Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Life Just Got A Little Greener

I like to think that my family is doing its part to save the planet. My husband and I both drive fully electric cars, I bring my own bags to the grocery store, I make my own laundry detergent, and we recycle. We also support the idea of harnessing solar energy and someday hope to have solar panels on our home.

Awhile back, I saw this Instagram photo that Carla from Granny Maud's Girl posted. I can't tell you why but I absolutely fell in love with those cute little snaps. Within 24 hours I had ordered my very own KAMSnap tool that came with some basic white snaps (not an affiliate link) and I knew exactly what I wanted my first project to be -- Unpaper Towels.

When my husband first saw these on our kitchen counter his first words were "What the #$@% are these?!"  I had to laugh at this. I don't think he's going to be a big adopter of this eco-friendly paper towel alternative, and I'm okay with that. I'm not planning on getting rid of conventional paper towels - it's just not practical in our household, especially with a six-year-old boy and 3 cats (one of which likes to binge and purge). But if we can reduce our overall landfill waste, I'll consider it a win. And I honestly don't think they're going to add anything to our current laundry so that's another plus.

This was a very quick project consisting of cutting terry cloth and cotton both to 12 inches square, sewing them with right sides together, turning them right side out, and topstitching all the way around to close the opening. I also quilted a basic 9-patch grid to keep the layers from shifting during use. The fun part was getting to put the snaps on them.

Snaps are put on all 4 corners - 2 male connectors on one side & 2 female connectors on the other side.

The final part of this project was figuring out a good way to keep them rolled up on my holder. I went to the local craft store and picked up some heavy duty needlepoint plastic. I cut off a length of it and used some zip ties to make it into a tube. My original idea was to add the snaps directly to the plastic but it proved to be too thick and wouldn't work. Enter Plan B - attaching the snaps onto elastic loops. Success! 

The great thing about these is that I can change them out to coordinate with the different seasons if I wanted to. Here is the second batch that I've already made, including some that are half-size to see how I like them.

I can think of so many great uses for these little snaps - especially an alternative to zippers on things like pouches and pillow covers. Can't wait for the next snap project.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Cathedral Bed Runner Progress

With the return of school, my sewing time has more than doubled overnight. I've made significant progress on my cathedral window bed runner. I made the goal this month to try and get the squares all sewn together. Not only have I finished that, I was able to decide on a color layout for the top squares and have them all pinned down and ready to quilt.

I really wanted the backing to be one continuous piece and since I didn't have anything suitable in my stash I ordered some wide back fabric. Once that arrives I can quilt and bind it. That will be my One Monthly Goal for September. Looking forward to finishing this project.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A Serious Cookie Problem

I think I might need to find a 12-step program because I have a serious cookie problem. I've always fancied peanut butter cookies as my all-time favorite variety but a new one has pushed them to the side. I seriously cannot stop eating these yummy oatmeal chocolate chip cookies from Averie Cooks.

Now I've always liked oatmeal cookies but so often they contain raisins and/or nuts which I'm not a fan. An oatmeal cookie with dark chocolate, peanut butter, or butterscotch chips is right up my alley. So far, I've made 2 batches of these and have used peanut butter chips since it was what I had on hand. This recipe calls for nuts which I omitted. I also used a small cookie scooper which made almost 2 dozen cookies, I think. I can't be sure since I stole bites of the dough. :)

Since the dough needs to be refrigerated before baking, a little forethought needs to be done to make these but it is oh, so, worth it! Next time I'll just make a double batch and freeze most of them. Maybe then I won't bake an entire batch and eat 6 of them in one sitting (no joke!).

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Aspiring to Inspire

I've had this post in my draft folder for over a week now, unsure of how to properly word what I want to say.  When I started on this quilting and blogging journey, I didn't do it for anyone other than myself. I think that's how most of us start out. That is still the case for me, but what keeps me motivated and wanting to try new things are those that have truly inspired me with their creativity and passion. And whether or not it was their intent, Yvonne from Quilting Jetgirl and Jayne from Twiggy and Opal, have both done that for me, each in their own way.

Yvonne's post from last week is what got me really thinking about the path of my creative journey and it prompted me to start writing this post, but it was Jayne's post yesterday that gave me the push to publish it. Yvonne's almost scientific approach to quilting and her attention to detail results in some of the most spectacular creations. You can see that she puts her heart and soul into every stitch. And Jayne's way of just running with a spark of an idea and following her instincts is just amazing to me. Learning to let go and letting a project guide me without worrying about the end result is something that I'm not good at but want to explore more of, thanks to her. And while it might not have been part of their grand plan when they each started blogging, I just wanted to express my gratitude to them for helping me on my own quilting journey. Thanks, Yvonne and Jayne, you truly inspire me!

I've always loved teaching and mentoring others and I'd like to think that someday I might inspire someone else on their creative journey.  What about you? Is there someone that has really influenced and inspired you to keep creating and growing?

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Back to School = Back to Business

I completely fell off the grid this month. It wasn't intentional but sometimes it happens. A recurrence of a migraine, back to school shopping, a sick kitty, and then the eventful start of first grade all took precedence. This should give you an idea of how I feel:

Now it's time to buckle down and re-establish a more structured routine. Back to blogging, back to sewing and back to business. It's time to do something about all the creative ideas and projects that I've been harboring all summer long, just waiting for when I have time to spend more time in my sewing room.

Friday, August 05, 2016

August's One Monthly Goal

July was all about the Pulse quilt charity drive but now it's time to buckle down and get crackin' on the cathedral window bed runner that's to be a wedding gift for my Dad and StepMom. I have all the colored fabrics cut out and most of the background fabric as well. This month I want to finish cutting out the additional background yardage that I purchased and get everything laid out and sewn together.

Here is what I have up on my design wall so far.

I still need to add 10 more columns since my design wall isn't large enough. The colors on this image are also not accurate probably due to the window that is just to the left. The squares that read as yellow are actually a celery green.

Now it's time to start laying the background triangles on top of the squares in the proper direction and sew them all together.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Pulse Charity Drive Update & A Finish

If you've followed my Instagram feed you'll notice that 90% of my posts since June have all been related to Pulse quilts. It's not that I haven't done other things but that has definitely been the priority right now.

Curious as to how it's going? Well, prepare to be blown away. It's amazing the generosity of so many quilters around the world. So far the Orlando guild is in possession of about 250+ finished quilts and that doesn't include the 150 that are in the works and the many individual heart blocks that are arriving every day.

Alissa, the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild president, with all of the quilts so far.
All the members in my guild also deserve a shout-out. A super efficient system was put into place in order to get these quilts done. It goes something like this:
  • Blocks arrive in the mail and a few members pick them up and make them into kits - some with 15 heart blocks, others with 30.
  • Other members piece the blocks into tops and then return those.
  • These tops are then put into quilting kits, with appropriate sized batting and backings for other members to quilt
  • Quilted tops are then divvied up to those members who offered to bind quilts. 
This doesn't include all the members who have sewn together backings, made bindings, sewn together batting scraps, etc. It's just amazing what's been accomplished over the last 6 weeks.

My contribution to the group effort has been a few different jobs. I pieced together a few backings, pieced 30 heart blocks into a top, quilted a 2nd top, and put the bindings on half a dozen others.

3 quilts that I helped finish.
Of course I have to include the finished quilt that I made. It was my top priority on my Q3 Finish Along list and I was super excited to be able to quilt it on a long arm machine too.

Don't you just love a happy little quilt pile? :)