Thursday, May 31, 2012

Announcing the Christmas in July Event!

Raise your hand if you love the holidays.
Raise your hand if you love handmade at the holidays.
Raise your hand if you always have great intentions of handmade decorations and gifts and then it all gets lost in the frazzle that is the holidays.

Oh good, I'm not alone!

Enter Christmas in July. A well-known retail event where they break out some holiday-esque sales, I decided to turn this into a fantastical stitchy event.

Starting Monday July 2nd, and each Monday for four weeks during the month you will be able to find some great holiday tutorials and inspiration here at Sew Festive. There will be two tutorials on each of the Mondays; one will feature decor for your own home, and the other tutorial will feature something that can be made as a gift [although you could totally keep it for yourself too and nobody will tell!].

Monday July 30th there will be a linky party here to show off your finished holiday-inspired projects. They can be projects that were made based on the tutorials throughout the month or it can be that Christmas quilt from 5 years ago that you And there will be prizes :)

All types of stitching will be welcome, so if you cross-stitch or embroider or spin your own wool, there will be something for everyone!

The whole point of this event is that we want to cheer each other on and get some holiday sewing out of the way before it's actually the holidays and we don't have any more free time.

Sew Festive Handmade

So grab a button, and watch this space for some more info on who will be sharing tutorials and just what prizes might be in store!
ETA: I was having problems with the button, but I think I got them sorted out. So if you don't see an image please let me know :) Also, Katie helped me fix my code, so a BIG thanks to her!

**I announced the schedule and prizes in this post!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

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

 Pieces from a Riley Blake panel that I think should probably get made into simple pillows here soon.

 Was never allowed to have unhealthy cereal when I was younger, so Froot Loops are a guilty pleasure.

 A sundress for my younger sister's graduation has been in the works. More on Sartorial Saturday!

 The night I sat under a blanket and did some simple embroidery. So relaxing :)

My older sister's middle school classroom. Kids these days!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Please bear with me, and feedback please

I'm trying to change some things around on here, including the template. However, I'm not the best example of the younger generation being great with technology. So if things are confusing for the next few days, I apologize, I'm probably more frustrated about it then you are :)

So as I'm trying to make this template into what I want I have a few questions. I'd really appreciate if you could just answer them in the comments!

1. Do you usually read your blog posts in some sort of blog reader [ie, Google Reader]?
2. If a blog has a "Read More..." function do you normally click it to get the rest of the post or does that tend to dissuade you from reading their blog?
3. Have you ever clicked on the tags at the bottom of a post to find more posts from that author on HSTs for instance?

Thank you sooo much! :) 

Edited to add: I've been working for a couple hours, changed things around a couple times, and my brain hurts now. Feel free to click over from your Reader and tell me what you think so far. I really like blogs with very simple looks, so that way you can focus on the posts, so that's what I'm going for. Now I need to leave the Interwebz before my head explodes. 

Edited again to add: I went through all my posts and added labels to them, so you can see that on the sidebar if you're looking to find something specific :)

Giveaway Day Winners!

Happy Saturday!

For my SMS Giveaway Day entry you all had to answer what fabric line you were looking forward to getting. I think the most popular answers were:
  • Kate Spain's Cuzco
  • V&Co.'s Simply Color
  • Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille
  • Field Study by AMH
  • Tula Pink's Birds and the Bees
Yay for fabric!

On to our winners :)
The first random number was a U.S. reader, but she didn't answer what fabric line she was looking forward to, and everyone else who entered either answered or said they didn't follow lines/couldn't pick on, etc. So I didn't feel it was fair to award her the prize :( [Always answer the question people! Or else I'd just say you could type random letters for a giveaway] So I drew another number, #40...

 And it's Jill! And I totally didn't know where she was from, so I went to her blog and felt like a little bit of a stalker. But she belongs to the Portland Modern Quilting Guild [see, please don't feel creeped out!], so she must live somewhere around there. Aka, the U.S. So Jill, look out for an email from me later today so I can get your address to ship out your blue fabrics and Summersville squares.

I had to go through 2 more U.S. readers before the random number was finally international, but that was lucky #170, who was...

Janet, I'll be emailing you to let you know and then you can tell me what email address is best for sending your patterns to! Remember, if anyone else was hoping they'd win the mustache pattern, you can get it in my Etsy shop for just $3! Mustaches on everything!

Hope everyone had a fun [and lucky!] Giveaway Day :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Simple embroidery

This morning I had to get up at 5:45 to drive out to my sister's middle school [she's an 8th grade teacher] because one of her teacher friends asked me to speak to her classes. They have a special program for kids who would be the first person in their family to go to college. So I spoke about how to be successful in high school and college, and what career options are available with a criminal justice degree. Kids love hearing stories about criminals, so I was pretty popular today.

Wow, I got off-topic for a moment there. Sewing, Rebecca, focus on the sewing. So last night I really wanted to sew. Because I wanted to sew, but couldn't let myself be too immersed in a project and then staying up too late, I chose a handwork project.

Are you wanting to get into embroidery but are scared? Then something like this is totally for you.

I found this new Laura Gunn fabric the other day and I'm simply embroidering around one of the shapes with some DMC floss. I happened to have a skein of floss in this deep burgundy/purpley that almost exactly matches the little bits of purple in the fabric. It requires almost no thought and is very relaxing and kind of meditative.

I loved the print for a pillow for my couch but wanted to jazz it up a smidge. Plus using all 6 strands of floss gives it some awesome texture.

There and Back 

I'm linking up over with Katie today, who is celebrating a slower pace of sewing with her Handmade Parade. Yay!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

On being published

Have you ever submitted something for publication? If so, how was the experience?

While I'm a little shy about admitting it here, I just finished submitting 2 ideas to a popular sewing/quilting magazine. I also have something in the works to be included in a project later this summer, but it is not in a printed format. It would be really cool to see my name in print, but I must admit that I don't have too much hope that my ideas will be accepted.

And by the by, sewing lessons are still going. We've logged about 15 hours this week on Amanda's quilt [it's amazing how much slower she sews than I do! Was I ever that slow and careful?]. She was so excited to see her first giant t-shirt Polaroid. I'm not going to lie, I'm glad she took my suggestion to make them Polaroids and not just sew them together as-is.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A 25 hour quilt. Ish.

If you're looking for my Sew, Mama, Sew! Giveaway, please go here.

So yesterday I shared the story surrounding my friend's wedding quilt. And today I promised you the process. Now, just a warning, if you get stressed by time deadlines, you might want to avert your eyes from this post. Also, I swear I'm not normally like this, but the universe just did not smile on me making this quilt!

Sometime in January I decided I wanted to make a quilt for my friend Rachael for a wedding present. Her wedding isn't until July, so I thought I'd take my time and get to it later in the year.

On May 1st [the day I moved into my new place] I got the invitation to her bridal shower [on May 20th] and decided I wanted to give the quilt to her then so I could see her open it. I'd make it in her wedding colors of blue and gray with a pop of yellow.

May 3rd-5th I chaperoned a conference for my sister's high school newspaper, and took my blue fabric with  me to start cutting out the pieces. Except I forgot the templates. No cutting took place.

The rest of May was a whirlwind and I was incredibly busy, and barely got my sewing room up and going and my house in order. Which brings us to...

Thursday May 17th:

Finally perfected my enlarged templates [#18 Century of Progress block from Farmer's Wife Quilt]. Or so I thought.

Friday May 18th:
Cutting, cutting, cutting. Cutting all my previously cut pieces smaller. Way to go, Rebecca >.<
Ran to my LQS [30 min drive] to get whatever true blue fabrics I could find and hopefully a light gray. I ended up with a Moda Bella gray of some sort.
More cutting. Seriously. I got a blister. It was all cut by hand after I traced my templates.

Sewed together a couple of pieces and realized my templates were off, but if I sewed 3/8" seams then they were good to go. This should have been foreshadowing.

Saturday May 19th:

This is what I had at noon. I had 25 hours before I had to leave for the shower. Ready, set, go!

4 pm: Realized that I wanted it to be bigger than 3x4 blocks, and so I needed 5 more blocks.

 6 pm: Went to Joann's to buy all the blue DS Quilts prints that they had that were blue and white. Also refueled on caffeine. Note: thousands of teddy grahams gave their lives during the making of this quilt.

 7 pm: Throwing possible backing fabrics on the ground. Thinking I should have just bought a sheet for the back.

 8 pm: Stephen walked in the room and said I needed to get rid of the rockets in the bottom middle because it was the only block with colorful blue fabric [since when does he give quilt input?!]. I replaced it with the only blue and white fabric I hadn't used, a Riley Blake chevron.

9 pm: The backs looked pretty good considering I was sewing as fast as I possibly could.

6 am on Sunday: I don't really liked colored borders, and I had just enough white to make the quilt about 5 inches bigger on each side.

 7 am: Backing is pieced, and quilt is basted. Stephen even offered to help, because he had just gotten home from work. I was astounded once again, but really appreciative. Basting was [I thought] so much easier on this longer carpet! It was so smooth and nice!

11:45 am: FINISHED. 1 hour and 15 minutes early. Long enough for me to stick it in the washer and dryer, for me to take a shower, and then to take pictures of the quilt. It was a quilty miracle.

There was really only one moment when it was tragic. When I realized my basting on the back got messed up. I blame this partly on being very tired because I didn't re-check the backing when I was done basting. And then didn't realize it was bubbly/puckered until I was DONE quilting. I didn't have any option but to go with it, because I had no time left. After I washed it it got a little better, but there are still spots like this fold that makes me so sad.

24 pieces per block x 20 blocks = 480 pieces.
That's 480 hand-traced and hand-cut pieces. Plus sewing the blocks together. Plus the borders. 500 seams.
Approx. 60x70" finished.
The majority of it [everything except those first 6 blocks] was done over a 25 hour period. I was awake a total of 32 hours from Saturday morning to Sunday evening.

After the shower, I went home and slept for 14 hours.

*Linked up with Quilt Story

Monday, May 21, 2012

Giveaway Day Spring 2012!

It's Giveaway Day! Hooray! Giveaway is closed, winners have been announced here, and are Janet and Jill.

I participated in this for the first time in December and it was so fun! For those of you who are new here, I'm in my early 20's, taught myself to sew on the most basic Singer out there, and love to quilt. One of my 2012 sewing resolutions was to start making clothes, so I've dabbled in that here and there as well. I love the online quilting community because I don't know anyone my age who sews [although at this very moment I'm overseeing my friend at the cutting mat as I teach her how to make her very first quilt].

Here's a mosaic of some of my recent finishes:

I actually have multiple giveaways today!

The first is U.S. residents only, and is a bundle of leftover fabric from my quilt that I wrote about yesterday for Bloggers' Quilt Festival. From left to right: 4 DS Quilts prints from Joann that are about 9x34" and a blue Painters Canvas that is approximately the same size. Then you will also get 4 pieces of Summersville that are around layer cake size, give or take an inch or two. Two of the pieces have been cut from my pieces that were colored by me with fabric markers. These will not bleed or wash out. I've tested the markers and the color does fade just a teeny tiny bit. And yes, the markers are neon.

Picture and pattern are from Nova at A Cuppa and a Catch Up

For international readers I will be giving away the Nesting Fabric Bowl pattern by Nova of A Cuppa and a Catch Up. I would like to note that she's not sponsoring this and that I am paying for it myself. So I will pay but the pattern will come to your email address. I've made items from this pattern and it's very nicely written [although I haven't had a chance to blog about them yet! eep!]. And I will also include my fabric? must.stash. pattern!

Rules of the giveaway: Giveaway is closed, winners are Janet and Jill
-Leave a comment about your favorite upcoming line of fabric that you're waiting for the release. For me personally I'm so excited about Seaside by October Afternoon, Simply Color by V. and Co. and Cuzco by Kate Spain.
-Please make sure your email address is in your profile or listed in your comment. No reply bloggers will not be able to win :(
-Note if you are a US or an international reader so I know what prize to award
-Giveaway will be open until Friday May 25th at 5 pm Eastern Standard Time
-Winners will be announced by the 27th!

Thanks for stopping by, and good luck on all the giveaways! :)

Bloggers' Quilt Festival!

Today I'm sharing the story surrounding my Bloggers' Quilt Festival quilt. It's a long post, but bursting with emotion for me to write. For information on the process of the quilt, come back tomorrow :)

I met my friend Rachael in 2nd grade. I had just moved to Florida and was living an hour away from my school while my family's house was being finished. In elementary school we were best friends: in the same Girl Scout troop, multiple classes together, on a boys soccer team together, and two of the four girls in Gifted.

And then I found out I was moving to Virginia. We shared a "Best Friends" butterfly necklace, and promised we'd stay friends forever. I think we did a pretty good job of staying in touch for 11 year-olds...I'd sleep over at her house when my family visited Florida and we wrote letters occasionally. But I also made new best friends, and loved my time in Virginia.

Then we found out we were moving back to Florida in time for me to enter high school. I had missed those all-important middle school years where strong friendships are formed. I was even more nervous moving back to a place I had lived before.

But then...

We were friends again! We slipped right back into our friendship! Now we had a more mature relationship; not spending the night at each other's houses, but talking about life and our undying love for coffee. We were in classes together again, played club soccer and high school soccer together, were high school captains together one season, volunteered with Girl Scouts together, and took a very memorable camping trip one weekend with a million little kids. She was the only person I let interview me after I was robbed at gunpoint at Arby's, and her mom was my character reference for pretty much every job/college I applied to.

I remember freshman year when she started dating James. As only high schoolers who couldn't drive could "date". They actually met when she was in 8th grade and he was in 9th. He went to a school down the road, but I remember how he used to drive over and see her after school while we were waiting for soccer practice to start.

And then she did something that I think makes her one of the smartest and wisest high school girls on the planet. They split up so she could enjoy high school without the pressures of a boyfriend. She didn't date anyone else, but I honestly didn't give James a second thought after that. And then when we went to college he was back in her life and the two of them could enjoy being adults and forming a special bond. I knew then that he was special.

She graduated college a semester early, got offered a teaching job a day after graduation, and now teach high schoolers all about literature and writing, which is a passion of hers. James graduated college and got a great job as a finance manager and then proposed. She has so many friends and has been a bridesmaid so many times and now she gets to be the center of attention. She gets to be the beautiful bride.

And Rachael, you will be beautiful. You're one of the most beautiful people I've ever met. In spirit and character just as much as in physical looks. You take amazing photos [especially in South Africa!], have been all over the world on mission trips, drink as much coffee as me, and never fail to make me laugh when we meet at our favorite brunch place and you get something so healthy while I have a small mountain of bacon. You're the reason I like turkey and tomato sandwiches and are the prime example of a strong, self-assured woman.

Dear Rachael,

Quilts have traditionally been given as wedding presents for centuries. So why mess with a good thing, right?! The quilts of the past were hand-stitched bundles of love and well wishes. The quilt I made wasn't hand-stitched in that way, but every moment spent on this quilt was a moment that I was pouring wishes of love and joy and happiness into your upcoming marriage. I hope this quilt brings you comfort for years to come and serves as a reminder of the joining of your new family.

Love, Rebecca
Fall 2006

Rachael must have a secret for non-puffy eyes after crying. Must get that...

*I gave Rachael her quilt at her bridal shower yesterday. I cried immediately upon her opening it. She cried. My mom cried. Her mom cried. A couple other people cried. It was the most beautiful quilty moment that I've ever had :)

-Linked with SewHappyGeek