Saturday, August 1, 2015

Good Concepts & Poor Math Skills Don't Mix

{Alternate Post Title: Why I'll Never Be A Quilt Designer}

So I've been working on making my oldest niece a quilt. She'll be 15 in less than a week but I remember the day she was born like it was yesterday. Her favorite color is pink and a while back I made an impulse buy of a layer cake by Stella called Flirt. I showed her a photo of the fabric and she loved it and we decided to pair it with solid gray. Coming up with a pattern proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Every layer cake friendly pattern I found required more 10-inch squares than I had. This layer cake only comes with 18 squares. So I played around in EQ7 to figure out a layout that I liked and decided upon this:

After I constructed all of the blocks and decided on this layout I realized that I constructed too many with the gray corner in the wrong place. That was error #1. To correct it, I purchased 2 different fat quarters that I thought would coordinate well and made a few more blocks. But it was barely big enough for a baby blanket and I wanted it to be bigger. I had a slew of leftover half square triangles so I tried to figure out how I could incorporate those into the design.

Enter the border idea:

I decided to add a solid border and then a houndstooth border with all of the HSTs, with a solid square of gray in each of the corners. Of course, if I could actually do math, I would have realized that I made my gray border too small for that idea to work. So I found yet another fabric from my stash and made a few more HSTs so that they would go all the way around the border like this:

Enter my next math error - the gray border is too big for this new idea to work because I'm just a bit to short at the other end:


I've only pieced together one side of the houndstooth border. I'm going to piece together the opposite side with the exact same number of squares as well as a 3rd side to determine how many squares I'll need to connect both of the sides. I have a feeling I will end up trimming down the gray border to make all those blocks to work.

But there you have it in a nutshell - if I could do math, I might not be in this predicament. And it's also why you won't see me designing a full quilt with complicated borders.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Midnight Mystery Quilt Along

A year and a half ago, I decided to make a quilt for our master bedroom using a selection of 4 batik fabrics. I originally decided to go with a variation of the 2014 Star Light Star Bright quilt along hosted by Melissa from Happy Quilting (I opted for variation 4 in case you were curious). I drew up the pattern in EQ7, purchased fabrics, and it sat in a drawer and was never touched. I'm not sure what held me back but now that so much time has passed, I've decided to use these fabrics for the Midnight Mystery quilt along that Cheryl from Meadow Mist Designs is hosting.

As much as I wanted to keep the mystery alive, I really needed to know what I would be working with since I would be enlarging it to a queen size quilt. Cheryl was very accommodating in giving me a sneak peek at the finished project and I think it's going to be perfect. The fact that it required a minimum of 4 fabrics, all of which I had, and with enough yardage to make it work, it just feels right.

Here are my fabrics.

Our bedroom walls are currently a dark blue and we have dark brown hardwood floors with white curtains. I think these will be perfect. July's task is cutting out fabric. I'm a bit behind but I'm sure I can catch up.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Headbands, Headbands, Everywhere!

While I've not been able to do a lot of big sewing, I've been able to do a lot of little sewing in the way of headbands.  When I first saw this tutorial, I knew immediately that I wanted to make some. They use minimal amounts of fabric, are reversible, and are very comfortable!

I've also made one with reds and blacks, and a child sized one in purple and pink, but I forgot to photograph those before I gave them as gifts. The daisy print and the pink floral ones are both gifts. It should be no surprise that I've used my favorite Michael Miller Dimdots fabric in turqoise.

Yes, I'm honestly posting a close-up photo of me with no makeup (egad!)

But I have to say, that my favorite headband so far is this teal and gray paisley type print. I just love it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Sewing Studio Reorg - Part 2

With school being out, there have been lots of trips to the playground, rides on trains and buses, but little time for much sewing. So this has been the perfect time to really take a good look at my sewing room and decide what is working and what isn't. I felt like there wasn't a good flow with the layout so it was time to make some changes. If you'll recall from this old post, here is a glimpse at what my sewing room looked like before:

It had even changed since this last photo since the table that my sewing machine was on was moved downstairs to accommodate a family computer for my son to start using. Still, it was the bookcases that weren't right. It took up too much wall space that I thought could be put to better use. I also didn't like how the closet was under-utilized with mainly just my ironing board inside.

First the bookcases were removed and some Ikea shelving was placed inside the closet for all of my fabric. Of course, with all the additional fabric being added to my stash lately  I needed to buy some more magazine backing boards to fold them all up onto bolts. I really love storing my fabric with these. For any fabrics 1 yard or more I can leave the boards the full size. For quarter yard and half yard fabrcis, I cut the boards down the middle lengthwise and then wrap the fabric around them. It really makes for some nice organization and it's easy to see all of your fabrics. I still keep all of my fat quarters tri-folded and organized by color. So here is what the closet now looks like:

And thanks to my wonderful husband, he put up the narrow shelf for my thread and the Ikea pole system for all of my rulers and scissors.

Here you can see how my table works into the new layout. I'm using a half-round leaf that extends my dining room table for my sewing machine and I have a small bookcase with my pressing board on the left. That left my full size table to the right of my sewing machine for cutting fabrics and whatever else I need it for.

Here is my view of my design on the opposite wall. As you can see, my StashBee quilt blocks have been rolling in and I'm working on a few more so I can put this all together.

So there you have it - my improved sewing studio, just waiting for me.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fastest Impromptu Project EVER

Today has been one of those days where things just didn't seem to go my way. It was one thing after another. First I accidentally deleted one of my son's favorite shows on the television right before we left for morning summer camp. Then I couldn't get access to our community fitness center. When picking Simon up from camp I learn that he's getting a new therapist starting this week because of insurance issues. (That change is gonna be rough on him).  Before heading home for lunch we made a quick stop at a grocery store for a few things. This particular store only takes cash or debit cards (meaning you must use a PIN). As the cashier rings up the final item, I realize that my driver's license and my debit card are NOT in my wallet and are in my other purse... at home... 9 miles away...  NOOOOOOO!!!! They were nice enough to wheel my entire cart into a back refrigeration room, so I could go home and get my debit card since I never carry cash on me.

Luckily, my husband was working from home and I could leave my son there to eat lunch while I headed back to the store with debit card in hand. On my way home, I finally started to relax and figured this day was going to get better. Then my phone dings with a text message. My husband says that my son lost his first tooth and that he doesn't know where it went -  that he thinks he might have eaten it. WHAT??!!! A tooth? We didn't even know one was loose. And it's not like he was eating an apple when he ate it. Nope, he was eating a doughnut.

It wasn't until after my husband took this photo that he realized that there was a missing tooth. My son - he had no clue and had to run and look in a mirror.

So after getting home and explaining to him about the tooth fairy, I whipped up this little pillow to place on his bedroom door. I was truly winging it when I made it. I wanted a small pocket for the tooth and a separate pocket for whatever the tooth fairy left. This time around we'll have to leave a note in the tooth pocket. I have it on good authority that the tooth fairy will be leaving a new toothbrush and a few other goodies along with a $2 bill.  It took me about 30 minutes to make this.

I figured by placing it on the door it will provide easier access for the fairy than under the pillow. It could also hang on a bed-post but my son's bed doesn't have one. So here's hoping for no more surprises today and a relaxing evening.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Sunday Stash

I've not been doing much sewing lately, beyond cute headbands (more to come on that very soon), but I seem to be purchasing a lot of fabric lately. Since starting quilting back in 2012, I've built up a good sized stash and I'm sure I can get lots of projects done mostly with what I have, with the exception of solids for background/sashing, and possibly wide-backed fabrics.

The Fat Quarter Shop had some amazing birthday bash deals a while back and I just couldn't resist. As many of you know, I seem to be on an aqua kick and these lovely fabrics from Bonnie & Camille's Daysail line were delivered to my doorstep:

I also couldn't pass up the opportunity to stock up on some solids. That was something that was definitely lacking in my stash.

I'm really looking forward to this week when my son will be at summer camp for 3 hours each morning so I can get some time in my sewing room. Once school starts back up in 5 weeks (not that I'm counting or anything) then I can really get crackin' on some projects.

Linking up to Molli Sparkles today!

Molli Sparkles

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Piggy Bank Challenge - Complete!

Last year I decided to participate in Val's Piggy Bank Savings Challenge and now that it's been a year, it's time to settle up and see how much I saved. I actually stopped putting money in a few months ago because things got so hectic and I just plain forgot.

Confession time: when I started the challenge, I already had money saved up just waiting for a rainy day. Most of the money came from spare change and selling unwanted household items and toys. But I have to confess that since I don't tend to carry any cash on me, if I ever needed some, I dipped into my little piggy bank, especially if I saw something at a garage sale or on our local craigslist site. I know I pilfered at least $40 over the last year. Oh well, it is what it is.

So, the grand total is:  $50.73 I had a little helper to count out all those pennies. He used the numbers on my cutting mat. There was $6 worth of pennies. I think those are going to go into his piggy bank, along with the random $2 bills that I had.

That will leave me with $40 to spend on quilting supplies. I originally wanted to buy a supreme slider for free motion quilting, but I broke down and bought that a few weeks after the challenge even started, so I'm not sure what I'll spend this on. For right now, it's going back into my little bank until I find a good use for it.


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