Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Bigger is Better

The saying bigger is better doesn't always apply, but when it comes to me and piecing it's usually true. Take these little cross blocks.

When we were first asked to make them, I couldn't wait to get started and thought they were adorable. Don't get me wrong, I still think they're adorable but I've gained some perspective. I struggle for accuracy when the fabric pieces are smaller. These are made using 2.5 inch squares and rectangles and they did not make it easy on me. I've pieced them together, ripped them out, and re-pieced them, only to still have them slightly off. I don't know why it makes a difference but whenever I have to press to one side, I have this issue. I think that's why I've always pressed my seams open. It makes my work flatter and my scant quarter inch seam works perfectly. I press to the side and I always have to adjust my sewing to something between a scant quarter inch and a fat eighth inch seam.

How about you? Do you ever struggle with accurate size with smaller pieces and does pressing make a difference?

Friday, January 9, 2015

A Little Birthday Splurge

It's that time again, when another candle gets added to the cake and facebook messages abound. I'm midway between milestone birthdays and while I've never been one to call attention to myself when it's my birthday, it's still nice to be pampered and splurge once in a while. I did just that when I decided to add this book to my collection.

My online quilty friend Chelsea has made many of the quilts in the book and highly recommended it to me so I finally decided to treat myself. The hard part will be deciding on what to make.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

January's Stash Bee Block

I'm participating in the 2015 Stash Bee this year. It's the only one I've signed up for since I'm still participating in Compass Quilter's as well. I'm amazed that I was able to finish this up as quickly as I did given the fact that 1) it's paper pieced, 2) my son is sick, and 3) did I mention that it's paper pieced?

You can read my post on the Stash Bee blog here.

I really do like how you can get beautiful points using paper piecing but I really have to re-train my brain to not be frugal. My first instinct is to always try and use scraps so as not to waste anything and it always get me in trouble. Every. Single. Time. Luckily, this came together pretty quickly. I hope the colors are what the recipient is looking for since my stash seemed to be very limited in the selection of lime green, teal, and raspberry (I didn't have any of that color).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A New Year of Possibilities

One of the things I really like about having a blog is that I can list out a slew of things that I want to accomplish for the upcoming year and get excited about all of the possibilities. Don't confuse this with a New Year's resolution. In my book a New Year's resolution is merely a to-do list for the first week of January - filled with great intention but quickly forgotten once the holiday haze has lifted.

I've always been a list person and still love the act of writing things down on paper and the sense of satisfaction when I can cross something off my list. Of course, for long term goals like this, typing it up makes more sense. So, without further adieu, here is my list of projects that I hope to do this year (in no particular order):

  1. Compass Quilter's Bee - we have 3 more months of queen bees so I'll be making some blocks for them. I also have to figure out what to do with the blocks that my hive-mates made for me.
  2. Make some springtime themed potholders for my parents, per their request.
  3. Make my first Dresden plate. I picked up an acrylic template last month and need to try it out. If I can make them small enough, I'd like to appliqué them onto the above mentioned potholders.
  4. If the "Disappearing Hourglass" tutorial from Jenny Doan at the Missouri Star Quilt Company was a quarter, it'd be burning a hole in my pocket! I just love the look of this quilt and it's one of the reasons why I've been purchasing various layer cakes. I definitely want to make this, possibly with my Flirt layer cake using black as the contrasting background color.
  5. I'm a member of Stash Bee 2015 and have been assigned to hive #4. I'm excited to get to know my other hive mates and see what blocks the come up with.
  6. This past year I bought bins for all of my scraps and sorted them all by color. This year I think I want to expand upon that and start cutting up all of the scraps into specific sizes for easier usage.
  7. Advent calendar - this was on my list for last year and I just never got around to it. I still want to do it for next year and hopefully make 2 - one for a Christmas gift for a family member.
  8. Finish up my pinwheels quilt. The top is 90% done. I just need to add a border to it and then baste it for quilting. 
  9. I saved the best for last - it's the quilt I want to make for our bedroom. It will be the biggest quilt I've ever made. I have all the fabrics and even the pattern drafted out on EQ7. It's just a matter of going back and tweaking it since I'm not sure if that's truly the pattern I want anymore. I love the fabrics I've chosen and I have enough even if I do decide to make a different pattern. We'll see.

I'm definitely not a fast quilter and this is more than enough to keep me working throughout the year. Now it's time to get started!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Bow-ties for New Year's

Now that I've finished up my holiday sewing, I sat down this morning to work on these cute mini bow-tie blocks for Sharon over at Motherdragon's Musings as part of our Compass Quilter's bee. After all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, it was the perfect project to ease me back into the sewing routine.

I'll be honest, I tend to shy away from snowball corner blocks (I think that's what they're called) because they always end up being too small after I add that tiny little square in the corner. But this block forced me to take my time and really focus on my accuracy and a scant seam to make sure everything measured up correctly. Now to get them in the mail to sunny Australia!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Holiday in Review

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I know we did. Probably the best we've had in many years. Very low-key but with so many great memories, many because our 4 year old finally understood the whole Santa and presents concepts. It made things very fun for all of us.

We try to focus on experiences and making memories rather than a lot of gift giving. Most times those experiences happen throughout the year, not necessarily during the holiday season, but this year we wanted to experience the special magic that Disney offers on their holiday cruises. Sprinkles, our elf on the shelf, even got into the spirit.

Sprinkles, ready to set sail with his pals Mickey, Minnie, and Pluto

The Grand Lobby of the Disney Dream

I didn't do as much holiday sewing this year and I'm okay with that. I gave a glimpse of the commissioned Christmas stocking that I was working on and here is the finished project. Mine is the one on the left.

I also made some potholders for my parents and mother-in-law. They're a really quick project and works well with scraps. I used this tutorial, if you're interested. I made the set for my mother-in-law on Christmas morning so I didn't have a chance to photograph them but here are the ones I made for my parents. They've also requested some holiday and spring themed ones that I'll have done for them when they come for a visit in February.

We'll be hosting a laid-back New Year's eve get-together with some of the families in our neighborhood so that's the next big thing on my calendar but I'm hoping to get a bit more sewing done before then. I still need to finish up my November blocks for the Compass Quilter's Bee and get them in the mail to Sharon!

I leave you with a family selfie that we took on the Disney Dream. It's a little bit out of focus but it reflects the happiness of our holidays. I'm wishing all of you that same happiness now and into the new year.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Stash Splurge

Over the last few weeks I've scored some good online deals and as a result have increased my stash. I know of others that have gone on fabric diets but I like to think that I'm cautious enough that I won't ever have to resort to those measures. But I'm really excited about what I've picked up.

Couldn't pass up a charm pack of Into the Woods - I just love the mix of pinks, reds, and aquas. Next up are 3 layer cakes.

My favorite purchase of the lot is Somerset by Fig Tree & Company. I have so many ideas on what I want to do with this that it will be hard to choose a specific pattern. The layer cake in the middle is The Cottage Garden by the Quilted Fish. What drew me to that fabric line was the triangle prints and the text prints. The last layer cake was a true impulse buy. It's Flirt by Dear Stella. I don't have a lot of pinks in my stash but I really liked the combination of the pinks and reds with the varying shades of gray. There are also polka dots and I'm a pushover for those!

The other 2 fabrics are for my pinwheel quilt.

The green fabric is for a 5 inch border all the way around. It's the Lady Edith small branches fabric from the Downton Abbey line. The floral paisley is Rosemont Malabar Ivory and is a wide back fabric for the back of the quilt. I was on the fence about this particular fabric but I know that the recipient for this quilt will love it.

Now I just need to finish up my holiday sewing so I can get to using these. Nothing like the lure of new fabrics to motivate me!


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