Wednesday, November 01, 2017

2018 Stash Bee Sign-Ups Are Open

Hi Everyone! Yes, I'm still alive. I know I've been quiet here on the blog. Life has just been super busy right now. We close on our house on Friday and move this weekend and I've been working lots (gotta pay for that house!). Just wanted to pop in to say that the sign-ups are open for the 2018 Stash Bee if you were interested.

It's going to be a little smaller this year with only 7 hives so if you were thinking of participating, don't wait long to sign up.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Back to School Sewing

Nothing like some little projects to ease me back into my sewing room. First up were the reusable snack bags that I made as my August goal. These are such a fast make and are just so functional yet fun. I also get so many people asking me about them, I just might have to start making them in bulk and selling them.

Next up was a fun pencil case for my son made out of some Star Wars fabric that he picked out 2 days before school started. I can guarantee that none of his other classmates will have one like it!

Both of these projects were just what I needed to get my sew-jo going after such a long hiatus.

(Linking up to Elm Street Quilts for OMG's August Finish)

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A Monthly Goal for August

I have to admit, I'm that parent. The one who is overjoyed for the start of the school year. This week is the last full week of summer vacation and I'm really looking forward to getting back into the routine that school provides. Summer is hard for my kiddo (and me!). All of his neighborhood friends spend their days at summer camp or daycare because their parents work full-time so it's just him and me all day long unless I set up organized play dates or outings. And did I mention that our house is up for sale? Throw in some house showings and an open house to add to the chaos and there's not been much sewing going on.

That's why I want to ease into August with a simple sewing goal of making more reusable sandwich bags for school lunches. I made a few last year, including one that was Star Wars themed but it was a small snack size. I'd like to make these larger. I'm not sure how my son will feel about the apple and plaid fabrics, but I'm sure he'll approve of the Peanuts fabric I found in my scrap bin.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Slow Road to Health and Sewing

It's been a long two months while I focus on my health and while I'm still not at 100%, I'm finally starting to feel like myself again. I've also started sewing some small projects in the way of 3 blocks for Stash Bee. My own hive mates were amazing and sewed blocks for me for May and June but I felt well enough to sew my own block for July, which was a maple leaf:

Another hive needed 2 angel blocks that requested more traditional fabrics. Lucky for them I had an aunt that had given me just the types of fabrics that were needed. I just had to dig deep into my scrap bins to find them, praying that I hadn't donated all of them to charity. Luckily, I still had a few left.

For now, I still need to stick to small, short projects but I really miss playing on my longarm. But I have enough projects that need finishing, mostly borders and such. I think in another month or so I hope to try and do some longer periods of sewing the take a bit more concentration. Until then, baby steps. The same goes for blogging as well. Don't want to overdo it.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blogging Break

I've had so many other posts that I thought I'd be posting this month but this wasn't one of them. Unfortunately, I'll be taking a medically required blogging break -- a break from blogging as well as catching up on all the awesome blogs I follow. I basically need to stay off my computer as much as possible. I will still respond to emails and do enough to maintain the Stash Bee website, but for now I'll be laying low.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

May's Goal: School Gifts

It's that time of year - crunch time for the end of school. I have 4 weeks before the end of school and just yesterday I was informed that next week is teacher appreciation week. Why do they never put that on the school's calendar to give me a heads up about it?!

So my goal this month is to make some teacher gifts. His super amazing 1st-grade teacher will be getting a rope bowl accented with purple fabrics (her favorite color) that will be filled with all sorts of fun goodies like coffee and gift cards. She will also get a handmade zipper pouch.  So far, the only thing I've pulled are the fabrics for the pouch:

I'd also like to make either zipper pouches or small rope bowls for his secondary teachers - for a total of 3 more gifts - for music, PE, and art.  So that's a total of 5 gifts in all, but given that they're smaller, it's totally doable.

Linking up to this month's OMG over at Elm Street Quilts.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Introducing... Eliza

I'm happy to announce that my long arm finally has a name. Eliza has joined the ranks with Ruby, Pearl, and Bessie. She and I are still getting acquainted, and while we had a bit of a rocky time this past week, we've really bonded. (If you've been following me on Instagram either on my own account or on 52Quilters, you'll have an idea of what I'm talking about - but I promise, I'll be posting about it early next week).

As you might have guessed, she's named after Eliza Hamilton, from the popular musical Hamilton. What can I say, the theatre geek in me just wouldn't be ignored. I flirted with the idea of naming her Peggy just for the pure humor of being able to say "And Peggy!" but ultimately it was Eliza that stuck.

And as you can see by what is on the frame, I met my goal for this month and finished making the extra blocks for my Stash Bee quilt. Here is a photo of it laid out on the front lawn.

Linking up to the OMG link party.

Monday, April 24, 2017

I'm Taking Over!

This was quite unexpected and on very short notice, but I'm taking over the 52 Quilters Social Media sites this week!  If you're not familiar with the 52 Quilters project, it is a year long social experiment in quilty communication and collaboration. Each week a new quilter takes over all of the social media sites for the project to share what that person does throughout the week. Sort of like "A Day in the Life" series, but it really captures how no 2 quilters are alike.

So throughout the week you can find me blogging at 52 Quilters, uploading photos on Instagram, and, Lord help me, Twitter (I only say that because I've never used Twitter before!).  But don't worry, I'll be posting a few things on here as well.

Happy Monday!

Friday, April 07, 2017

2nd Quarter Finish Along Goals

Click here for the 2017 Finish-Along Details

As I planned, I had about half of my projects from 1st quarter roll over to this quarter. It just wasn't the ones that I expected! So here is what I have tasked myself with completing by the end of June, keeping in mind that school lets out at the end of May so any sewing that happens during the month of June will probably be minimal:

1. My cousin's quilt for their wedding gift. They got married in March, so I'm going for that unexpected surprise gift at this point.

2.  Aspen Frost Jubilee Quilt - I made a ton of progress on this last quarter but then other projects took priority and it took a backseat. I need to find a good border fabric and backing fabric and then I can get to quilting this.

3. Welcome Panel - this is half quilted already but again, it was set aside last quarter so I'm confident I can get this finished up in an afternoon once I find the time to work on it again.

4. These layer cakes are back on the list again in the hopes that it motivates me to get started on the project using a half square triangle layout that I came up with in EQ7.

5. Rainbow Dresden Mini.  This is the only new project that I'm adding. Contrary to what it looks like, this pile of scraps are actually cut out dresden petals that I chain pieced when I was in Lee Monroe's "Understanding the Rainbow" class at QuiltCon. I need to make this into a mini quilt.

That's it, that's all I got.

Monday, April 03, 2017

April's Spring Goal

Sometimes deciding on my one monthly goal can be so hard! I have so many things I want to get done right now, and I think it's because I can see the calendar days flipping closer and closer to summer break. It's those summer months when I get very little sewing done so I need to start planning now what projects I want to get done before the end of May.

So my goal for this month is to get my cousin's quilt top finished (my 2017 stash bee blocks) so that I can load it on the long arm and quilt it. I have batting and backing fabric all ready to go but I need to make my top a bit larger.

That requires me to make 5 more blocks and then piece all 25 blocks together. I think that's doable.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Quilted Ornaments

Yes, it's the last day of March and the last thing on your mind is probably Christmas, but I have a holiday finish to share! One of the projects on my selfish sewing list for this year (and for this quarter of the Finish Along) were some micro-quilted holiday ornaments.

I got the inspiration to make these from Leanne over at the Devoted Quilter. She posted a tutorial during the holidays this past season and I knew that I wanted to make some for next year. While I think they'd make great little gifts, I plan on keeping these for myself. We have a 2nd Christmas tree that will only be decorated with handmade ornaments.

They were very fun to make and great practice with flow quilting which is something that I need to get better at, especially now that I have long arm machine. Making smooth transitions from one motif to another takes practice and this allows me to do it without getting overwhelmed. I'm hoping to make at least 4 more throughout the year to add to our tree by next December.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Rope Coasters

A few weeks back, while I was waiting for my long arm machine to be set up, I cranked out these cute rope coasters using some leftover aqua and teal scraps so that they'd coordinate with my living room decor.

I didn't have any set expectations with these other than to have fun making them and play around with some of my scraps and decorative thread. Photographing them proved to be harder than making them - any sort of "creative" composition and you couldn't tell what they were. If I put a mug on them, then you couldn't see them. The photo above is boring but at least you can see them. I even managed to get 5 out of 6 to be the same size. (The top right one is smaller than all the rest. It was my original one that I made a few months back).

This little project was my goal for this month and I even made a few extra coasters so that I have a few in my sewing room now. It's also one of the projects that I wanted to get done this quarter for the 2017 Finish Along.

Friday, March 24, 2017

A Boy And His Droid

It's a good thing that my son doesn't care much about timelines, otherwise he might have been annoyed to learn that his birthday gift was originally supposed to be his Christmas gift! Turning 7 was a big deal in our house and this past summer when he asked to decorate his room in a Star Wars theme I knew then that I wanted to make him a BB-8 quilt. It was a very easy paper piecing pattern that came together quickly but it was getting it quilted that took a long time (just because of life). Here was my plan for quilting:

The body of BB-8 was going to be one large concentric circle, his head was a small circuit board stipple. And as you can see in the photo above, the background was going to be a radiating straight-line swirl to create some movement. I think I was able to execute my vision fairly well, although it might be hard to see in some of these photos.

And finally, my favorite photo -- this was taken just after we brought him into his room, eyes closed of course, and he saw it for the first time. He had no idea that I had been making a quilt just for him.

It made my heart melt.  đź’—

This is one of my Q1 Finish Along projects that can be found here.

Monday, March 20, 2017

My Timing Sucks

Luckily, I'm not talking about any of the timing on my machines, rather the timing of my life in general. I got this brand, spankin' new long arm machine - wait -- I haven't blogged about it yet? Well, no, not really. Because I haven't been able to really use it yet BECAUSE IT'S SPRING BREAK. And there is my wonderful sense of timing.

My Handi Quilter Avanté

My machine got set up late Thursday afternoon and Friday was the first day of a 10-day holiday break (well, 6 days off of school with 2 weekends) where I'm with my 7-year-old 24/7. Yippee!  Don't get me wrong, I love my kid to death, but right now I'd much rather be in my sewing room with my new baby instead. But it will have to wait while we have playdates and plan trips to places like LegoLand, the library, and Ikea.

As you can see from the photo above, it was a bit of a snug fit to get it into my sewing room. While I was at QuiltCon my husband was emailing me floor plans to make sure my idea would even work. I opted for the 10-foot frame and on the left, you can see that 8-inches or so is tucked into the closet! I had the doors removed when we built the house. Before, I used to keep Ikea bookshelves in there with all of my fabric storage so it was just a matter of finding a new place to store my fabric.  But I did lose my large cutting table but I already have an idea of how to solve that problem.

Now I just need to come up with more time in the day to get some time to steal away and practice. Here is the scrap that the Handi Quilter rep loaded on my machine so that I could start practicing on. I wasted no time filling it up.

I'm hoping to get another large practice piece loaded up on frame so I can spend at least 15 minutes every evening playing after dinner.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Bee Blocks & Other Projects

Before heading off to Savannah last month I managed to sew up a few small things that I thought I would share. First up is a finish for the 2017 QAL. I had a really cheap eye mask that I’d been using and thought I would upgrade it with some fabric from my stash. The project took me all of 15 minutes if that. I recycled the elastic from the cheap mask since I already knew it was a good fit and I think ripping it out took longer than the actual sewing.

I thought it looked much cuter than the drab black one so imagine my surprise when I used it for the first time… and HATED it. I guess there’s a reason why they make those things with a silky type polyester (or nylon?). It just feels better on your eyes. Needless to say, I’ll be ripping the elastic out and putting it back in the cheap one when I get a spare moment. It’s funny that I saved it on a whim. Now I know why.

I was also able to whip up a quick house block for the Montréal Modern Quilt Guild in their charity effort in response to the mosque shootings in Québec City, #QuiltsforQC. I was able to drop it off at QuiltCon.

The last block I'm going to share with you is the block I finished yesterday - my March block for Stash Bee, which I absolutely love! Ophélie, our queen from Paris, selected colors that I never would have put together myself, but she has converted me.

Mustard yellow with dark pink and dark teal? And olive green?? Who knew... but I can't wait to see her quilt come together.

The next big thing for me is the setup of my new long arm tomorrow! That's why there's been very little sewing since I've had to completely overhaul my entire sewing room. More on that very soon!

Tuesday, March 07, 2017

March - One Monthly Goal

Do you ever find it hard to get back into the habit of blogging when you've been away for a while? That's me right now. I'm really having to force myself to sit down at my computer. I missed setting a formal goal last month so I need to make sure that I do one for this month.

I'm still playing a bit of catch-up from QuiltCon and in case you missed the news I posted in my last update, I bought a long arm! What that means for me taking everything out of my room, including the bookshelves with all of my fabric, that are in the closet so that I can reconfigure the space to fit the 10-foot quilting frame. Given that task, I'm not setting any lofty sewing goals this month.

Here is one coaster that I've made so far with some of that rope I purchased. I've been using it in my sewing room and I absolutely love it.

So my goal is to make 3 more for our living room, 4 if I'm ambitious. That way I can keep this cutie right where it is. :)

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

QuiltCon Recap & Recovery

I was pretty absent here on the blog all last month and I feel like I'm playing a game of continual catch-up but my time spent at QuiltCon last weekend was just what I needed to recharge my creative battery.

I was fortunate enough to take 2 classes during my 3-day attendance. One was a color theory class with Lee Chappell Monroe and the other was a free-motion impact quilting class with Christina Cameli. I had so much fun in both classes and learned some new tips and tricks that I look forward to incorporating into my sewing.

I also spent some time manning our Quilts for Pulse exhibit. It was so wonderful to talk with so many people who contributed quilt blocks or entire quilts to our effort. I even managed to find several quilts for people in the almost 1700 that we had pictured!

A group photo of the members of the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild who were in attendance at QuiltCon.
But the best thing about the weekend was being able to connect with so many of my online friends from all around the country. People that I've known online for the last 3 years or so, that I've come to call friends, even though we've never met in person... until now!



It was such an amazing, fun, and exhausting weekend! I came back home with lots of free goodies, a few small trinkets, and a long arm.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons...

... well, you know the saying. But I'll be honest with you, the lemons have been piling up in our house without any lemonade in sight. And man, do I love me some homemade lemonade.
[DISCLAIMER: feel free to jump to the end to see what little I've been sewing all month. This next section is NOT quilting related]

 I've noticed a trend over the last few years with January being less than ideal in our house and this year was no exception. Between my son and I, it's been awful. First, my son was sick, fighting pneumonia. Then I had some headache issues again. Next up was some more neuro-psych testing for him for an ADHD diagnosis. That came back positive which wasn't a huge shock since it often goes hand-in-hand with autism, but there is also some big red flags for a learning disability which we now need to start testing for and we also need to start expressive language therapy. The icing on the cake, however, was the urinary tract infection that I got while on our Disney cruise this past weekend that has now spread to my kidney (along with a possible kidney stone). These 2 things are listed as possible side effects of the medication that I take for my migraines. I just can't catch a break. So either my kidney pain will either subside with the meds or will get worse in the next day (indicating a stone) at which time I will go in for an x-ray or CT scan to confirm. Lucky me!

Needless to say, I've done very little sewing, very little blogging, and even less reading of my favorite blogs. In fact, I've had to take a deep breath and click on that little button on my reader that says "MARK ALL AS READ." You have no idea how much it pains me to do that, but there was no way I was ever going to catch up, so let me apologize now if you think I've been ignoring you!

Okay, so here is what I managed to sew this month. I made 2 blocks for myself - a bubble block and a dutch windmill block:

I also made some progress on the getting the Aspen Frost Jubilee blocks put together.  Having my design wall next to a window is sometimes less than ideal for photos, but this was the best I could get:

Even though I missed setting an official goal for February, I still need to get my son's BB-8 quilt finished. Despite my best efforts to get it done, it proved to be too big for me to baste at home. I really, really hope to get some outside help in getting in basted on a long arm so that I can quilt it on my DSM.

That's all for now. Time to get better.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Rope Bowls - A Fun Little Gift Project

The trouble with Instagram is that I stumble upon cute craft projects that I might not see otherwise. Enter my new obsession of crafting with cotton clothesline rope. In a matter of a few hours, while watching some tv, I can make a cute little gift like this:

It's a great way to use those favorite little fabric scraps that are too small to use in a real project but you can bring yourself to actually throw them out. I used this tutorial here in case you're interested in trying this yourself.

I needed a way to hide the unfinished end of the bowl so I just folded over a piece of fabric with my label on it. It's not perfect but it got the job done.

I gifted this bowl to one of my neighbors but I liked it so much that I had to make another one for me to keep. I used some of the fabric scraps that are in my Turquoise Facets quilt.


This time I finished the bowl off using the same decor weight fabric that I used for my dining room placemats. 

I like the look much better, however, I need to be more aware of where the end is in relation to the last bit of woven fabric. I don't like the way it covers part of it up, especially since it's one of my favorite fabric scraps. I plan on making some of these as gifts for my son's teachers, using their favorite colors. I also want to make some coordinating coasters for my living room.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Finish Along - Q1 Planned Finishes

Click here for the 2017 Finish-Along Details

Last year I attribute a lot of my successful finishes to my participation in the 2016 Finish Along so it should come as no surprise that I will be participating again this year. It really helped to keep me focused and was a great motivator for me, being able to check a project off of my to-do list. So, here is my list for the first quarter of the year. Yes, it's ambitious, but it's supposed to be. Better to have too much and roll it over, than to have too little and run out of things to do. :)

1. My 2017 Stash Bee Faux Purple Plaid Quilt -- this is to be a wedding gift for my cousin in March. Here are the blocks that I've received so far, up on my design wall.

2.  Twin sized BB-8 quilt for my son's 7th birthday.  The backing fabric arrived yesterday so I should be able to finish up the top and get it basted by next week. That will give me plenty of time to get it quilted and bound before his birthday in March.

3.  Set of 4 Rope Coasters for our living room, using this rope and some of the scraps from this fabric bin, all which coordinate with the rest of the handmade decor in our living room.

4.  I'd like to transform these quilt sandwich circles into 2 free motion holiday ornaments, like the ones found in this tutorial.

5.  Transform these 2 layer cakes into one of these patterns that I worked on in EQ7. It's an easy project and I even have the backing fabric for this project so it's doable.

6.  I've been using this sad little eye mask for a few years now. (I think it was included in a game that my son had).  I don't use it all of the time, mostly when I have a migraine episode during the day and want to block out the light or if my husband and I are both in bed and he would like to read a bit before sleeping. I'd much rather have a pretty eye mask made with this fabric:

7.  Finish putting together these blocks into a finished top, and get this Aspen Frost Jubilee quilt  done!

8.  Welcome Panel - I have a few whole cloth panels that found their way into my stash. This one is from Benartex and while it's not exactly my style, it would be a nice free motion quilting project that I can get done in a day. It would make a nice gift for one of my aunts.

That's 8 documented projects outside of my monthly bee obligations and other sewing. Again, it's a lot but that's okay. It's good to have a list.