Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday - The Leap Year Version

Still playing with my Pillow Talk clamshells. Probably won't sew them together for a few days. I'm letting them marinate.

I've had my design for the Modern Mini Challenge all drawn up for about a week, but today I picked out my fabrics. I'll be using these 16 fabrics in quadrants just like this. And yes, my design involves curves. I'd actually love to make it scrappier than it will end up being, but I don't have enough different fabrics in the shades of the colors to do that. Here's to hoping it turns out like I want it to!

Joann's finally got black embroidery floss in stock, hallelujah! They hadn't had any in over a month [I go every week, and believe you me, I complained every time. To be out of black for that long? Seriously?]. So I finally wound all the floss onto these cards and ring. These are just the colors I've been using [and anticipating using] for my mustache cross stitch and my Dessert of the Month. I can finally put eyes and faces on those little cuties! It's so weird that cupcakes and truffles can stare at you accusingly without even having eyes...

Happy Leap Year! Since there's an extra day this year, why not put off obligations for a little browsing the other WIPs over at Lee's! ;)

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Curves are the new black

Yesterday I worked on my Pillow Talk Swap. There are so many amazing pillows in the group already, and so many things I wouldn't have thought of that I love, in colors and patterns that I don't normally gravitate towards. Maybe next swap I'll just have to tell my partner to do whatever they wish! Eep, so scary.

As for my project, I sewed all 18 clamshells together. How does one figure out how many of a curved shape will make a finished 20" square pillow? Because I have no clue, so I just made clamshells until I ran out of fabric.

18 clamshells, with 3 fabrics in each = 54 different fabrics so far in this pillow! Needless to say, it makes it sound like I have a huge stash, but this was an excellent opportunity to use scraps! In fact, with the exception of 3 pieces cut from charm squares and 3 pieces cut from yardage [I was running out of different fabrics, since none are repeated], all of these were from scraps. So 48 pieces out of 54 from scraps is pretty darn good. In fact, I didn't even realize it, but now that I do, I'm going to have to show these little guys off over at Rachel's Scrap Attack party!

And, yes, I do have favorite fabric combinations, as pictured above. :)

Isn't it crazy that they start out like this going into the sewing machine? Oh, curves. And for all of you who are horrified at this many curves, I didn't pin, and it only took me about an hour and a half to sew them all together, with some interruptions. 

Then yesterday afternoon I posted two layout options.

My original sketch was for the bottom bit o' craziness, but I have to say that I like the top choice too. It gives it a completely different look. I think the more organized layout might be neat if there was a little more consistency in the fabric or placement choices, like if all the centers were the same color or something.

So which layout do you like better?! And would you be interested in a photo step-by-step of how this is done + my templates?

Linking up with SewHappyGeek and Fabric Tuesday at Quilt Story :)

ETA: I also just read about the Scrap Attach Flickr group, so these are now over there, and at the Stitched in Color Linky party. Oh, the Internet!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Just call me Thumbelina...

Finding pants that are short enough, and my journey in hemming jeans myself, is a tale for another day!

...Or at least when you're looking at my feet.

I am lucky enough to wear a size 5 in tennis shoes. Is it weird that I think I'm lucky to fit into a certain size shoe? I think so.

Children's size 3 boots from Target. One day I'll be a big kid, right?

But in any other shoe I do not wear a size 5. I wear more like a 4. Aka, not a size that regular adult woman's shoes are made in. In fact, I'm going to let you in on a secret. The only companies that carry shoes like that are geared towards little old ladies. My feet want to be fashionable!

I often shop in the kid's department for flats or boots, or anything really, so that my feet do not have to go naked. It's a sad state of affairs. There are both good and bad things about this method. First, the good thing: Kids shoes are cheaper. It is gratifying to only have to pay $15 for a pair of shoes. Now, the bad things: there are no heels to choose from, and the styles are, well, made for kids. I don't want to wear pink sparkly shoes with flowers on them.

This year I haven't even been able to find basic flats. I have been mildly successful at Target in the past, because sometimes I fit into their size 5 if I get a cushy insole. To also be truthful, I am a little picky about shoes considering I should probably just buy anything that fits. I just want some plain, nice flats that I can wear with jeans but that I could also wear with a business casual outfit. Is that too much to ask?!

Shoeology says NO! Embrace your inner shoe goddess.

[This is where this relates to a sewing blog.]

I'm going to sew my own shoes.

Photo is from Shoeology Etsy shop

My mom feels bad for my teensy feet [since she's partly to blame of course], and offered to pay for a custom pair of shoes, but those are about $200 a pair. I figured I'd explore my other options first. Enter the Gilligan shoe.

Seriously, how cute is that shoe?!! And think about the endless opportunities for customization. Think about the cute Japanese canvas or linen blend fabrics that could be used to make shoes. I'm dying over here of cuteness.

I emailed the shop owner to ask if my freakishly small feet would work for her shoe patterns [the women's sizes run 5-11, all in one pattern purchase!] and she said she couldn't guarantee it, of course, especially with the fact that I sort of vary between brands, etc, but gave me instructions for how to draft a slightly smaller pattern, using the 5 as a foundation. Very cool.

Photo is from Shoeology Etsy shop

So I happily Paypal-ed my $6.50 for the pattern. She also sells a soling material in her shop for $6 for a piece that will make 2 pairs of shoes, but I'm holding off on buying that until I make mock-ups to ensure that they fit. But if my mock-up works then I will immediately be buying the soling material, which makes the shoes waterproof, durable, slip resistant, etc. Suh-weeet.

I plan for my mock-ups to be made out of a duck canvas that I have left over from a tote. And wear them as house shoes! And then, because as long as I'm making my own shoes I might as well go totally wild...the real pair will be made from black suede that I'm going to get from a hobo bag that I never use anymore. If I play my cards right I can even line up some of the purse's decorative stitching to make a cool design on the shoe.

So there you have it, I hope to debut my new shoes as soon as I can get around to sewing them [the instructions do not appear to be difficult or time-consuming, which is awesome]. And if they turn out hideous then I'll just take a picture of a pair I already own, and none of you will know the difference :P 

**Also, I feel silly even needing to put this, but no, Shoeology has no idea I'm writing about them, I'm just excited for my poor feet, and wanted to share!

These are a few of my favorite things [from the past week]

Started thinking about how to make going to Sewing Summit a reality :)

 Yummy strawberry banana muffins made with some strawberries that weren't good anymore to just eat, but were perfect to be chopped up into muffins! With Star Wars wrappers, of course.

Broke my own fabric buying rules [rules are made to be broken, right?!] and stopped at the LQS one day and bought some celebratory FQs for finishing Girl Scout cookie sales without having any boxes left over.

Took my Girl Scouts to Thinking Day, and these were our swaps. They had a blast!

Got a lot of work done on my Pillow Talk Swap top, although I might have to switch out a couple fabrics to better match my partner's wishes.

Picked up this 3rd book a couple days ago because it just came out in paperback. Put off starting it. Saw Act of Valor at the movies Friday [it was great!] and then was in the reading mood...sat down in the evening and read til 3 am to finish. The book was phenomenal. Didn't even have time to breathe while reading :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Silly weather, Trix are for kids!

Florida is rather fickle in the "wintertime." Yesterday the high was 87 and I frolicked around in shorts and a t-shirt [ok, I didn't frolic, but it's a nice picture, yes?]. Today the high is 66. What is that all about?

[And no, the Trix in the title is just for giggles, I've never eaten Trix in my life, as my mother only allowed us healthy cereals while growing up]

So needless to say I've opened all the windows in my apartment. Which are conveniently all in my sewing space [yeah, when I move in a couple months one of my requirements is that windows be spread out more]. I have quite a plan of things to tackle for today!

First off, I have a wedding to attend in a week from tomorrow. A beach wedding. I've never attended one of those, and shoes are optional, and I'm not sure what to wear. So of course I'm trying to make a dress.

This dress:

Except minus the contrasting yoke. But keeping the belt.

So this being my 3rd time tracing a clothing pattern onto fabric I really wanted it to be not a painful process. Aka, I didn't want to have to trace onto other paper to then trace onto the fabric. Lo and behold...

I dug around in my grandma's sewing boxes, and found this Dritz tracing paper. I haven't even the foggiest as to how old it is, but my grandma passed away 7 years ago, and she was too sick to do much clothing making since I was really little. So I'm going to say this is probably at least 18 year old tracing paper. But apparently it doesn't have a shelf life, because it still works great.

I have several pattern tracing wheels that I also found in the box [including my mom's from when she learned to make clothing, about 40 years ago], and I had a variety of colors to choose from: white, red, blue, green, lime, yellow, and orange.

I chose red because it was the easiest to see on the crosshatch pattern of the fabric. But because I'm afraid the red might stain, I only marked the outlines with it, and I will be going back to add all the matching points, button markings, and dart lines in something else. 

If you enlarge this photo you should be able to see faint red markings from the pattern piece outline.

This all boils down to the fact that this is now my favorite tool. Tracing paper. My new best friend. Oh, it made the process so much easier quicker. I cut all the pieces out in about 30 minutes, which also accounted for me figuring out the best layout and testing and deciding which color tracing paper to use. AND if that wasn't good enough, after I cut each piece out, I flipped them over to the wrong side, and wrote on the back which piece it was by just writing onto the tracing paper. No pinned pieces of paper necessary!

Do you hear angels singing? I do.

I'm a little short on the crosshatch twill, since I forgot I'd need extra if I wasn't doing a contrasting yoke, so I have to go back to the store to get just a bit more. But I also need to decide which fabric to use as my belt. And let's face it, that's really the most important decision.

So my day will spent trying to figure out how I can make my dress look just a smidge less nice than the bride ;)

Enjoy your Saturday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Finally some finishes!

Yesterday I sewed up a storm. I don't even think that I sewed for too long, but I must have been super efficient and productive with my time, because I got several things done.

First, my business card holder for Sliced, of course. You can read all about my dilemma in yesterday's post.

Then I finished up my Tangerine Tango challenge mini. It only needed binding, but had languished for several weeks. First because I don't enjoy binding, and secondly because I finally decided on a white binding and then promptly ran out of white. That's always how it works, huh?

These were the two ideas that I had instantly upon thinking about this challenge. And they just wouldn't go away. I couldn't have made something else even if I wanted to. I like thinking about both sides as the two part to a story. The front is tangerine and turquoise at odds with each other, a battle of sorts. The back, with its nod to the Venn Diagram [and I thought I'd never use that in my adult life...], celebrates the harmony that can be achieved when they're used together. So lame, right? Haha. Still, it was fun!

I had to really think about the quilting since there's so much negative space that had such quilting potential. In the end, I like the straight-line quilting because I think it reminds me of cartoons/anime when the characters are about to battle and there's all those harried motion lines. But if I had realized I was going to do straight-line quilting I wouldn't have made the orange pieces wonky, because that meant I had to alter my echo lines a little bit on that side of the quilt. 

So I've put this in the official entries thread in the Flickr group, and anxiously await the opinion of the judges! :)

And finally, just for funsies last night I decorated a flour sack dish towel. I got the Monaluna toast fabric at the LQS at 50% off, so I bought half a yard, despite that I don't know when I would ever use it in a quilt. But it's SO cute! So I just did simple strips of the fabric on this towel, but have another bigger towel set up for some patchwork with fussy cut toasters. A single towel from the package yielded one traditional size dish towel, and another smaller one. So yay!

I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Amylouwho to celebrate my finishes this week. Go cheer everyone else on :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A little bit of disappointment

So I think I finished my item that I was planning on entering in the Sliced competition.


It just doesn't look as good as I wanted it to. I was envisioning the word streamlined when I thought of it. And it just isn't.

Now, a normal person would probably take their design, and the couple issues from this attempt, and make a better version. But that's just not for me. I don't like to make the same thing over and over again [ooh, maybe I shouldn't be a quilter]. I think it's mainly because I don't even really need one of these items, much less two.

I know exactly what I would do if I were to do it over again, and I know that these things would help. But I was saving my Reunion charm pack for something fun for me, and I'll be darned if I use more of it on...

...a business card holder.

That's right, if that's what you guessed the other day then pat yourself on the back and bask in your glory. 

So now my dilemma is this: Do I want to submit something that I am less than pleased about into this contest? I pretty much decided that I have zero chance of being chosen for the contest after this fantastic submission was posted last night. Seriously, this lady is out of control...sweet paper piecing blocks and now this?! I've always thought that the quilty skillz were doled out unevenly, and here is proof! :)

But if I don't at least submit it then I made this for absolutely nothing. Bah!

Sorry about the claw thing that my hand is rockin' in this photo.

Any thoughts? What would you do if it were your project?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

WIP Wednesday - The One Where I'm Hungry

Ok, I'm seriously hungry for some lunch right now, so this will be quick!

Binding this little guy today so that I can put it in the official entry section of the Tangerine Tango Challenge. The contest ends March 2nd, so you still have time! I don't think mine will win anything because I took a completely different, more artsy/abstract take on it, and there are some beautifully pieced minis over there [this and this might be my favorites!]. Oh well, it was fun!

I spent some time the other day unpicking some straight-line quilting on this quilt I gave my boyfriend for Christmas. He's been using it [gingerly] because as you can see on this corner, I didn't do binding, I made it like you would a coaster, and have just been trying to add quilting for stability, but it is technically usable. Just probably wouldn't do great in the wash! Anyways, I can't wait to actually get some quilting on here that works [it's backed in a cuddly plush fabric that isn't minky, but the same idea] because this quilt has a saga. That's right folks, not just a story behind it, but a saga. Indicating both disasters and ultimate triumph. Except I haven't reached the triumph stage yet. Hopefully soon!

Then of course I'm still working on my item for the Sliced contest, I've decided to make both my mini designs for the Modern Mini Challenge and then decide which I like better, and I need to do some serious work on my Pillow Talk Swap item.

But I finished my For the Love of Solids stuff, and so I'll consider that a win :)

Now, to run errands, eat my weight in sesame bagels [seriously, how are they so good?!], maaaaaybe run to the only modern[ish] quilt shop around here, and safety pin about 250 swaps for Thinking Day that my Girl Scout troop is going to tonight [any Girl Scouts out there that just got hit with a wave of nostalgia from swaps and Thinking Day?].

Toodle-loooo! :)

And maybe check out some of the other WIP posts while you eat lunch. And you probably will do it much more dignified than me ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Have you heard about the Sliced competition? It's being held by the ladies at the Moda Bakeshop.

I know I briefly mentioned it when I touched on the fact that so much exciting stuff has already happened in the online quilting world post-holidays, and my brain was feeling a little frazzled.

Well, I really really wanted to enter the competition! First because I love Chopped, which the competition is based off. I'm a pretty good cook [although a much much better baker than anything savory] and make up my own recipes here and there, so Chopped is forever inspirational to me. At the same time, I usually watch the show after midnight, and it makes me hungry, so that's no good haha.

Auditions for Sliced go until the end of this month, February 29th. You just have to follow the rules and include all the "basket" items, and post your finished item in the Flickr group. The four contestants who are chosen will then have a new challenge once a week for three weeks, with 5 days to complete their item and post it to the Flickr group.

So for the auditions it has to be an item for the office or studio, and the basket items are: Moda precut, batting, and a buckle. All the remaining fabric also has to be Moda, of course.

A buckle. A buckle?!

That was what was really throwing me off. Like. A lot. I think I focused on that buckle too much instead of just brainstorming tons of ideas and seeing if I could work a buckle in. Someone asked in the Flickr threads if the buckle had to be functional, and it didn't, but I like an extra challenge and didn't want to just throw a buckle on something with no purpose.

For the longest time only 1 person had entered anything, and I thought her idea was so simple and creative: a book holder-opener-thingy [um, I think that's probably what it's called].

Several more people have entered in the last couple days, but there's going to be 4 people chosen, and every one of those four gets at least some prizes [although the grand prize is LEGIT!]

My 2nd favorite is this entry, which used overall buckle/fastener doodads [again, very technical] in her wall caddy/organizer. Ingenious. I personally have been scouting any buckle around my house that I could cannibalize for this project.

But yesterday I worked up a drawing and today I started making it happen.

Any guesses for what it might be? :)

**Linked up over at Sew Happy Geek!And Fabric Tuesday with Quilt Story!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The One Where I Finished Early

For the Love of Solids swap big item [and little item]...Finished!

All I had left to finish on my pillow was the binding, but I had put it off for a few days because I'm just not one of those people who enjoys it. In my mind, there is nothing creative about that part, and that's what I really like about quilting. 

Anyways, I worked on my machine binding skills, or lack thereof. I like machine binding pillows because they get thrown around a lot and washed a lot, so I want to make sure the stitching is really secure. As you can see, I use binder clips when ironing to hold the binding down. 

I didn't do too bad! I had a couple spots that I had to go back, but this was a good stretch of binding.

 Also interesting is that I planned for this pillow to be 20" square. But it's not. I guess with all those finicky seams that I was having trouble with all those tiny measurements that were off all added up, so one side finished at 18.5". So the 20" pillow form for this picture looks a little funny, because there's space at the top and bottom.

So I turned it sideways! And while I think that the actual pillow shape looks better when laying this way, I had always planned for the design to be vertical, so I'm not sure how I feel about it. Obviously, it is up to my partner as to how the pillow will be displayed.

And here's the back. I didn't have it in me to fight with a zipper after fighting with piecing the top, so I just went for a simple envelope closure with the top piece quilted for durability and the bottom piece doubled up.

And while I'm still in the binding spirit I'll be binding my Tangerine Tango challenge piece later today too. So that way tomorrow I can do fun things ;)

Go check out all the other modern finishes linked up at Megan's today. I like grabbing a mug of tea/coffee and some Girl Scout cookies and browsing through other people's projects!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

These are a few of my favorite things [from the past week]

 The boyfriend took me to a really nice steakhouse for date night. The French Onion soup was delish!

 Prototype crafting for a Girl Scout meeting with my favorite type of tea at my side.

 Beautiful Valentine's flowers. I don't like roses really at all; I'd rather have beautiful bouquets like this. And because I snagged a great guy, he also secretly delivered flowers and chocolates to my little sister at her high school. She was a hit with her friends with her "secret admirer".

 Finished my cross stitch pattern, loved it, and super loved the picture I took.

 Had 3 cookie booths already this week. It's exhausting corralling them and convincing them to behave but still be outgoing enough to ask people, but the girls are adorable nonetheless, and we've already sold 838 boxes :)

Ok, not the best picture, it was a long day and then we met friends at a bar. Also, we're the palest people in Florida [this has a tint on it, so think of us as more Casper-like]! Still, we don't get very many pictures together, so I'll take it :)