves an individual design, and stains them and whatnot. But the best part? They have a core! If you're familiar with Harry Potter then you know that the core is what makes the wand magical [am I getting cooler and cooler here, or is it just me? :) ] One of my sister's even has dragon skin in hers! [she's got bearded dragon pets]. Mine has the hair of a giant, aka my 6'4 boyfriend.

Well, for Christmas my dad decided he was going to step up his game, and made us each a 2nd wand, and instead of a core it contains the most powerful single-bulb LED light on the market, and a button on the end. It's a Lumos wand! It lights up! And it's bright! And awesome! I can even change the batteries when they run out, meaning there's Harry Potter fun for all of time!

 He also carved these display boxes for our original wands, along with the cork backing to pin in the certificate of authenticity that gives the specs of the wand.

They take him months to make, and I'm so glad that my sisters and I can share something so magical [get it, eh, eh] with him, and I appreciate so much that he loves it just as much as we do!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

My favorite Christmas presents, Part 1

I had a fantastic Christmas, and hope everyone else did as well!

I was fortunate enough to get many wonderful gifts from family and friends, but one of my favorite presents came from my boyfriend. We decided to spend Christmas Day only at my parents' house this year, but we have a tree and stockings in our apartment. My family has a tradition of video taping our Christmas, and my family sits around and we open one present at a time and go around in a circle doing so. It's so much fun, and it takes hours :)

In order for my boyfriend to have more presents in the rotation of opening, we decided that I'd open all my presents at the apartment and we would take his to my house. A real hardship for me, of course. So Christmas Eve rolls around, and I'm secretly frantic about finishing Stephen's quilt that is a present. And he tells me I have to go to bed. So I set my alarm for 5 am for Christmas morning [I hope everyone winced for me when they read that...I don't have kids...and I still woke up at 5 am on Christmas morning...] and head to bed.

He was the sweetest person in the world and got me a sewing area! I have been sewing at our table [and sometimes the coffee table] and it means I have to constantly clean up for us to use the table. Also, the table is round, and that actually presents some difficulties sometimes.

So he cleaned out the area behind our couches, which the floor plan calls an Imagination Room [hopefully it provides some inspiration!], and got a HUGE table to put against the wall. I got a huge new cutting mat and a super bright lamp. We were going to get me a chair, but my parents gave me a new dining table and chairs for Christmas, so we have extra chairs now, yay!

I've already put some fabric in hoops to hang on the very skinny wall space, and I have visions of a medicine cabinet type deal to hang above the table for display and storage. I'm so excited! I'm also extremely excited about the fact that I'll be sewing right by some windows, because I've been sewing in a window-less area, and it's terrible.

Tomorrow will be my 2nd favorite present, which was also a handmade gift!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Still laughing about this one

Untitled by Sew Festive
Untitled, a photo by Sew Festive on Flickr.

Ahahaa this Zits comic in yesterday's paper is just too good. This is actually my favorite comic strip, because it's always so accurate about family life and the teenage though process. 
Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Um, it's 5 days til Christmas? Whaaat?

Panic ensues.

My table is round. I think? Maybe my sewing/fabric ate the table?
I actually have all my presents purchased and wrapped already, and have been done for almost 2 weeks now. However, I was just notified that there will be an extra few people at my family's Christmas celebration, and they are attending as guests of my sisters because their families are either not doing Christmas due to low funds or they would have been alone.

Now, I don't know these additional girls, but I wanted them to have something to open, and it doesn't cost me anything to make some zippy pouches out of fabric and supplies I already have [ok, I had to buy zippers, but that was pretty fun for me :) ] So I have 3 pouches to make, and a boxy pouch. The bigger pouch technically doesn't have to be done until after Christmas, but I'm going to try to knock it out too!

That being said, I was already working on a quilt for my boyfriend for one of his presents. He has a devoted "boy pillow" that I made him, and thought it would be nice for him to have a quilt. But I have to work on it when he's gone or at work, so I still have lots to do tomorrow and Thursday [he's at work all day both days, so I had kind of planned on that time].

Then I had a commissioned table runner, which has to be finished and delivered on Thursday night. I'm pretty sure I'll be adding in an orange that I already had, because I couldn't find anything acceptable at the store yesterday. Grrr.

I got my order of voile a little later than planned, which is to be scarves for my boyfriend's grandma and his little brother's girlfriend. Luckily those don't take any time at all to whip up. In fact, I'll be doing them first so that I can cross them off the list and feel a little better.

Luckily I have dedicated tonight to sewing, and tomorrow, and Thursday. I better hop to it!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quilting at 1 am...

Oh, you don't do that?

But Iron Chef is on!

Oh, you sleep like a normal person at this hour?


So I have this table runner commissioned for someone's mother. I barely know the woman [who is in her 70's], and my directions, after some prodding questions from me, were that her dining room is green and that her house is decorated like Kirkland's.

Please excuse my wrinkly and lazily placed fabric pieces.

I like the design a lot, and think that it can enhance a table without taking away from any other decorations.

I do feel, however, that I need some more mid-level colors. The green and yellow are both fairly light, while the Loulouthi pieces and Kona brown [I think it's chocolate?] are pretty dark. In fact, I really wish I had a printed brown, instead of the solid. I would like all prints with just the Kona Natural uniting them all together.

So, tomorrow I will be buying some fabric. Woe is me ;)

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Welcome to the real world!

This is me at graduation on Friday. For those of you who are not familiar, graduation robes look like wizard's robes. However, when you get a master's degree, they decide you need to look extra silly so you get robes with those ridiculous hanging sleeves, and you get that thing that sort of looks like a tail on me, which is actually called a hood. 

So the entire time you're thinking you're all distinguished for getting an advanced degree, but the person next to you keeps sitting on your sleeves, and every time you sit down you sort of choke yourself.

Very elegant.

Totally a terrible phone picture taken at 10 pm...I'm too giddy to care!

But then I got this Coach purse from my boyfriend's mom as a graduation present. He and I have been dating since right after high school, so she's been just as much a supporter of my education as my own mother. I'm not the kind of person who would buy an expensive purse by any means. In fact, the majority of the time I don't carry a purse. But I realize that I can't put an ID carrier in my back pocket in a suit. That I need a "grown-up" purse. Voila. Now I have it. The leather is SO soft.

So, first order of business...some zippy pouches for my new purse! Because I won't be putting anything in there that can ruin the purse, unless its in a pouch first :)

Sew Mama Sew winners!

Yay for winning stuff!

First off, it was inspiring to read when everyone started sewing/quilting. I think the youngest was at 3 years old! That's nuts. When I was 3 I almost bit my tongue off and had to be rushed to the hospital, so clearly I was not ready for anything involving a needle! :) Thank you also for the advice about joining a guild; I read each and every comment, and if I didn't respond, I'm sorry [things got a little hectic around here]. I really liked the advice of a few people who said that they've embraced the online community as a guild of sorts, allowing them to connect with people who share their interests and styles. So for now [especially since my local guild meets on Wednesday mornings, which isn't doable] I'm going to get as much out of all you wonderful people as I would a guild. And this way I have access to way more people than I ever would locally. I had one commenter from Qatar...super cool! 

On to the results!

So I took a picture with my phone of the Random Number Generator results for each, because I couldn't save just the image on my computer, and didn't have the time to finagle with it.

And without further ado...

I first chose #24, which is Lee, who has won the pillow cover. She's been quilting for over 30 years! Since I have yet to reach anywhere close to 30, having a hobby for that long is pretty amazing to me. I hope to still love sewing and quilting, and I hope to maybe be on my 2nd sewing machine by then :)

The winner of the fabric, which was my 2nd drawing, is #126, @pril! Her blog looks like it's got all sorts of good stuff, so go check it out. Plus, she's got a twin, and they say that's twice the fun :)

So congrats ladies, I've emailed you both. And thanks to everyone who checked out my little corner of the quilting world, who added my blog to their reading lists, and who encouraged and complimented me.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Christmas baking, Part 2

Time for more holiday yummyness!

My family makes cookies every holiday season, as do most families. My mom also held a cookie exchange most years, so we always had so many cookies and bars floating around. Potato chip cookies have been around for as long as I can remember. They're fun, and delicious. I mean, come on, you get potato chips AND cookies in one bite?! What's not to love?

I thought I'd share the recipe in case you're feeling adventurous! These taste almost like pecan sandies, with the crunch of the chips. And they're not super sweet, which is welcome amongst all the other treats that you eat this time of year.

Potato Chip Cookies
makes approx. 4-5 dozen

2 c. margarine [I often use unsalted butter]
1 c. sugar
3 c. flour
3 tsp. vanilla
1.5 c. crushed ruffled potato chips [the ruffles are really important]
1.5 c. chopped pecans

Beat sugar and margarine until light and fluffy. Add vanilla and flour gradually. Add pecans and then add the potato chips last. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes at 350 degrees or until golden brown. [I actually had to bake mine for about 18 minutes, but my oven is lame].


And on an unrelated note, I finished my Christmas present shopping today with this cute shirt for my little sister. H&M...$ just can't beat that! Plus she's going to go nuts for it. She's got that "hipster" style all the young kids talk about [seriously though, what is a hipster? She's 17, but she makes me feel so old sometimes haha!]

And don't worry, we'll be back to sewing later this week :)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Polka dot scarves

**First, I wanted to say that I've been having so much fun with all the feedback from the giveaway. Thanks everyone! You're so nice :)

I've mentioned before that I am the leader of a Girl Scout troop. I love Girl Scouts, and watching these girls grow is certainly fun. It's also helped me determine what kind of parent I think I'd be. I've definitely been in charge of groups before, and I've been the manager at several of my past jobs, but this is the first time that the group I'm in charge of has been young enough, and me old enough, for me to be sort of like a parent to them.

Anyways, today was the last meeting before the holidays, and I wanted to do some festive activities! One of which was making scarves.

I'd LOVE to be able to teach all these girls to sew, but there are too many of them to be able to bring my sewing machine and sit with each girl at a time, and some of them are not yet dexterous enough to handle hand-sewing.

So I did all the sewing before the meeting! :)

I bought 6.5 yards of hot pink polka dot flannel at Joann's [it's 60% off this week!] and cut it into 14x60" pieces. I then folded each piece right side together so that it became 7x60" and sewed down to make a tube. That width and length was good for 8 year old girls. And it was really easy since I only needed to sew one seam! 

I pinked each end of the scarf and left them inside out. Then at the meeting each girl got to turn her scarf tube right side out and cut fringe however she wanted. Then some of the girls tied the pieces of their fringe together for knotted detail. 

The girls loved it! I wish I could show pictures, but I don't want to show their faces across the internet. They loved finding new ways to wear them, and they thought it was "fancy" to sling it over their shoulders.

Simple and fun for little kids!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sew Mama Sew! Giveaway Day! [giveaway closed]

 Giveaway is closed - thanks to all for participating!

People in the online sewing community know that Christmas comes twice for us...once at the normal time and once for Sew Mama Sew! Giveaway Day! :)

If you've never been here:

I'm Rebecca. I'm in my early 20's [and not just one of those people who are always in their early 20's]. I always talked about taking a quilting class when I was in middle and high school. Yeah, I know, weird, right. I never did it, had never touched a sewing machine outside a home ec class, until my mom surprise mailed me a sewing machine when I was 19. I taught myself to sew with lots of trial and error, and the colorful language of a college student. But then I gave up, and did some projects by hand instead. I discovered quilting blogs earlier this year and decided [along with my status as an unemployed graduate student] to jump in feet first. And here we are.
Some of my favorite creations - visit my Flickr to check them out!
I admit, I am a self-taught, still fairly new quilter. I am also a grad student [actually, I graduate this week, so I guess that just makes me in limbo?]. As such, I don't have a huge fabric stash, nor do I have the super elaborate techniques of some. But I hope that you'll stick around and visit me every so often because I am trying my hardest to make this a hobby that younger people want to be involved with again. Plus, there's so much nostalgia for any non-college students over here about choosing to buy fabric instead of dinner and how life is just not fair :)

This is my first giveaway, and my motto is go big or go home. That's why I always order a large fry. And why I have 2 giveaways for you!

The first is a pleated pillow cover that I made from Essex linen. I briefly discussed how I made it over at this post. It's 16" square. I will just be sending the cover, not the pillow.

My 2nd giveaway is these 4 fat quarters of California Dreamin' by Jenean Morrison. My Bloggers Quilt Festival quilt was made with the orange and pink colorway of this set, and so I have these blues and yellows that could be used to make a quilt like it, or for any other sunny project!

Both giveaways are open to all participants, including international people! To enter, please leave a comment telling me at what age you started quilting [I don't know anyone my age who quilts, sadly], and if you belong to any sort of quilting guild [I'm debating joining my local guild, but am a little hesitant due to my age]. Also, feel free to tell me whether you'd like the fabric or the pillow cover :) And I'm from Orlando, FL, if you're in the area and want to be quilty friends. Or just friends. Or if you live in Hungary and want to be friends, that's ok too!

The giveaway will end December 16th at 5 pm, and a winner will be drawn randomly and announced over the weekend! [ETA: Please make sure your email is accessible in your profile or that you post it with your comment, or else you are not eligible.Thanks!]

***Edited again: I've had several no-reply bloggers who have not included their email in their comment. If you are concerned that's you, please feel free to edit your comment. I would hate to not be able to contact the winner, and I've wanted to reply to some of you and can't :(

Now go enter some more giveaways! :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Zipper successes!

My Friday Finish today [which I am celebrating with crazy mom quilts, as per usual!] is also a sewing milestone yay!

My 1st zipper experience.

And now I feel like I need to go sleep for days. Seriously, I feel mentally exhausted.

So my parents asked me to make 2 pillow covers for them so they could use some autumn throw pillows into the winter without having to buy new pillows. Since I can't really justify making more pillows for myself at this point, I was totally game.

Their house is decorated Americana style, and so I knew that they wouldn't go for anything that screamed modern. I drew out some designs and they picked 2 they liked. And then I totally deviated from those designs :) Artistic license, right?

I have lots of extra little pieces of Countdown to Christmas from the various projects I've used it in. Gosh, I love this line! I was originally going to do multiple strips of pieces in a single color, from multiple fabric lines. But hey, I started cutting, and this is what happened. Sometimes I can't help it. And then I found some white ric rac, and it got thrown into the mix too!

A zipper happened when I didn't have enough of the fabric I wanted to make an envelope closure. I had picked up a few zippers to make some pouches/clutches for my little sister [they have dinosaurs on them!]. I put my computer next to me at the table and pulled up the invisible zipper tutorials over at Sew Katie Did and Stitched in Color. I find that 2 tutorials is much better than one, in case one person wasn't as clear on an item.

Um, and then I tried to install a zipper. Like 9 times. Near the end I was getting very testy, and thinking it was not fun in the slightest. Very sad, as I think sewing is very fun and relaxing. NO. This was not.

I have no idea what my problem was tonight. I am usually very quick with instructions, and I'm fortunate enough to be very good at most things on my first try. Zippers do not go in that category. I even thought about pouring a glass of wine haha.

Here is my pearl of wisdom for the day: Sewing, and all things associated with it, teach you patience. There is really no fast way to get to many of the things you sew/quilt. Yes, there are techniques that make it a little quicker, but I still wouldn't call it fast.

I didn't press this, so it looks wrinkly and crooked

The back....just as cute!
So. I was reminded to be patient today. If it took me 9 tries, so what. Every time I see that pillow at my parents' house I'll be reminded that I taught myself how to do something and didn't give up. No it's not perfect this first time, but that's what those dinosaur pouches are for :)

I start new projects before I finish old ones.

Interwebz, please meet my new projects.

New projects, please meet the interwebz.

The top will go into a quilt [and also, my gray marker died, so that's why the left corner is not finished].

The bottom will be a table runner that someone commissioned for their mother.

None of these colors are accurate representations of the actual colors that will be used.

Because I'm sneaky like that.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Happy Holiday Hostess!

Fresh Poppy Design

Linking up with Fabric Tuesday today to bring you an important public service announcement: Everyone needs some last-minute gifts on hand at the holidays.

When I was younger we had a huge box of stuff in a spare closet that we could reach into if we needed a gift. My mom would just pick things up through the year that would make good gifts for anyone. There were things like soap sets and jellybean machines and picture frame sets.

I decided I needed to do the same thing this year, but of course I'd use it as an excuse to sew some stuff!

Enter hostess gifts:

I wish I knew why it was upside down?
So that consists of a hot pad and apron and is tied up with some bakers twine and a star cookie cutter!

I just love that Caleb Gray print, but I have to say that I am neither a red nor a pink person, so its weird that I have it. But I like the looks of these colors together better than the other colorway of the print. This is a block from my Farmer's Wife book, and I thought it was nice and simple!

To make the apron I cut a fat quarter of the Caleb Gray print [the back is a solid red FQ that I had on hand] and rounded the corners by tracing a bowl. I made myself an apron that has square corners and I don't like the silhouette as much.

I stitched the 2 fabrics together, right side together, leaving the top open. Turn right-side out, and press. Then top stitch. You can sew it at the top this time, but it doesn't really matter, since you're covering that part anyways.

I then cut the Hullabaloo fabric for the top. I think the waistband ended up being 3 inches, which means you will want to cut a piece that is 7 inches wide, and the length of your apron body. This apron waistband actually extends about a quarter of an inch past the body of the apron, which I personally tend to like, as I find it allows the apron to lie flatter on the body.

Press the waistband piece in top, and then press in 1/2 inch on each side. Pin onto the top of the apron body, making sure that the top is flush with the top inside part of the waistband. Pin lots so it doesn't move while you do the next steps!

Why is this one upside down too?!!
At this time you can add any sort of trim you want. Or none. I chose to add pom-poms, because I had a piece that happened to be the exact side of the apron. I can't argue with fate. 
Sew across the bottom of the waistband with your needle in the position as far right as it can go. I can't program my needle, mine just moves, but I'd say its 1/8 inch from the edge. I then stitched another line for a little more stiffness in the waistband, but this is not necessary.

To make ties, cut 2 inch by 44-45 inch strips. You will need 2. This length allows for ladies of all sizes to wear the apron, and gives plenty of length for a pretty bow in the back :)

Make the ties just like bias tape. Press in half, and then press each half in half again so you don't have any raw edges. Fold in the one end and press. Sew along each tie, also with your needle to the right-hand position.

Take each of your ties and place the non-folded end inside the waistband. Make sure it goes in at least 1 inch for stability, and make sure that your ties are even and flush with the top of the waistband. Sew down the sides of the waistband with your needle still in the right-hand position.

At this time you're technically done [yay!] but you can go back and add more stitching on the waistband if you want it to have more structure.

You can add pockets or decorative touches too! And don't forget that these are totally reversible, so don't be afraid to use TWO cute FQs and then just make sure your waistband fabric coordinates with both!

Now I just need a party to go to where I can bring this :)