Sunday, July 31, 2011

International Quilt Festival!

This weekend was the 2011 Long Beach International Quilt Festival. I went to the preview night on Thursday, and spent a good part of the day there yesterday (Saturday). It was incredibly inspiring, I managed to get some pretty good stuff and I had a lot of fun with my quilty friends! We had lots of talks about what was and wasn't a "modern" quilt, which ones weren't actually quilts at all, the projects we only dream of being able to accomplish and those we'd like to try and make our own. I am quite inspired to try hand quilting, and have pinned down what I want to do for some projects that have been floating around in my mind. I met the wonderful Carrie of Such Designs who was so incredibly friendly! She was kind enough to give me the pattern for her Wonky Little Houses pillow, the perfect pillow to use my treasured Tufted Tweets!  I got the chance to hear Jake Finch of the fantastic new Generation Q Magazine talk about what she's seen in the quilting world in the last few years and what she thinks "modern" quilting is all about. She had some great quilts to show as examples of some of the main characteristics. There's just such a wonderful energy when a lot of people who love their craft get together to celebrate it, and now I just want to hop on my machine and create! I'll leave you with some photos... ciao!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Updates! Part 2...

Here we go with another update! Imagine that... so... not long after finishing up those place mats, we took a road trip to Colorado Springs and home, stopping in at the Grand Canyon and Four Corners on our way there and breezing through Las Vegas on our way home. We really didn't feel a need to stop there with a three-year-old on a holiday weekend. But I did get some great photos of scenery at the Canyon and along our drive! These were taken mid-to-late May...

It was a lot of time in the car, but it was nice to see Dex's family and we saw a lot of cool-looking rocks and snow! There was a lot of snow left in the passes in the Rockies; at one point near Vail it was still over the picnic tables and trash cans!

But back to crafty and foodie stuff!

When we got back from our trip, it was time to get ready for Two's third birthday party, which had a robot theme. I had been planning on making a regular cake to shape like a robot, but with only two square pans, it would have been a little tricky. I finally had the idea to do brownies with piped whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. So this is what it looked like!

It was yummy and the kids all liked it! We also had "nuts and bolts," a mix of Cheerios and pretzel sticks with M$&M's, "memory chips," really just veggie chips, "robot fuel," aka fruit salad, "liquid robot fuel" (lemonade with frozen strawberries), and "high-octane liquid robot fuel" and "liquid robot fuel enhancer" (iced tea and sweetener). The kids got to "build" their own robots with stickers and crayons on paper bags to make puppets. I think everyone had fun, and the birthday boy certainly seemed to enjoy himself!

Finally, my latest sewing project has been to finally finish the quilt for Melissa that was started last fall. I chose to back it in Kona Grape Mist and quilt it with free-form wavy lines. It's almost half-way finished, but with my machine starting to sound unhappy, it's on hold until I get some machine oil and give it a quick cleaning (which hopefully will be soon!). What it looks like right now...

 Next project to finish is the quilt I have for my sister and her husband which was supposed to be their Christmas present this past year, and I may see if I can submit it for Project Modern, too! We shall see... that's all for now! Ciao!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Updates! Part 1...

So, I finally uploaded pictures to my computer from the camera, and since there are photos from Easter, I'll start there!

I made my mom's super delicious cream of carrot soup followed by roast leg of lamb and various veggies, and this is how the soup and lamb turned out!

Yum! I'm pretty sure everyone went back for seconds on the soup (I think I had at least thirds), and it's one of those great recipes that's actually really easy to make (especially with a decent immersion blender) and is rather elegant and impressive.

And of course, my happy little guy with the bunnies his Nana (my mom) made him... he's gotten a bunny from her each Easter, the last two she made.

Next up... the placemats I made for the LAMQG's Urban Home Goods Swap we had in May. A few shots of the process followed by the finished products...

They were inspired by the curtains my partner had from Ikea, which have a tiny bit of magenta in them, a great little extra pop of color. I decided to do all solids except for the one vine print, and the big diagonal bit of brown in the middle was a happy accident since they were all different widths and none of them were big enough for a placemat. The crazy zig-zaggy quilting just felt right for him, the design and my mood, and I stuck with the white thread so it would pop a bit. It was a good thing the colors weren't perfect for my dining room, otherwise I would have had a hard time parting with them! He seemed to really like them, especially the crazy quilting, so they were quite the success! I ended up getting a fantastic pillow from the swap for our orange couch...

 I think it looks great and I absolutely love it... and that's a good stopping point before this post becomes too long to read! I'll try to continue tomorrow... ciao!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


I'm sorry it's been a while since I posted anything... again.

I'm sorry this isn't going to be much of a real post because I still have not uploaded all my photos.

The projects I have completed since my last post... a set of placemats for the LAMQG Urban Home Goods Swap. It was a good thing these were not in colors that really go in my dining area, otherwise they may have never made it to Andrew. I've gotten Melissa's quilt about half-way quilted, but stopped there because my machine sounds like it needs some oil or something and I haven't gotten to pick any up yet. I did make up a list of all the projects I'd like to finish in the near future, and there are at least eight quilts and an additional five or so just sewing projects... I will try to get up some photos of everything, and to make more progress on all those projects! We also had Two's third (gasp!) birthday party, which had a robot theme. I ended up making brownies for cake served with homemade vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and M&M's. I did take pictures, so I'll post those up as well. It was a fun little party that the kids all seemed to enjoy.

Well, that's all for now. I just wanted to make sure you all knew I was still alive and working!

Monday, March 14, 2011

A finished project!!!

So, I finished my lovely Sunshowers quilt for the Solids Challenge a week ago, brought it to the LAMQG meeting last Thursday (where we also had a wonderful talk from the amazing Jacquie of Tallgrass Prairie Studio fame) and am finally uploading my pictures of the final product! I am hopefully going to add a label eventually, and it still needs to be washed (that can't happen until Saturday... more on that later...), but it's done! I am quite in love with it, as is Two, who claimed it for his bed. I'm not sure he's going to get it, but he's wanted it the last few nights and it's hard to refuse... but anyway, pictures!

This was supposed to be a "sneak peek" but I didn't get it up...

And the front and back...

A detail of the quilting (not too close so you can't see too many of my mistakes!)...

I didn't want to quilt too much because I loved the negative space. I suppose I could have done more, but I like how it turned out. I think I need to try doing my binding the more traditional way and at least some of it by hand because if you look at it, it's pretty sloppy looking. The same with my quilting, but that might be as much a symptom of not having a walking foot as laziness.

Other exciting news! I won a group of 5 charm packs of Kona solids by Robert Kaufman from Sew, Mama, Sew! They were delivered on Friday and I literally giggled and skipped all the way from the door until I had the box open... luckily I was home alone, so no one saw me get so giddy over solid fabric!

Aren't they pretty?

Now for some griping... Sunday morning, for whatever reason, Dex decided to go ahead and start a loaf of laundry while I was showering. But that wasn't the real issue. The washer finishes filling up and starts trying to agitate. I say try not because my lovely husband put too much laundry in or something, but because the motor was making an awful grinding, whirring sound. The agitator thing wasn't moving at all, no matter how much we tried to help it (I was wondering why the last load I ran seemed so wet...). This washer is an older machine, something my husband had bought from a friend who had gotten it from someone else type of thing. It's been meeting our needs, so we just haven't replaced it. Well, a new machine is now on the way, but it won't be delivered until Saturday. A week with no washer... sigh... but I'm looking forward to getting a new, high-efficiency front-loader that hopefully won't try to eat some of my more delicate clothes like the old one did from time to time. It didn't help my morning much that I was trying to go to Mass and ended up walking in during communion when I thought I was a few minutes early. The whole daylight savings time had just not made it onto my radar...

Done with the complaints! I'm looking forward to getting some more quilting done and finding out who I get to make something for in the guild's next swap - a "Urban Home Goods" blind exchange! It should be fun!

Friday, March 4, 2011

A name!

So, I haven't really gotten any more quilting done on my solid quilt... but as I was folding it up to free the guest bed, I came up with a name! I was thinking, "Hmm, this side is really sunny, and this side is more rainy and stormy... that's it! 'Sunshowers!' I have a name!" What do you all think? Based on what you have seen, is "Sunshowers" a good name for this quilt?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

More progress!

The last couple of days have been pretty productive, especially for my Solids Challenge quilt! I decided to just go with my original black binding, and figured out a design to quilt that I'm now absolutely loving, and have it more than halfway quilted! And despite not having a walking foot, it's looking pretty good so far. I'm also trying a new-to-me technique that I'm pretty sure I read on a blog somewhere out here in the blogosphere, I just can't remember where. I used painter's tape to mark my straight lines for quilting! I've been stitching on either side of the 2" tape I have and it's been great. I should have taped first, then pinned, but that's a lesson learned for next time. Some pictures!

The back with the black binding added

The black with both front and back main fabrics

Painter's tape as quilting guide

Partially quilted back

With one set of diagonal quilted lines

So you can definitely see in these pictures that there's been a little bit of pulling without a walking foot, but I figure once it's been washed, it'll be harder to see and it's not that bad. I also realized as I was taking the last picture that I put the top and back together upside-down. I meant for the pink stripe to be on the left side with the floral on the bottom and the green stripe to be on the bottom, but that's not how it got put together. Oh, well... It still looks pretty good!

Some of you may be wondering why I already have the black binding on and why it just looks like a big border. The answer is that I "self-bind" most of my quilts, bringing that extra fabric from the back to the front, folding it under, and machine stitching it down. It's a really quick method, and pretty much the only way I've finished a quilt other than turning and tying my very first one. It might be "cheating," but I don't really know another way to do it that wouldn't take me forever. And it usually looks just fine. I'll show you what I mean when it's done, and if I can, I'll add photos of the process.

So that's that! My quilt is nearly finished, and I have a whole week until my deadline! Imagine that...