Monday, 7 April 2014

Return of the Cutter

Perhaps I just needed a little blog post to kick me in the ass and get me going again, but I feel like my desire to do pretty things with pretty fabrics is returning.  I certainly know that my desire to acquire pretty fabrics is returning.  Yum.  Can I tell you how much I love bluey-purples?!?  I want them all.  All the ones ever made by Kate Spain and Tula Pink and Kaffe Fasset and whoever else makes them.  If you happen to be ridding yourself of moderny bluey-purples....I'm your girl!

I guess you already saw, but after I cleaned my house from top to bottom this weekend, I felt like some semblance of order had returned to the world.  The above zero temperatures aren't hurting either.  I decided I could finally get my act together enough to sort through the GAJILLIONS of pictures I've taken since January (have I ever mentioned how many mundane pictures I take?) to find the ones that represent my creative endeavours since the beginning of January.   And then I posted.

Ooh, and speaking of that cowl I had made but never managed to take a picture of?  I took one:
Not too shabby for a first knitting project, right?
This thing is delightful.  Not only is it a pretty colour but it is soft as hell.  If you know me at all you know that texture is overwhelmingly important - it HAS to feel good to be good.  I made it slightly longer than the pattern called for - I hate the chokey feeling of turtlenecks and wanted to make sure this was loose but that I could still wrap it around.  I got to practice different stitches too.  I like knitting.  Not as much as I like quilting....but I think this just might stick.  I already started something new!

And tonight?  Shock of shocks, stunner of stunners?  I finally dragged out my cutting mat and my recently acquired collection of Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelets and got started on cutting the Bloom Bloom Pow quilt that's been marinating in the back of my head for months.
Ooooh!  Fabric was being sliced and diced tonight!
I'm not in a rush on this project.  I have something in mind I want to make for my niece and after a field trip to a certain not-so-local quilt store this weekend, I will likely work on it instead.  However, I'm not gonna lie, it feels good to be working on something again.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Sometimes there's just no explanation

I know.

You don't even have to say it.

I've been negligent.

I'm sorry.

I kinda lost my sew-jo/mo-jo this winter.  Maybe it was the cold.  Maybe this disgusting winter made me curl up on my couch under a blanket and will it and implore it to be July....or just 30 degrees.  Or just 20.  Hell, I think I would have settled for 12.  Maybe there seemed to be a lot more mentally exhausting things going on at work.  Maybe I was working on learning a new skill.  Maybe something sad and unexpected happened.  Heck, maybe it was all of it.  But somewhere, as a result, I wasn't sewing.  I wasn't even thinking about sewing.  I wasn't lusting after fabric in the same way I usually do.  In fact, I wasn't even reading the blogs I usually read.  Weird.

I'm pretty sure this was the last thing I was working on.  I think it might have been at the end  of January.  It's the chunk-of-the-month with the guild.  I think it's starting to look visually interesting.  Well...not visually interesting enough to blog about or anything....(should I stop being sarcastic with myself?) but, still.  I'm now officially two months behind on this.
I was playing with this on the floor of a mini-retreat hosted by our guild - it makes a good work space.
As my learn-something-new goal for 2014, I decided I wanted to learn how to knit.  So....a bunch of YouTube videos and a couple of trips to Michael's later, I was able to do this:
I have, at this point, made three of these dish cloths and a delightful, soft, cowl which I have no pictures of so I will show you later.
Since then, I have made a couple of trips to fun yarn stores (ya, whoever thought I would string the words fun, yarn, and store together?!?).   I have lovely sets of needles and am currently halfway through the gap-tastic cowl which was all the rage all over blog-land this winter.  Not gonna lie, this may serve to distract me from sewing.

At the beginning of February I was feeling pretty smug about having SCADS of time to make my BFF's brand new competition suit. happened and all of a sudden I had one week left to cut, sew, and bejewel the thing before my March 9th deadline.  Ugh.  Nothing like a little stress to get a person motivated.  Have I ever mentioned to you how I'm not a person who lives for the last minute?!?  Needless to say, I cut out all my pieces on Saturday, sewed the whole mama-jama on Sunday and placed about 700 individual crystals on it in about 10 hours.

Here she is modelling the thing as soon as I finished it at 1 a.m., the night before I was supposed to leave on vacation.  It turned out not too shabby if I do say so myself. 
Since the competition suit almost-fiasco of early March, I have started to crawl out of my little winter-induced hole.  I started reading my blogs again, I have been reconnecting with my fabric lust.  The last two weeks alone prove this to be true.  I have spent more money on fabric over the last two weeks than I have in the previous three months.  This is helping:
Only about the cutest thing ever, right?
This is my niece Maddie.  We were having a day-long, carpet play-date.  We coloured.  A lot.  Like, I think we may have killed the markers we coloured so much.  We also played dominoes, read a book, coloured some more, and played with stuffies.  Then, Maddie decided she wanted to peel all the labels off the crayons.  Although this upsets my need for ridonkulous amounts of order in the world, I dived in.  There were peels flying everywhere and naked crayons lying all over the floor.  I mean, look at that face.  How could a person look at that face and NOT pull the peels of the crayons.  *sigh*  I'm in trouble.

And, in a sure sign of spring and an end to my winter no-sew blahs, this arrived this week:
Delicious fat-quarter bundle of Lizzy House's Pearl Bracelets.  
Even better!!!!  Delicious fat-quarter bundle of NEW tone-on-tone Pearl Bracelets!  So pretty!
So the first bundle is hopefully going to one day find itself into a Bloom Bloom Pow quilt.  I have kinda wanted to make one of these since it was on the Freshly Pieced blog last summer (I think).  That second bundle?  Truth be told, I think I might be happy to let that live on the shelves for a good long while.  :)

Now, I gotta go dust off my sewing machine.  It's time to work my kinks out.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Quilty Box...Gak!!!! Gulp!!!! EPIC

It came!  My most anticipated Christmas gift (cuz my mom loves me A LOT)!  My sweeten-my-day, happy-mail, fabric-deliciousness monthly surprise.  My mystery box subscription from a little company called Quilty Box!!!  I got a six-month subscription for Christmas and every month I will get a box of quilt related goodness....yippee!!!  I will admit, I was had a little sense of trepidation when the UPS man knocked on  my door.  I mean, c'mon!  Its 30 below outside...who the hell is knocking on doors in this weather!  But, he had a present for me and he was freezing his ass I let him in.  You know, mostly cuz he had a present for me.  :p 

This is what it looks like when it arrives....all enticing me with its crafty secrets.
So of course, right in the middle of making dinner, I stopped everything and tore into it like it was my job and revealed its tissue-wrapped surprise.  Here's what I found:
A smattering of goods waiting to be examined
First up was this AMAZING charm-pack of all the Sunprints by Alison Glass.  AWESOME!  Not gonna lie, this is the fattest charm-pack I've ever seen.  There's over 50 squares in it.  Yay! Then, under that a book of quilting-related, funny, short-stories called "Quilting Isn't Funny" by Meghan Dougherty (otherwise known as the Bitchy Stitcher).  I already appreciate her moniker. And under that, the Feathers Pattern by Alison Glass.  So pretty!!!
These are my favourite parts of this month's box
 Then, there was this thing called an Art Cloth Kit -- not quite sure what it is but it will be interesting to check it out when I have a minute and can read all the information that came with it.  Ya...I'm that person: I will read every word of those instructions and directions.  And just when I thought I was done and my Quilty Box was all unwrapped for this month.....the BEST PART:

All I can say is LOL!!!!
I think the fabric gods have me figured out.  Awesome!  I need this tattooed on my forehead.  Ha.  

Oh ya....and, on Sunday while I was greedily wishing for a snow day on Monday, I finished my 3rd instalment of my chunk-of-the-month for the guild.  Here she is:
I'm still not sure how I feel about it, but I will admit that I at least find this visually interesting.  I like the pixellated look and will probably try it again.
Okay...back to dinner.  I'm kinda hungry now.

Friday, 3 January 2014

Organizey Heaven

Okay, so you may have seen this:

This is my fabric (or the majority of it) in an "organized" fashion.
This picture is the after effects of the fabric tsunami that occurred when the weight of my accumulated fabric caused the plastic containers to buckle and collapse (recall I thought I was the victim of a home invasion when I heard the crash).

Well I finally went to Ikea over the holidays and sought out a more stable solution.  There was a big sale on so I picked up an Expedit unit, and some inserts to make cupboards and drawers.  I was pretty know, till the building part began.  Ugh.

I put the unit together in my hallway where there was more room.  Notice the horizontal orientation.
So I knew (because I measured) that there was more than enough room in my closet for it to lay flat like this so I could stack bins on top of it.  However, when I went to put it in the closet, I couldn't get it to fit.  My by-pass mirrored closet doors should pop right off but I could not, for the life of me, get them to go!  So it meant that I had to take all those inserts out and reorient them so I could get the thing to go in vertical.  Jeez.

Fortunately, vertical orientation fit like a glove.  So I started to load it up.  I am loathe to admit, those cupboards are full of fabric too.
I really did start to wonder if I was going to need another one.  I'm not going to lie, this works for my current stash, but if I get any more fabric, I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get another one.  Its a weird feeling, having done this sewing thing for 5.5 years, I'm half proud and half ashamed of myself.  Lol.

And here she is - I used the actual existing shelf of the closet to store my bags and partial bags of batting
And my favourite part?  I spent the time to fold all of my fat quarters and put them in a drawer so I can see them all at once:
Super endorphin delivering happiness!  I will save the fun of putting them in colour order for another day.
Bonus, I even found some less-than-pretty to me fabric to donate to the local guild.  I know I am never going to use it so they might as well dedicate it for some community projects.
I'm not going to use any of this - someone else might as well.
And after that my hands were a bit sore from all the screwing drawers together, then unscrewing, then re-screwing so I sat down to sketch out the duvet cover I'm going to make for my crazy friend Brenty.  He's a lovely blend of funny and whack-a-doodle so I knew anything I made for him had to represent his boisterous and out-there personality.  He loved the sketch so I am all set to go on my next project.  You know....when my new fabric gets here.  

Not using an existing pattern, but knocked a to-do off my 2014 list by sketching it out myself.  We'll see how it goes.  I had to do quilt math!  :o


I was just thinking - I have not posted one of my Lucky Star BOM blocks for AGES!  Wanna know why?  Cuz I haven't worked on one of them for AGES!  Yikes.  Its weird because I really, really, really like them and I'm always ridiculously happy to look at them when they are finished.  They just take so. Damned. Long. To recap, this BOM started last December with a practice block.  Then, one per month since then.  Technically, if I'm doing what I should, when I should, there should be 26 blocks.  13 of the 12.5 inch, and 13 of the 6.5 inch.  I'm not doing too bad - I finally got July done.  This means I have 16.  So only 10 more to go.  Maybe, if I keep up the pace, I'll be done by next Christmas.  Sheesh.

So my friend A and I had a little sewing date at her house on the 30th.  This is an EPICALLY awesome idea and I want to do it again.  It gave me the time, space, and reason to sit and sew for the better part of an entire day.  As such, I was able to get my July block done from Lucky Stars - both sizes!  

This is the 12.5 inch version of the July block.  I really think its my favourite so far.
And again, I was able to use the scraps from the big block to construct the 6.5 inch version.
So, fueled by coffee and a really delicious roasted red pepper and sweet potato soup (really yummy A!) I was able to use my time to get myself that much more caught up on my Lucky Stars.  If we do this five more times, I'll finally get 'er done I think!

Thursday, 2 January 2014

So much to catch up on!

Ack!  I haven't blogged in FOREVER!  The darn holidays!  So much to do in so little time!

Let me catch you up on a couple of things.....

I made two of these quilts (which I am calling Blitzen Trees) for a couple friends of mine for Christmas:7
Each of these two ladies was the recipient of one of these quilts just before the last day of school.
I pieced the back from "A Merry Little Christmas" by Zoe Pearn for Riley Blake.  I liked the line so much I also used it to make a whack-a-doodle of pillow cases for the kids I know.  Okay.  Confession.  And one for me too.  :)
The gigantic window in front of the quilt is shining through the quilt and making it see-through!
I also decided to whip up (Ha!  It's only "whipped" in comparison to the investment of time it took to make two twin sized quilts.  Its funny how your perspective changes) a couple of table-runners for the fabulous Principal/Vice Principal people I work with.  These used a fun line of Christmas fabric in non-traditional colours called "Aspen Frost".

Aren't these cute fabrics?!?
 So the "whip" part....SIX hours!  It took me six hours to make each of these from fabric-cutting to binding.  It's a sad state of affairs when whipping something up is a six hour investment.  Maybe not bad all told but I felt like this view of my sewing machine is all I saw for the whole month of December:

Stacks of triangles.  You know, to go with the other stacks of triangles I sewed....or trimmed.  
I got so busy trying to get these done before the last day of work before the holidays that I actually forgot to take pictures of them once they were finished.  Whoops!  Um...but here's a couple shots of the finished tops:

Pardon this one - it's kind of an epic panorama fail with my camera phone
Okay, so then it was Christmas and I got a WHACK of quilty stuff for Christmas (thank you friends and family who must clearly love me).  I think I might single-handedly be able to keep Pink Castle Fabrics in business through their first quarter at least!  And I got a subscription to this...thing...called Quilty Box.  Its a magical, secret box of stuff that will show up on my doorstep every month.  I will definitely keep you posted on that.

....and then there was the fabric.  Aweeeessssssooommmmeeeee!  Pink Castle has a 30% off sale right before the holidays.  Kind of their inventory clearance time.  I kinda got me some deliciousness.  I kinda didn't need it.  I kinda didn't care.
Some pretty low-volume fabrics.....I needed them for my stash.  Yup.  Needed
And this!!!  Joel Dewberry's True Colors line - I really want Heather Bailey's too!  These are amazing.  Most of them are a take on some of the fabric patterns he made for his Aviary line which I am in LOVE with.  
This lovely teal/blue/green combo is my favourite from the line.  I already separated it out from the others and put it with some other fabrics I want to use to make a quilt for me! 
And that was my holidays!  Better late than never!

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Lots of Tree Lot

I've been a busy little Christmas elf this weekend.  While I had grand plans to use my elfishness to get my house ready for Christmas, I instead got a couple of gifts to a more ready status instead -- I got the second of the two Christmas Tree quilt tops finished.  Plus, I pieced the backs for both quilts, and made both sets of binding!  What the hell, right?!?

This is the second of the two quilt tops - its pretty close to the first one.  I used the same fabric collection but just used different individual fabrics than the other.
Here's a close up of the bottom corner of top number 2..  
Completed binding for both quilt tops.  I roll them onto cardboard rolls to keep them from getting tangled, stretched, and otherwise disorganized.
And here it is - this is the pile of two pieced backings, two quilt tops, and both sets of binding.
My aim is to take this into the school with a big ol' bottle of 505 at some point this week.  I like using the floor of the atrium (which is a GINORMOUS open space) to lay it down flat and baste it.  Its a lot easier than re-arranging my furniture so I can create a space large enough to baste it at home. 

Now my back is sore so I'm gonna console myself by making a delicious peppermint mocha.