Saturday, November 26, 2011

My own lovely Goodie Bag!

It has been kind of quiet around the blog this week since it was Thanksgiving, but trust me, we were plenty busy in real life.

We had about 10 people over for dinner on Thursday including some lovely out-of-town guests (one from as far away as California! Aren't we lucky?!). We had a lovely meal with too much food as normal but we've been making short work of the leftovers (pie for breakfast? Absolutely!).

Almost no Black Friday shopping for me except for a quick stop by the fabric shop - what can I say, they had great coupons! The other thing going on at our house right now is teething, great big back molars, so we have a very sad/grumpy two year old and staying home seems like the best plan. So that's what we've mostly been doing.

I did get some VERY fun mail yesterday - my Goodie Bag came!! Corrie in NC was my partner and she used some of my favorite fabric (those viewfinder reels from Melody Miller) with a pattern I absolutely love and keep planning in my head with various fabrics (the Go Anywhere Bag Pattern from Anna over at Noodlehead). She included great scraps, a cute notebook and some yummy hot chocolate sticks (which said 2 year old promptly tried to claim as her own!). It was a great package! She did an awesome job on the bag and now that I've seen it made up I feel compelled to go make one (or two or three or...) more! Hope everyone is having a nice weekend after getting to relax and enjoy some time with family and/or friends this week. See you next week!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Goodie Bag Swap Kismet

I was so excited to sign up for this round of the Goodie Bag Swap on flickr - this group has such an amazing collection of bags - I couldn't wait to participate. I've made many bags for myself but it's always a bit nerve-wracking to make something for a stranger, will the fabric and pattern you choose suit them, will they like it, will it be good enough...but I felt much better after looking at my partner's inspiration mosaic.

I had ordered this Amy Butler fabric over the summer with plans of whipping up a summer tote but then the fabric just didn't really feel like me. But it was still lovely fabric so I put it aside until inspiration struck and that hit just as I was viewing my partner's bag choices - this was one of her inspiration choices! Bingo!

This is a bag pattern from Sweet Pea Totes - I wasn't familiar with these patterns but loved most of them, promptly bought three of them and have already made two. This is the Hobo Bag with an adjustable strap - love it and will probably make another one for myself at some point. Making the adjustable strap was a my new skill and it turned out great, which I credit largely to the well-written (and well photographed) pattern. I was really proud of how well this bag turned out and am absolutely happy to be sending it off. I didn't get a shot of the inside but I went with a mango orange that went really well with the flowers and the warmth of the outer fabric. My partner said she liked bright, vibrant colors so I hope she meant it and that she likes her new bag! I did include some "goodies" inside the bag but I figure I'll leave something to be a surprise (I'm putting this same picture on flickr).

I'm not sure how much sewing I'll be getting the done with all the cooking that will be going on around here the rest of the week but you know I still have a want-to-sew list going in my head (another pair of pajama pants, maybe a holiday pillowcase top for the doodlebug, some new purse organizers/pouches and oh and holiday sewing!).

Oh and next Saturday (11/26) is an open sewing day for the AMSG at Whipstitch, from 10am till noon - bring your project and enjoy some fun sewing company! Hope to see you there!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Finish It Up Friday #2

It makes me so happy to have something actually finished on Friday to post about!

While I was supposed to be working on my bag for the Goodie Bag Swap I took a little detour and whipped up this mini messenger bag for the doodlebug.

I knew as soon as I saw the free tutorial from Zaaberry (as part of Sew, Mama, Sew's month of sewing projects and tutorials) that I needed to make one. This fabric has been a favorite of ours since it came home from our LQS but we only had a FQ of it so I knew I needed to find just the right project for it and this was IT.

This little bag is a super quick sew - I think it took an hour total from cutting to finishing, perfect for a nap time project.

I lined it in an aqua Kona since blue is still a favorite color and used some black twill I had for the outside and strap.

The strap is folded on itself to enclose the raw edges and the twill was thick enough that by the time I had four layers of it, I decided to use use any fleece or interfacing on the strap and it worked great.

I personally love how this bag turned out but you know what the kid said right? No mommy, no. She promptly removed the m&m bribe I had placed inside and handed the bag right back. Sigh. Maybe she'll warm up to it :-) I think it would make a great holiday (or birthday gift) and the FQ I had was enough to make 2 flaps front and back so it's a great project for little bits of fabric. One tip - if your fabric is directional for the flap do one side up and reverse the other side so when you open the flap the print is still right side up, I didn't think about that until the bag was done and I saw the upside down print on the flap when it's opened. No biggie but I'll make it different on the next one.

Even though the bag was rejected, she whole-heartedly endorsed my next offering: paint!

What two year doesn't love some messy, gooey PAINT? Good times and new masterpieces for the fridge (or holiday cards or tree ornaments or...).

TGIF everyone :-)

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I am IN LOVE with my new pajama pants - I decided to get rid of all my old, mismatched pj's and make some new ones that are both comfy and stylish. Bingo!

This was some of AMH's Innocent Crush line that I originally bought last summer to make a skirt out of. The skirt never happened so I used this fabric and some Kona denim blue(navy blue? not sure) for the contrast and I'm so happy that I used the "good" fabric instead of saving it any longer. It sometimes seems like clothing never works out for me but these turned out great, which is a thrill (silly but true).

And thanks to my *very* patient husband who made dinner and entertained our child while I finished these up last Thursday mere moments before we left for the airport. If you're going to be visiting and seen in your pj's you need nice ones, right?!

This is the pattern I used - Kwik Sew 3882 - bought from Pink Chalk Fabrics. It was fairly easy, I think from ironing and cutting to finishing up it took about 2 hours total.

I did leave off the pockets as I don't usually carry much around with me while I'm getting ready for bed or sleeping :-)

And now I'm thinking about which fabric I have that I can make another pair from...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

I've been pinning and actually cooking a lot of new recipes from Pintrest lately, so I thought I'd start keeping track of some of them here. The "tasty" part comes from what my 2 year old has been saying and generally cracking me up with lately - as in "tasty pancake mom". Too funny!

This recipe came from originally came from Cooking Light via My Recipe (you know how these things go) but I of course made the full fat version :-) I also used mild enchilada sauce and left out the chili's because I was trying to get said 2 year to eat it. No luck on that front but her dad and I thought it was tasty!

Chicken Tamale Casserole:
1 8.5 oz corn muffin/bread mix (I used Jiffy)
1 14.75 oz can creamed corn
1/3 C. Milk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 C shredded cheese
1 tsp chicken taco seasoning (Penzey's)

Combine all ingredients and bake in a greased 9x13 pan for 20 - 25 minutes (until golden brown) at 400 degrees. Remove from oven and top with:

2 C. cooked, shredded chicken
1 10 oz can enchilada sauce (I used mild)
1/2 - 3/4 shredded cheese

I mixed the enchilada sauce and chicken and then topped with the cheese. Bake an additional 15 minutes (until cheese is melted). Let stand 5 - 10 minutes and serve with sour cream on top.

I'm wondering about adding some black beans next time, either with chicken or in cornbread but it was great (and easy) just like this. You could spice it up by adding some cayenne to the cornbread and/or spicy enchilada sauce. Oh and I used Ina's Roast Chicken recipe and had the shredded chicken in the freezer which made it even easier.

Monday, November 14, 2011

I heart Pink Chalk Fabrics

You know who won this fabric from Pink Chalk Fabrics? ME! Whoo hooo! Pink Chalk is one of my absolute favorite online fabric shops - they carry a great selection and their customer service is beyond great. They've also been working through the One Yard Wonders Book on the Pink Chalk blog and I have had a great time following along and I really appreciated all the corrections and tips they've provided through the year.

They are NOT a sponsor of my blog, I just wanted to say THANKS for the free fabric and remind you that if you haven't signed up for their email newsletter, you should, and you too might be a winner. If you're looking for any of the Amy Butler Lark collection I know Pink Chalk has it in stock in both FQ sets and yardage.

I have a lot on the sewing table this week, working on getting my bag for the Goodie Bag Swap sewn (I did manage to get all the pieces and all the fusible fleece cut out today, tomorrow on to fusing and sewing :-). I'm also behind and itching to get caught up on my First (Modern) Quilt blocks. I did manage to get my new pajama pants finished before my quick weekend away and I'll share them this week too - I LOVE love love them and am planning on whipping up another pair pronto, more on that later.

Hope everyone's week is off to a good start :-)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Log Cabin and Courthouse Stairs blocks

So I'm taking the online Your First (Modern) Quilt class from Whipstitch and I am LOVING it! I find myself so looking forward to Deborah's posts each day, the videos are very informative, the history and background she provides is super interesting for a sewing nerd like me and then there are the block patterns. What's not to love? I worried that it would all be stuff I knew since I've been quilting for a while but I've really be learning things and even though it's online I feel like we have a pretty vocal and active group of people participating which has made it feel like a "real" class. A win all the way around!

So these are my fist couple of blocks. Of the fabric I showed (and you know I was looking at even MORE combinations that I posted ;-) the clear winner was the autumn fabric mix. I love those fabrics but I hesitated because, well, autumn is almost over and will I want an autumn looking quilt in say January? And shouldn't I be making a holiday gift instead of something for myself at this point in the year? So I realized that I just LOVE those fabrics and I'll love this quilt no matter what time of the year it is. And there's still plenty of time for gift making (just let me tell myself that please!). So jumped in and started cutting!

Have you heard me mention how math impaired I am? No? Well you're about to! Deborah gives us the measurements for either 18" or 12" (finished) blocks - the math is all done - awesome! Did I manage to mess it up anyway? Sure did! I was using the strip size for the larger block but planning on making the smaller one - doh! In the Courthouse Stairs (Steps? Stairs?) one you can see where I realized it was going to be too big and cut the wood fabric smaller before I sewed it on and then realized I'd cut it too small! AARGH! So I added some dark brown Kona around the edges to get it up to 12.5 (unfinished). I actually like how it looks and I'm planning on doing the same thing, same color with some blocks from the 3x6 Bee that are too small to get them up to size. I have a few blocks that I'm hoping to be able to work into the mix by the end, we'll see. Oh and I learned my lesson on the traditional Log Cabin and just trimmed it AFTER it was all sewn. I'm really happy wit both these blocks and very excited that I decided to go with these fabrics!

Next up is the Rail Fence block - I have all my strips cut (the right size this time) and ready to sew during nap time. Hopefully they'll go together pretty quickly and I'll have more blocks to show you tomorrow - yay!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Anna Maria Horner LOVE

This is another quilt that I started a shamefully long time ago (around the same time as the Heather Bailey Quilt, maybe even before...) and I am so ridiculously happy to see it DONE!

Long arm quilting by Brenda Garrison. Binding in a solid Kona brown (no idea which exact one).

I kept the focus on the gorgeous fabrics by just using BIG (18") squares and I'm so glad that I did. I may have also been a bit intimidated by doing anything else as a I was a serious quilting newbie that long ago. But I'm still happy with my choice to let the fabrics stand on their own. (And the more I think about this I think my inspiration was Erin's free picnic blanket tutorial but without the corner pockets).

My only problem with this quilt is deciding which side I love more because I love the back absolutely as much as I love the front. In fact I'm not even sure I would call them "back" and "front", because the "front" seems somehow more important or better than the back and you can see that is absolutely NOT the case here. I used a heavier home dec weight fabric mix on the back because I anticipated this being used as a picnic quilt. No matter where we use it, it just gives it a nice heft. Right now it is currently on the back of the couch just waiting for me to snuggle up under it, which I am planning on doing the absolute FIRST minute I can after wrestling Miss H into bed tonight. Said with love.

And in case you think I don't suffer for my craft, I do. Some days more than others.

Yesterday when I accidentally stitched through my finger (yes, you read that right) was definitely one of those days. I was honestly just thrilled it missed my nail.

You know what I did then, right? Yup, kept on sewing. Does that earn me the Sewing Scout Badge of Honor?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finish It Up Friday

This post is inspired by Amanda Jean's Finish It Up Friday over at Crazy Mom Quilts - I've been looking forward to having something to post all week!

I FINALLY finished a quilted I started, ummm (should I really admit this?), several years ago and had it quilted by a local long-arm quilter (Brenda Garrison of Brookhaven Quilt Studio) almost two years ago. Quilted TWO YEARS PEOPLE! Beyond ridiculous I know. But we moved and I was a little busy with the kid and you know how it goes, right? Please tell me I'm not the only one who does stuff like this...

But I realized with this project that there is always one key thing that's stopping me and if I can get over THAT then it's usually a quick finish. Initially with this quilt it was the quilting - this is way bigger than anything I've quilted. After looking at the quilt sandwich being moved from spot to spot in my sewing room I realized that the actual quilting is my least favorite part of making a quilt. So I paid to have it quilted - wonderful decision! Brenda does beautiful and reasonable work and I'll be using her services again. Then it was the bias binding and curved edges. I used a June Tailor curved ruler to draw the curves on the edges and I've already posted a link to the continuous bias tape tutorial that I used. Once I decided to get over my fears and just get on with it, the quilt that I started almost three years ago was done in less than a week. A lesson to be learned for sure - get over myself and get busy. These are all Heather Bailey fabrics and the Big Print Pattern I purchased on etsy. This has been washed and dried and is now laying on the back of the couch waiting to be snuggled under and I could not love it anymore. LOVE! I think the colors might also be nice on H's bed or for a picnic that it's done there are so many possible uses for it :-)

I also finished this table runner that I started back in January. The hold up on this one? My fear of free motion quilting. I decided to just do some straight line quilting on this and get it DONE for crying out loud. I'm planning on practicing my FMQ on some small doll quilts for H (she won't notice or care hoe wonky they are, right?). I had been wanting to try this Bento pattern so I used a jelly roll of fabric that I wasn't in love with but I think it goes pretty well with the color of our dining room. It looks kind of small on our giant table, another thing to think about next time I make a runner (a little wider would look better). But still TWO finishes in one week?! I am on fire people, on fire!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ok, ok, I'll tell you...

It was Anna Griffin that I made quilts for! Anna is a local designer who started with fabulous paper products (scrapbooking, party and wedding invitations and many more lovely things) and has now moved into fabric design.

At the last minute they needed a couple extra quilts for their booth and I was happily able to help them out. My samples are the ones hanging on the right in both photos - much thanks to Kate Murray at Blend Fabrics for the photos and the fun opportunity!

These quilts were fairly simple due to the time constraints but I think the simplicity of the designs showed off the super cute fabrics.

Both lines I worked with were baby/children's fabrics and they were lovely - I would happily use these fabrics for baby baby quilts I make. The designs were colorful and fun and the fabric itself was incredibly soft for quilting fabric and would be perfect for little people.

Like I said before I know I'm a fabric nerd because A) I thought the challenge of getting two quilts done in two days was fun (and when I was done, you know what I felt like doing? That's right, more sewing!) and B) it was thrilling to me to have quilts I made at Quilt Market!

Go have a look at Anna Griffin's website and check out all the lovely fabric she offers - I saw more than one line that made me sit up and take notice (both holiday collections - adorable!) :-)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Choices, choices, choices...

Pretend that you're looking at fabric to start a modern quilt and you look at your stash (your abundant stash) and you start pulling things that would look good together. And then you pull some more. And some MORE. And then you realize that you need to take a deep breath and just decide before you pull out who knows how many more combinations that could work. So, dear reader, any of these appeal to you? Because they ALL appeal to me and I need to choose just ONE for this project. Just one...

Photo 1: a whole lot of Sandy Henderson and Joel Dewberry with a few other choices thrown in as well. This was based on a similar set of fabrics I saw in a lovely quilt on Pinterest. Really seems to fit the season.

Photo 2: The easy way out, a FQ set of Loulouthi that I know looks great. I'm thinking going dark for the sashing and borders with a charcoal gray.

Photo 3: Some fabric I stashed away a long time ago because I loved the name - the Darcey Collection by Windham Hill. I've thrown in some solids to balance out all that pattern.

So, um, HELP! Thanks :-)

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