Monday, January 16, 2012

How Jess got her groove back

At the end of last year, I had signed up to be part of the charity quilting bee, do.Good Stitches.  I got placed in the Imagine Circle, hosted by Amanda of My Sewcial Hour and our quilts are being donated to Threading Hope, an organization that donates the quilts to children/families in underpriveleged countries.  I'm so excited about this cause and about the very talented group of ladies that I'll be working with, in fact I was quite intimidated when I started looking at everyone's flickr pools and what kinds of stuff they can do! Happily, everyone is very friendly and supportive and I'm looking forward to making some new friends.  For our first block, Amanda chose the Sawtooth Star, which I was happy with since I have done these before and it would let me kind of get my feet wet without getting too crazy.  We were asked to make the blocks in pinks, whites, reds and accents of greys, and we could do whatever variation of the block we felt like.  Here are the two I came up with:

January Bee Block

January Bee Block

Like most things I make, my ideas for these started out much different, but I do love how they turned out.  I had gone to my LQS to pick up a few fat quarters to make these as my stash is lacking in these colors, and those little birds immediately caught my eye! Aren't they so cute? I wish I knew what line they were from.  The sashing in the middle of that one was improv'd as my small squares turned out slightly too small to make a full 12.5" block, but I think it actually looks better with the sashing anyway.  I'm not really sure why my points got cut off and I'm a little disappointed about that, but oh well, such is life.  The second one was totally not what I'd planned.  I didn't even know I had these reds in my stash until I was looking for some white to use, and I found a small scrap of that center fabric that I had gotten in a stash bag a while back, and luckily I found that solid red which I don't even remember buying.  Anway, not as creative a block as I had originally planned, but I love the pop of color in the middle. 

After I finished my blocks I felt like I was starting to get my groove back, so I decided to whip up this cute little stuffie for my good friend's little girl. 

Is this not the cutest thing ever?? It's going to be very hard to part with when I mail it off with my friend's gift this week (yeah, we're still not done with Christmas!).  I was able to use leftovers from the FQ's I bought for my blocks, some yellow felt I already had, the white for the eyes was in my stash, and I actually got the black from some random scrap of "cow print" that I somehow wound up with a while back.  Also, the filling is from a pillow I took apart a few months ago. Woo, all scraps!! 

Owl Close Up

Owl Back Side

This little guy was really quick to put together with this tutorial, only taking about 2 hours including the time it took to cut out the pattern and gather fabrics.  I'm not completely convinced I did the tail right, and will probably alter it next time (yes, there will be a next time as I plan to make a whole parliament of these little guys! And yes, I had to google what a group of owls is called...) I did skip the step about adding felt inside the wings, but I will try it that way next or add a little stuffing to them. 

After this weekend of finishing this stuff up, I feel totally ready to get back in the swing of things and complete some bigger projects that are still in wait!  Now the trick will be focusing on those projects that need finishing BEFORE starting new ones...I've already had to fight myself from buying this pattern from Tickle and Hide for her drawstring quilts, they are super cute and I'm excited she is now selling the pattern for them! She's also having a give away at her blog to win a copy of the pattern along with a jelly roll to make it with, go check it out!

So, what kind of projects do you find help get you out of a rutt? 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

New Fabric = Love

I am giddy as a school girl...why? Because I just got my first package of fabric in the mail! Man I tell you this may have created a monster...there's so many great fabric shops out there with so many pretty things and it's SO easy...uh oh, someone better cut me off from the interwebs...

This all started while I was over at Stitched in Color and Rachel so non-chalantly mentioned that if your stash was needing solids, than the Baby Bottled Rainbow Bundle at Marmalad Fabrics was just the fix.  Turns out, I *was* in desperate need of some solids, so I popped on over and immediately saw the bundle had to be mine.  This bundle of Kona Solids was put together for this shop on Rachel's suggestion, and there are two versions.  I have never gotten to use Kona Solids but I always love the richness of the colors and have heard great things, so I was pretty pumped about this.  While I was there, I hit up the sale section and grabbed a couple of fat quarters and headed to check out.  As I was looking at shipping costs, I realized that I could either pay $10 for shipping, or spend $10 more to reach the free shipping yeah that's kind of a no brainer! It took me forever to narrow down my selections, and man was it a hard choice.  I almost wound up with about twice as much as I got, but I had to cut myself off and I LOVE the choices I made.

Kona Baby Bottled Rainbow Bundle (they came labeled with the color name on it...isn't that great??)

Ty Pennington's Impression-Water Flowers, Khristian A. Howell's Theory-Sierra Leaf and Forrest Wheels

Fun fabrics
Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2- Sparrows, Ty Pennington's Impressions-Kimono Spice, Foliage and Lace

I had no idea that Ty Pennington actually had a line of fabric out, and actually I didn't even know it was his when I ordered and just noticed as I was organizing my photos, but bravo, Ty! I'm diggin it. I love that even though these are from 3 separate lines, I can mix and match them together.  I'm dying to cut into them, but they're being saved for the e-course that I signed up to take which is the Curves Class taught by none other than Rachel at Stitched in Color (yeah, I've gotten into a lot of trouble over at her blog lately...but I adore her so it's okay!)

So, do you shop for fabric online, or do you prefer to see it in person first? And where are your favorite online places to shop for fabric? 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Before and After

For Christmas this year (er...last year I guess?) I got a lot of fun sewing goodies, including new a quilting table.  In case you missed this post, here is a reminder of how terribly messy and non-sewing friendly my "craft room" was. 

Disaster area 1

Disaster area 2

This room did not start off as a craft room.  It actually started off as my husband's office where all of his computer stuff was set up, along with our printers and other random "guy" stuff.  When I first started sewing, I set up my machine on my little desk that I had in the guest room-not a whole lot of space but it worked at first.  A few months after working in there, my dear hubby suggested that I move my desk into the office since he has a laptop and doesn't use the room that much anyway and that way I'd have a little more room to work...little did he know this was the beginning of the end of his "office"! I slowly but surely took over most space in that room, including the computer hutch which was not at all functional for cutting fabric on (anything bigger than a fat quarter was usually cut on the ground...).  Though inefficient and cramped and at times frustrating, it's what we had and I made it work.  Well for Christmas, my grandmother-in-law, mother-in-law and hubby went in together and got me a giant quilting table!

Christmas Loot
This photo shows some of the loot I got for Chrimas also, but more on that later.  Check out the size of this table! No more cutting on the floor for me...that blue cutting mat is 36" x 24" and as you can see it doesn't fill up the full table.  The table also opens up and has a little table top meant to put a serger on, but since I do not have a serger I will probably use it to put patterns and such on to easily see while I'm cutting and pinning.
New Quilting Table!

When I got this it was in a great big box and still needed to be assembled.  Unfortunately, I had to go back to work the week after Christmas, so I was bummed that I was going to have to wait until the weekend to put it in action.  Happily, my husband still was off work, and I came home that Tuesday surprised to find that he had spent the whole day building it, dismantling the horrible hutch and removing it from the house, and cleaning and straightening up the room.  I love that man! Later, he also helped me hang my thread holder on the wall so it wouldn't take up space on the desk and he also added a shelf to the wall (made with wood from the dismantled hutch!)

Improved sewing area

Improved sewing area

I clearly have not finished organizing takes me some time to settle in and "nest" in a new area, but it's coming along and I'm loving working in there now! Also, I have to add to please ignore the awful colors in that room.  The people before us for some reason thought it was a good idea to paint two of the walls purple and two of the walls green...oh, and the ceiling is green! We've been here over 2 years now but have been too lazy busy with other projects to repaint. 

Also for Christmas as seen in that photo, I got some new books, the cutting mat, a mini-iron, new rotary blades and a new die for my AccuQuilt Go!Baby cutter.  I actually got a mini-iron from both my parents and my husband, so the day after Christmas my mom and I went to the craft store to return one and I got a great big ruler and the gripper for it which is great! 

I finally got back to sewing the other day and started making my bee blocks for this month.  I am almost finished with them and once I can get some photos I'll share those.  Also, my fabric that I ordered comes in tomorrow, woohoo! Is it weird that I'm litterally giddy about getting a package of fabric?? *sigh* feels good to be getting back in the groove :)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Big Reveal (and why I've been a slacker)

Well, Happy New Year everyone!! It's been quite some time, but I'm back from my hiatus with a big reveal!

Look Mom, it's a frog! It's an alien gummy bear! No, it's a baby!  We found out we were expecting our first baby just about 2 weeks before Christmas, I was about 6 weeks along when we found out.  With that came the "morning" (should be called 24-7) sickness and tiredness...Most of December for me was spent sitting on the couch, not feeling like doing much of anything.  Because of this, I really did not get a whole lot done the past few weeks, and unfortunately had to give a few people some "IOU's" for Christmas! Oh well, once we told them the news they were excited and understanding. At first I was pretty upset I couldn't get up the energy to finish things, but realized I really just needed to rest and not let myself get stressed out.

I am almost 10 weeks now and starting to feel a little more human again, so I am trying to get back to my sewing (and cleaning...but where's the fun in that??) but am having to slowly work my way out of my rut.  I know I have quite a few projects left to finish, but I need something quick and small to get me back in.  My group for do. Good Stitches starts this month, so today I went out to my LQS and picked up a few fat quarters/fat eigths and will do those blocks tomorrow. I'm hoping this gives me the kick I need to get back into the swing of things! I also ordered some fabrics on-line the other night (a first for me!) and signed up for a class (another first!), but I'll share more about that later, for now, its nap time! Hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!