Thursday, November 19, 2015

Retreat Projects Roundup

I'm not surprised that the holidays are now upon us, but I didn't expect to be so busy. Other than working with my 5th graders, I've not sewn a single stitch since my retreat almost 2 weeks ago. Luckily, most of my holiday sewing is done.

As promised in my previous post, I wanted to share some of the projects that I made or finished while on retreat. The biggest one is my Stash Bee quilt top.

I've been hoping to take a better photo of it but every time I try it's either been too windy, too dark, or too rainy so this photo from my phone when I was on the retreat will have to do. Once I start quilting it, I'm sure I'll be taking plenty!

The other projects I made include my Stash Bee November blocks --

-- and a cute little cathedral window pincushion.

I also made another basket that will be a holiday gift for my parents.

I don't anticipate getting any sewing done next week which is okay. Time spent with my extended family is few and far between and I plan to make the most of it. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday too!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Retreat Weekend Recap

This past weekend was my local quilt guild's retreat and man did I have a blast! I really didn't know anyone in my guild yet, I'd only been a member for a few weeks and attended my first meeting last Wednesday. This was the perfect opportunity to meet other quilters, get lots of work done on various projects, and really immerse myself in creativity.

The retreat was held in Central Florida in a small little town called Sebring. We stayed at the Kenilworth Lodge. It was built in 1916 and you could tell it was quite the resort back in the day. It's not exactly what I'd call a 5-star hotel now, but it was clean, had lots of old world charm and 2 amazing ballrooms.

The plaque on the outside of the hotel and a few of the antiques in the grand lobby.

There were 27 of us and I couldn't get over how much space we had. Each quilter was given an 8-foot table so we could really spread out. A local quilt shop provided several pressing stations with irons and even set up a small satellite store in a room just off of the ballroom so we could shop whenever we needed. The owner even left it open in case we needed something in the middle of the night - she just left a note pad on the cutting table so we could keep a running tally of anything we purchased and could settle up at the end of the retreat.

The ballroom, early Sunday morning. The round table in the foreground was the snack table. The table in the back where people were congregated was the extra large cutting and demo area.

I think what impressed me most about the space, was how well the staff took care of us and how well maintained the facility was. I honestly expected us to blow a few electrical fuses throughout the weekend but we never did. Think about it - 27 sewing machines, around 20 irons, personal lamps and extra lights supplied by the hotel - that's a lot of amps!

The retreat itself was very informative and fun. We had one of the guild members show us how she likes to mark her quilts for free motion quilting and her techniques on spray basting. We also had lots of great sponsors who provided us with lots of swag, including Aurifil, Art Gallergy Fabrics, Patchwork Threads, May Chappell, Soak Wash, Connecting Threads, and Robert Kaufman.

I did lots of sewing, of which I'll show in upcoming posts, and I also won this pretty half bundle of fat quarters from Connecting Threads. It's the Good Neighbors fabric line designed by Amanda Jean Nyberg from Crazy Mom Quilts.

All in all, a super fun weekend and I can't wait to do it again next year!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Raspberry Kisses

I was finally able to connect with and join my local modern quilt guild in October. This made me very happy since the only other quilters I know are part of the blogging/online community. Of course, on the day of their October monthly meeting my little guy was home sick with strep throat so I couldn't attend but I was able to sign up for an upcoming retreat that is scheduled for this coming weekend. SQUEAL!!!!.

An interesting thing that they do at each meeting is have a block lottery. A specific block is selected each month and for each block you make, you get your name put into a drawing. If your name is randomly selected, you win all of the blocks made. For the November lottery, the Raspberry Kiss block was chosen so I made 2 of them.

Now let's hope I can attend November's meeting!

Friday, October 30, 2015

It's Peter Pan!

Every October I can't imagine topping last year's halloween costume but somehow I manage to pull it off. This year is no different.  You can check out all of the various halloween costumes I've made here (this link will also include this post, just FYI).

This year's costume is  -- PETER PAN!

All summer long, my son was obsessed with watching the movie and reading the story every night. It seemed only fitting that he dress up as Pan for Halloween. Of course, my first step was to troll around on Pinterest to see what I could find. I loosely followed this tutorial for the shirt and hat and I made the pants using this tutorial from Made by Marzipan and the Fat Quarter Shop. Both pieces hardly took any time at all. What took the longest was knitting the rope belt from some silky cording yarn I had in my stash.

What surprises me most is how little it can cost to make a great costume, one that is much better than something with a plastic mask, which is what I had growing up. Here's the cost breakdown for this costume:

  • Men's medium t-shirt:  $2.39
  • Knit fabric for pants & bag of red feathers for hat: $6.11
  • Waistband elastic for pants & felt for hat: $3.97
  • Silk cording for belt: $0 (came from stash)
GRAND TOTAL:  $12.47

You can't beat that! I have extra felt that I can use to make some boot-style toppers but since my son already has some brown shoes, I think we're just going to let him wear those. Bring it on, Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Stash Bee 2016 Sign Ups

I can't tell you how much I've enjoyed participating in this year's Stash Bee (my first) and can't wait for next season. If you've ever wanted to join an online bee and have been reluctant in the past - take a chance! You won't regret it. I've learned so much about myself as a quilter, have tried new techniques, and just had so much fun!

Sign ups for Stash Bee 2016 opened up today and I hope you'll join me next year.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Crayon Caddy Conundrum

I'm so glad we've finally had a change in the weather here in Central Florida. My husband fondly refers to it as "Fallspring" since the temps are now in the upper 70s/low 80s during the day and 50s at night. It's GLORIOUS!

The change in the weather is my indicator that it's time to get crackin' on some holiday sewing. For my younger niece and nephew I decided to make them a portable art caddy. After seeing some different styles online I decided to use this tutorial that uses velcro instead of ties (ties can sometimes be tricky for little fingers). Here is how it turned out.

At first glance it looks very functional. It has individual pockets for crayons that are nicely snug, and 2 different pockets to hold paper and stickers.

But here's the issue. Those pockets work out nicely when the case is open but once you close it and hold it by the handles, things in those open pockets come sliding out. It's definitely a design flaw for what I intended to put in it, like a small notebook, a pencil sharpener, and possibly some craft scissors. Don't get me wrong, I think this is adorable, but I need to go back to the drawing board and just design one that is more of what I want complete with a larger zippered pocket.

My favorite aspect of this little caddy is where I was able to put my little label. It just makes it look so much more polished. 

And don't think that this is a total loss. I filled it with some goodies and it's being gifted to a friend's daughter when they come to visit. It might help her to pass the time on the plane ride home.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Classroom Prep

This past week I started teaching the 5th graders at our local elementary school how to quilt so that we can make their school wallhanging. So last weekend, I was working on lesson plans and gathering together all of the supplies we'll need in the classroom. For any teachers out there, I was introduced to a neat online teaching tool called Blendspace which allows you to house any media resources like youtube videos, powerpoint presentations, and graphics all within a lesson plan that you create.

I'd gotten 90% of the fabric cut out and placed into individual baggies. Thank you so much to Yvonne, Lisa, Cindy, and Darlene for sending me fabric. It truly was appreciated and is being put to good use.

In gathering up all of the various sewing notions that we might use, I realized that I needed some more pincushions. The students sit at 7 tables so I wanted a pincushion for each table but I only had 3.

I was able to whip up 2 on Sunday afternoon using this tutorial. Despite the wonkiness of the photo, they really are square.  I'm hoping I can make a few more when I get a spare moment.


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