Thursday, December 31, 2009

One of those days...

I mean weeks. Do you ever have one of those days where everything you touch breaks and nothing goes according to plan. This has been one of those weeks for me. Well I joined my first ever virtual quilting bee (to those of you in my bees I apologize now, and I promise I will only send good blocks to you) and I received my first package of fabric this week. I have been chomping at the bit to get started since signing up in November and even though I have had a hundred other projects to do in the mean time I kept thinking I can't wait to get started on this. So first up Melissa from my Modern Quilting Bee choose this block. WOW! What a doosey is the first thing I thought when I saw it. Better make a practice block.

Here are some things I learned in my no good very bad with quilting week. When working with someone else's fabric if it can go wrong it will. My first mistake was in cutting the white fabric. I missed one of the pieces in the instructions so when I got to the end I was missing a 6 1/2" square that is pretty important since it's the center of the block. Of course I didn't have enough fabric left to cut it so I went and got some more white fabric. Thank goodness it was Kona White and not some elusive fabric like Flea Market Fancy.

Next up I attempted to iron the pink solid she sent. Oh you know what's coming right. My iron decided that it had been abused one to many times and spit some silver junk all over the fabric. Of course I tried washing it but it didn't come out. I gave the iron a good cleaning but am pretty sure a trip to Target to replace it will be on the list of things to do tomorrow. Melissa don't worry the pink was Kona Carnation and I was able to find it at a local quilt store.

Up next I stopped in the middle of sewing some blocks and when I came back to it the next day I forgot to move my needle placement to the "scant" 1/4 inch and sewed full 1/4 inch seams which apparently doesn't work with these instructions. My seam ripper and I have a love hate relationship right now. She loves to be used and I hate to do it.

Tonight I put in the last stitches and I was so excited that it was done I ran in here to photograph it and share with the group over on flickr. I uploaded the picture and added to the pool along side of another practice block that was already done and wait that doesn't look right. What's wrong with my block. Oh you have to be kidding me. Somewhere around step 7 out of 20 I sewed something together backwards. So looks like me and that seam ripper are going to get to be even better friends now. Do you see it. Taunting me there.

Although since it is just a sample blocks and I do actually really like it the way it is I am tempted to leave it alone and just make my real block sans all the problems. Especially since I have plans for a spider web quilt in the same color scheme. I'm thinking that a row of these across the back of that quilt might be really nice. Oh the possibilities.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Finished Quilt

Not just any finished quilt. I have made quilts in the past that have been hand tied but never have I finished an entire quilt from start to finish without a lot of help. That is until now. I finished my first quilt that wasn't hand tied all by myself. And if I thought I had the quilting bug before I can only imagine what it is going to be like now because I LOVE it.

The first quilt I ever made was for my mother and it was a very small lap quilt. The poor thing is falling apart at all of the seams and is a frightful mess but I know she still loves it just the same. It was the first quilt I ever made and I was being taught by some young girls during my last semester of college while doing an internship. The machine I used to sew with was a mess an would break constantly. It is a wonder the seams stayed together as long as they did. The binding is also a mess being that is it hand stitched with blue thread. Blue really. The quilt is yellow so I'm not sure where this came from although I'm sure it is what was on hand at the time.Those were my humble beginnings at quilting. I made this quilt for my mother in law for Christmas. It is the first quilt I ever had quilted by someone on a long arm. You can read about that adventure here. I hope she will love it because it took a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to make. I love it although there are definitely things I would do different next time it is nice to just sit back and enjoy having a finished piece of my own creativity out there floating around. The pattern is loosely based on this one.

Sometimes you just have to admit defeat

That is how I have been feeling for the last few weeks. Christmas came to quickly this year and my good intentions of homemade holidays feel by the waist side in more than one case. I had picked out things early and had good intentions of finishing them all but well if we are being honest here I am a procrastinator and I tend to bite off more than I can chew. And in my craft ADD, life's daily responsibilities, and some recent bouts of bad health in the Boyd home and you have the perfect equation for not everything is going to get done around here. And that is when all of the sudden you look around and you realize that sometimes you just have to admit defeat. So in the end everyone still received a Christmas present they just weren't all homemade by me. Peppermint Pines for example with be my SIL's Christmas present in 2010. It is so close to being done but there are only so many hours in a day. I did however manage to fit in home made gifts for my mom and mother in law and I learned a very important lesson. The smart people start shopping for the next Christmas the day after, the even smarter people start crafting for the next Christmas the same day. With that said I am off to drool over the pictures in my brand new copy of Material Obsession and learn to use my new walking foot. What a lucky girl I am.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well wishes for a New Friend

I made a new friend recently through online blogging. She and I have a ton of things in common. Her smushy face isn't feeling so good right now and Ali wanted to send him a special message.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I got a new top

I entered a giveaway on a blog a little while back for a chance to win a custom header for my blog. Since I am brand new to blogging and have no idea what I am doing I couldn't believe it when I won! Tacie was wonderful at putting this together and even changed the colors around when I asked her to make it a little brighter. And then she even took the time to explain to me how to get it from her email to the blog. This is why I love my quilt friends because they are so talented at so many things. A little birdie told me she is going to do a header for the first ten people who contact her. So if you are looking to spice things up a bit go see her. You know you want to.

I entered a few other giveaways during the giveaway day at Sew Mama Sew but there will be more on that later. I am so glad I participated though because I have found a ton of new sites to look at for inspiration and even made a few new friends.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope to have a ton of stuff finished this weekend to show you guys. I just got a little behind last week with being sick and all. Besides Christmas will be here before you know it and if I'm not done no one gets gifts. Talk about pressure.

Bea this one is for you. Hope Gus is feeling well.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

My Favorite Things

So this week I have been sidelined by a variety of things but the largest of them being an incredible migraine that I just couldn't seem to shake. I am hoping to have at least something finished up in time to post about tomorrow but to be honest I have spent most of my free time this week (when I wasn't sleeping or trying to lay completely still in the dark quiet of my closet) surfing blogland to look at all of the amazing giveaways for Sew Mama Sew's giveaway day. What you didn't know. Well if you hurry there is still a little time. Most of the drawings end at midnight on Sunday.Other than that I have been following the quilt along on flicker over at Old Red Barn Quilt Along. Okay I will be honest I haven't actually made any of these quilts but this group is so amazing and they have great inspiration and ideas. I do actually plan to go back and make all of the quilts just not until after Christmas. In the mean time I still enjoy watching every one's progress and seeing what is going on with a few of the ladies. This being said I saw a post for a Secret Santa in the threads the other day and I thought what a great idea. This would be an amazing way to send a little pick me up to someone and in return make a new blog friend. Well I am super excited about the person who's name I received because she is a new quilter like myself and we have participated in a few of the same things along the way. So I have been reading her blog for a while and I am excited to pack up a few goodies and send them off to her this week. Just a few things I want to finish up first, like that first batch of Peppermint Bark for the season.

Okay so I have rambled away and realized that I called this post my favorite things for a reason. It occurred to me that since I have a new blog and not very many pictures in my flickr stream it might be hard for my person to really get a sense of who I am as a quilter, crafter, and person. So I thought I would share a little bit about ME :)

My favorite color is ORANGE it always has been which in high school and college led to me owning an orange blanket, trashcan, clock, and well just about anything for my dorm room in orange. I'm also a huge fan of the color pink. So lets just say with all of the new fabric lines coming out I am in orange and pink heaven. I mean have you seen this, this, and even this?
I also HEART Polka Dots. Anything with Polka Dots.

I was always a cat person until I got married and we HAD to have dogs. Now I love my Boston Terrier and English Bulldog to death. I wouldn't trade them for the best cat in the world. Now don't get me wrong I still like cats but visiting my mom's two every once in a while works for me.

I am a pretty laid back person so I'm not picky about most things. Except my food. All the moms are going to cringe when I say this but I HATE veggies. Yup, pretty much all of them. I did recently discover that I like Lima beans but my husband tells me they don't really count as a green veggie so I guess I am still out of luck.

I don't drink coffee but I LOVE hot cocoa. I have been seeing a lot in blogs lately about homemade marshmallows. Say it isn't so. I have got to get on google and track down how this is done. Then again I might just get myself in trouble.

So this is just a little glimpse of me but I hope it helps my Secret Santa partner know just a little bit. And please don't tell the gang I haven't made any of the quilts yet, I don't know what I would do if they kicked me out.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Weekend Sewing

I have been a busy little bee around here this weekend. I didn't have to make Thanksgiving dinner (thanks mom) and so I got to do a little sewing with my mom. We worked hard on Friday and almost finished up our Figgy Pudding quilts. Who knew two quilts made from the same fabric could look so different. This picture isn't the greatest but can you see why I named my moms "Red Square Envy?"

The tops are done the quilts are basted and now if only I could get over my fear and try my hand at quilting. One problem with that, I can't seem to find the feet to my sewing machine. I know they have to be around here somewhere. Even so I don't have a walking foot and I am really thinking about doing straight lines on this quilt so maybe it doesn't really matter. But I really need to find those things.

Second up I finished Hexagon Love, twice. No photos of that yet because I'm still not happy with the binding. The tutorial called for sewing to the back first and then turning and sewing to the front. I've done this twice now and both times it looks sloppy to me. So the third time I hope will be the charm. This time though I am taking it off completely and I am going to sew it to the front and then turn and top stitch it down in the back. I think overall this will give it a much cleaner look. I made a little progress on the hand stitching on Peppermint Pines but I'm still not quite done with that.And last up I turned this little piece of fabric along with another into a Christmas gift. Sorry that's all you get on that until after the holidays since it is a gift for someone I am pretty sure will be reading this blog by now.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hexagon Love

I have crafting ADD. This is a trait that I am pretty sure my mom knows about since she raised me after all. But what does she do but email me a whole bunch of pretty links to look at. Now most of them I had seen before because they were on blogs I follow on a daily basis. I'm a little bit crazy about my blog reading but it keeps me inspired. Maybe a little to inspired sometimes. Sunday's are usually extra busy days for me since I am always finishing up homework from the week (I'm working on my MBA) but today I finished up amazingly early so when I should have been finishing piecing my Peppermint Pines wall hanging I took a quick time out to piece the front of a table topper. The tutorial was found here. Thanks mom!

The fabric is mostly Riley Blake with one Michael Miller tucked in there. The tutorial suggest backing it with flannel but since I don't have any on hand I think I will just use one of the fabrics from the front and a small piece of batting. I plan to just quilt it by stitching in the ditch along the lines. I have to say this was a really easy process and the top only took me about an hour to put together. If you need any last minute Holiday gifts this is a great idea. The only problem I encountered was the middle seems a little bunchy to me but there are a lot of seams right there and it is hard to iron it flat. I think once I quilt along the lines it will be fine, but if any of you have ideas I am open to suggestions. Now that I am done being distracted I better get back to finishing up those Christmas gifts that are in my work in progress pile. The tree goes up on Friday after all and I always like to have a few things wrapped and under the tree right away.

The snow man print is a bright pink. To me it looks like it photographed a little more on the red side. Maybe I will get a good outdoor shot once it is quilted and bound where the colors are a little more true.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pillow Talk

So what do you do when you only have one of these and three windows. If you are lucky enough to have a friend that sews you have them turn them into pillows. I spent my afternoon doing just that. A good friend of mine is having a baby and the bedding set she bought came with a valance. Just one small problem. She has three windows in the room and no room for hardware. Not to mention the staggering $60 a piece for the valances, odd shaped second story windows, and no where to put a rod at the top of the window. So she asked me if I could make it into a pillow for the single bed that is also in the nursery. She isn't picky so the only directions she gave me where to do something. At first she asked if we could just sew the ends shut and stuff it full of polly-fil. I thought we might be able to so something a little better than that.

I didn't anticipate having nearly as many problems with this simple request as I encountered. I thought two throw pillows would whip up in no time. I was right once I finally got my plan down. But there were a few issues. First once I took the valance apart I realized there wasn't as much workable fabric as I thought. So I dug threw my teeny tiny stash (I'm a newbie to this remember) but I had ordered some fabric from a great little shop a while back and because I LOVE polka dots I decided that I would order a few as stash enhancers. So enter the brown with white polka dots. It might be important to tell you that in case you can't see so well in the pictures the middle of the flowers are brown with green polka dots and oh by the way her nursery walls are painted glow in the dark pink.

The white quilted fabric from the original valance is very stretchy and it gave me a bit of a hard time in keeping everything square but I think it turned out okay in the end. I was planning on getting some white Kona Cotton out of a bag that I had for another project when I came across the pink and green plaid. I thought it would be great for the back so I used it on the back of the first one.

It is a simple envelope flap back so that she will be able to remove them and wash them if she ever has to but I doubt there will be a need since they are throw pillows but with a baby, two dogs, and a husband I guess you never know. Although I guess I better advise her to use a color catcher if she ever does cause who knows what will happen to that bright pink from the manufacturer. All in all I thought they turned out pretty good but my husband was running out the door to have dinner with her husband as I was putting the last stitch in the second one so I really didn't get to look them over all that well at the end and I was lucky to get photos. She did call though and she is thrilled so they must have made it safely to her and they must not look to bad.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Posh Enigma

When attending the quilt show with my mom back in February I purchased a kit from a charming little booth. I was so scared that I was going to mess it up that I held onto it until after I had pieced a few tops. The pattern was called Enigma and it was pretty well written with a little bit of humor that I didn't always get. All in all the most time consuming part of this quilt to date was the time I spent cutting the fabric. Once I started piecing I decided to try chain piecing for the first time and it all went together very quickly. About and hour and a 1/2 to make all of the blocks. Then it took maybe another hour to sew the blocks into a finished top and add the boarders. The original pattern called for a "sweet treat" which is the signature of this particular shop. But I realized that because I only needed five in squares and strips I could easily recreate the pattern using a charm pack and 1/2 of a jelly roll. I didn't really know much about precuts at that time. I guess a honey bun would be just about right. Well I tried out this theory along with my mom and we each made a quilt top out of Figgy pudding. More on those later, they are almost finished.
I am still working out the piecing for the back of this quilt. Since it came as a kit I don't have very much fabric left and since there isn't much available from the "posh" fabric line in any of my online shops I am trying to "Make it work" as Tim Gunn would say. I purchased pink fabric that is the same as the light pink on the front but I need to do some piecing to make it large enough. I have a few ideas in my head I will just have to see if I can make them work. On my to do list for this weekend. That and some pillows a friend asked me to make for her nursery that I have been putting off. The baby is due in two weeks so I guess I better get cracking.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Peppermint Pines

I had dabbled a little with quilting and sewing before but this past February my mom and I went to a quilt show and I got bit by the quilting bug. I purchased a kit at the show (more on that later) and then I started looking around online and found an entire world of women my age who were quilting and making amazing things with all of these great designers (some of who I knew from my love of scrapbooking). It was amazing to see and I immediately got sucked in and started ordering fabric and piecing tops. My mom gave me some of her back issues of Easy Quilts and I pieced a quilt top for one of my coworkers who was expecting (it still needs to be quilted, oops. All of that to say when I saw Peppermint Pines by Barbara Campbell I immediately thought of my sister in law and her love of all things pink and knew it would be a great Christmas gift.

So began my search for the fabric. Seeing as how this was a December 2008 magazine and it was not March 2009 the wonderful Poodles Noel Collection by Jersey Girls was hard to come by. I managed to track down all but one of the fabrics and I found an alternate to replace that one. But in the original she used the plaid fabric for the outside boarder and the middle tree. I had found a strip which was fine for the boarder but there was just something about that tree. I googled day after day trying to find this fabric. Finally I saw that SFO had made a quilt out of this fabric. So I wrote her and asked if she had any scraps I could purchase. As luck would have it she had a few 5 inch squares of the plaid left. Not perfect but better than what I had which was nothing. And because she is so sweet she sent them to me. How amazing is that. This was my first introduction to how wonderful online quilters are and their willingness to bend over backward to help out a fellow quilter.

It's still a work in progress as I need to machine stitch around everything and still sew the boarders but well since I have a blog I figured I might as well post something. But here it is the start of my own Peppermint Pines. Now I just have to hope my SIL doesn't read this between now and Christmas Eve.