Friday, December 30, 2011

Terrain layouts

I have played with a few different layouts. So far, I am liking this one the best.
First I tried mixing the colors up. too scrappy. didn't like it. Then I tried grouping by color and allowing the colors to blend into each other as they seem to do. Wasn't fully satisfied. This last time I arranged them so the same colors are in the same long row.

As I look at now, I am thinking I should switch the pink and teal green. I am going simple on the design. White sashing and using extra layer cake "slices" to put in the corners of the sashing. I just want to have it completed so I can curl up in it!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Film Placemats

I started brainstorming when my mom told me my brother wanted to decorate with a movie theme in his new place. What I ended up making was a set of film strip placemats. 
I love the way they turned out. I have one bound and the other just needs to have the back tacked down. 
I made them up as I went along, so they are a little oversized, but I really didn't want to end up with one inch squares. That is just too small for my taste. :) Here's the completed one testing out my kitchen table.

Monday, December 19, 2011

oh the anticipation

I am so excited about the gift I am making right now. I am debating if I should even post this. I want to share, but I want to wait to so that I can share a finished product. This project I am making is a set of two of the same thing. Had the first come together as quickly as the second, I might be done. But alas, I grew hungry and tired of sewing and cutting (and pressing) and have a little more yet to do. So now I leave you wondering, and hopefully you will be as excited about my reveal as I am! tee-hee-hee

And since a post is no fun without a photo... here is my 2-year old nephew is the midst of eating a chocolate cupcake with red frosting last night. (went to an informal concert last night when I stopped sewing) And thanks to my husband for doing the dishes while I did my sewing.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Christmas gift making

This year I am making most of my Christmas gifts.
This pillow is for my brother. I used canvas drop cloth for the fabric and stitched on felt pieces. I plan on making a non-holiday pillow cover as well.
(this is under my lovely tree. You see my fabric piled up to the right)

Then, for all the nieces and nephews I have (which I need to use two hands to count), I am making matching pajama pants. I just need to have them all over at once so they know they all match!
These are 18 month old size (for a 2 year old) and the smallest ones I've made. (This pair isnt' finished btw) I have 3 more pairs cut and ready to sew waistbands and hems into.

I have more gifts I have been working on. I'll take a picture when I have the set ready to go. We are having a gift exchange this weekend. I hope my gift is considered "fight-worthy." I hear this group gets quite rowdy at these.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Like a kid on Christmas

I had some birthday money from just about 2 months ago, and have been wavering on what to get with it. I knew what I wanted. Some Terrain fabric by Kate Spain. I have been drooling over the colors since it came out. I love jewel tones and knew that I would make a personal wrap-myself-up-on-the-couch-quilt with it if I could. But it isn't cheap. I thought, maybe a fat quarter bundle! Even when they were on sale, it was way more than my $30 gift card. 
Fast forward a few weeks, and I think layer cake! I searched online and found one for $25 on etsy. With shipping costs, it was just what I had. WooHoo!
I got it in the mail last night, oh it is so beautiful. Beautiful maroon, hot pink, lovely shades of teal... aaah, love. I'm not a big a fan orange, but I might just have to use that too as it all coordinates so well. 

I can't wait to carve out some time to sew it all together. I am going to have to stop by the LQS to get some coordinating solids. I might just do some sashing with different colors in the cross part and a border. I am going to have to work out all the measurements and fabric variations to see what works best. Basically I am less concerned with the details of the quilt and more interested in showing off the fabric!
.... ideas:
What if I got solids for the back and made this 2x as big?

This looks like more work than my original idea, but I think it would be gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas fun

I have gotten a sewing bug. I enjoyed finishing up my last quilt so much that I have been ready to charge forward with more projects. Last night I decided to work on a Christmas coffee sleeve. I use my Java one nearly every day and thought it was time to go seasonal! So I whipped this one up:

I love the red and white and cute little snowmen!

I had used some leftover charm squares from a pillow I made last year. (and have used year long- shh) And I still had some squares left. I also came across the EZ dredsen ruler that I got a while ago, and so decided that I would try it out on my charms.

As I cut and laid them out I worried that I was not going to have enough to finish the circle. But I did! with 2 squares left. Last night I sewed the points and flipped them around, and today I pressed and pieced them all together. I don't care much for pressing, but the anticipation of seeing it complete made it worth it.

I love it! It is super cute, and I can't wait to make a pillow out of it so that I have two for Christmas. The picture is on the back of the first pillow.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I can see the finish line!

I am almost finished - finally. It seems like forever ago when I started this quilt. I just have to tack the binding down. I used a pattern by Natalia at Piece N Quilt.
This is my first free-motion quilting where I am had an idea of what I was doing. I did pebbles in the white area, Charger bolts in the yellow, and footballs around the border (some look deflated, but oh well). I also wrote the recipient's name into the border. It is a bit crooked as the quilt was really pulling against me.
(sorry for the upside down photos. I'm not sure I can rotate them in blogger.)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby Headband

I was curious to try making some yoyo's, so this weekend with some scraps I made this. It will be a headband for a one-year old. I haven't trimmed and finished it yet since I don't have a clue how big her head is. :) It is Breakfast at Tiffany's line from Fig Tree Quilts and just looks so sweet for a little girl. The larger brown yoyo I made by rounding out a charm square. The smaller ones are an inch and a quarter (if that).  I used a tutorial I found on pinterest to make them.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


It has been a while since I made oatmeal. I'm not a huge fan, but I do like steel cut oats. Trader Joes has a quick cook version (ready in 8 minutes) but today I am making the traditional ones that take about 40 minutes. So here it is...
Well almost... like I said, they take 40 minutes. 

I'm excited. I have another recipe I want to make, but when I looked in the cupboard, I discovered what I thought was wheat berries was in reality, barley. Not exactly the same thing. So I figured the dried fruit and pecans could go into oatmeal instead. It is cold in my home this morning since we left the windows open overnight. It worked in cooling the place off and a hot breakfast sounds great.

I wanted dried cranberries, but I was at Costco and found this "Antioxidant Blend" of dried fruit instead. It has cranberries, blueberries, cherries and plums (previously known as prunes). I hope I like it!

Ooh, they're about done... be right back.

Mmm. Look at all those toppings. They look really nice all mixed in, but I'm using my phone for photos and it doesn't take good close ups.

One last thing- why would make breakfast that takes so long? Well besides that it is good for me, I make enough for a few days. The batch I made today makes 4 servings. It reheats well with just a little added water. I also like to mix in Trader Joes spiced apples (and a little sweetener since they have none) and that is enough extra moisture that it doesn't need water. I just make up little containers that I just have to pop into the microwave.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Starting with mistakes

So much for thinking I know what I am doing. Maybe it is because I have looked at too many tutorials lately - yes that must be it. I saw this tutorial by Natalia at Piece N Quilt and thought it would be perfect for the little Chargers quilt I am making for a nephew coming into the world in the next couple weeks. 

I pre-washed my fabric (which I never do) and cut it up last weekend. I have been anxious to start piecing, but had to get another project done first. (I had purple thread that was not going to work with my white quilt squares. I made curtains from sheets. It was a very forgiving project.)

So I started out. I thought to myself, pieces of the same size go together and the larger ones on the sides. After piecing 16 sets of squares ...and pressing them... I thought I better look at the tutorial. I was thinking it was important which color went on what side... 

Here is the picture from Natalia's tutorial...

Do you see that? Squares and rectangles together! Not squares and squares. The first step and I mess up! I really don't want to rip up all those...

I have extra fabric and so I am thinking I might just cut more pieces. I was already planning on making a top and bottom border and maybe it will work into that. A stripe on the back would be fun, but I was going to use flannel so I am not so sure. 

This Apple Crate quilt from Moda Bake Shop must have been what I had in mind when I thought longer pieces went on the sides. Sheesh.

...afterthought: here are my squares.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


We decided to move from a one-bedroom apartment to a two-bedroom townhouse. We are very excited that the place is two-stories and so we will not have any neighbors above us. Unlike my last move, this one was well planned in advanced. We looked at all our possibilities and then made our choice. (Oh, we also will have our own washer and dryer. I can do small loads and wash my fabric and quilts!) We looked at this place from the start and then compared other places to it. So we've pretty much been decided on it for a while.  We put in our 30 day notice, more than 30 days in advance... maybe that's the problem.

I started packing right away. But only pieces since I still needed things. It's (finally) next Saturday that we get our key. So I still have boxes filled and boxes flat. Packing material. Random things here and there. The place is a mess. We are both feeling like moving day will never come.

Another twist - we didn't know I didn't realize the move was going to be when I was in Chicago for a work conference. So I pack all the boxes, fly away, and then my husband and his brothers move everything, and then I return - to a new home. All I will do is clean the old place and start unpacking at the new. As much as I dislike the cleaning, it won't be so bad since I didn't do all the work to move. And then I will set up the 2nd room as my sewing room. Thankfully the husband doesn't seem to mind that I have more or less just claimed that room. I can't wait. I am going nuts with my sewing machine tucked away in the corner with stacks of boxes in front of it. Until then... more packing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I have noticed a lot of food on the blogs I watch recently. So I thought I would join in the fun. I made this soup Sunday and devoured a bowl last night. I'm thinking I should write it down in case I want to make it again.

I had a few leftover items from other meals, so they went into this soup in my effort not to be wasteful.

Jenn's Enchilada Soup
1 generous cup enchilada sauce (leftover item)
1 box chicken broth
1 can corn, drained
1 large can green chilis
14 oz crushed tomatoes (leftover item)
1 can tomatoes (I got Mexican stewed)
pinto beans covered in leftover enchilada sauce.(pinto beans were previous drained & rinsed)
1 can chili beans, un-drained (if I didn't have the pintos, I would use 2 cans of these)
Most of a roasted chicken
1 tsp cumin (taste and adjust as needed)
S&P to taste

I pulled apart the chicken meat with my hands (did you know I used to be vegetarian? Meaty fingers is kind of a big deal for me.) I left the chicken chunky and in long-ish pieces. (And do I need to even say - remove skin, as much slimy fat and any veins you run into.)  Mix all ingredients together in big pot on stove. My tomatoes were too big for my taste, so I broke them up. Heat... we didn't get to eat it until a day later. So, in that case, reheat. (I think leaving it to sit and blend favors was a great idea).
I served it with a generous drizzle of Mexican Crema (like a thin and not sour, sour cream) and pile of Queso Fresca crumbles. Then garnished with cilantro.  I served it along side a pile of Tostitos Scoops. It looked pretty.
Mmm, Soup!

I used the spoon to stir it all up and for the last two bites. Other than that, I ate it with the scoops. It was fun - like a bunch of minature bowls of soup. The occassional bite of cilantro was a fresh and tasty pop of flavor. I will use more "garnish" on my next bowl.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A unlikely find

Anomaly # 1. I went to Walmart instead of Target.
Anomaly #2. I found myself checking out the fabric there.

I was looking for a patch for my husband's pants. He has holes in both knees from reaching the bottom shelves of chips. (He stocks the grocery stores for Frito-Lay.) So as I was wandering around looking for a patch, I found a couple of things.
First, and most exciting, they had Brother bobbins. I have a Brother sewing machine and the 3 bobbins that it came with. So I am not generous with the thread I put on there as I might have to remove what was left to put on a different color/type of thread. Now I have 8 more! So exciting. Previously I had looked at bobbins at Joann's but they only carry Singer. Now I can completely fill a bobbin and not worry about running out of thread halfway across my quilt.
Second, and more surprisingly, I found some precuts. On Clearance! I got a fat quarter pack in blue and whites for a baby boy quilt I plan to make, 2 yards of flannel in white (back of quilt), and a kit for a purse in the hobo bag style, including handles. For trying a new design, I am okay with cheap. And $9 for a new purse sounded pretty good. All this for... (wow, what was only $3?) $18. They had some other cute kits and fat quarter packs, but my rule is I will only buy if I know for whom the fabric will be used.  It is certainly not the Fig Tree quality from the last quilt I made, but it wasn't worse than the fabric I looked at in Joann's!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Using up my leftovers

I had some extra charms and extra yardage as well from my last quilt. As the fabric was easy to reach (unlike the rest) and I wanted to keep creating, I decided to make some little items with what I had left.
So ...
      #1. Nearly done is (what is supposed to be) a wallet-like pouch. It is bigger than I imagined. Just need to put on some binding, as I chose to quilt the layers all together.
 (the other side is the same patterns in opposite colors)

      #2. To put the wallet/mini-bag in - a purse! I remembered seeing a charm square purse on the moda bake shop. I didn't have the number of charms left to make it reversible, but went with the general idea for the outside. I have it pieced. I even put the two sides together... then realized I should have quilted it. (I have left over batting I am using too.)
 (this was supposed to face the same as the other side. Oops. I figured it out halfway through sewing it and decided it was fine.)

I decided I had enough sewing for one day and it was time to put my living room back together. I spent a lot of time today cleaning out the corners and clearing off the flat surfaces. :)

Saturday, May 21, 2011


I got some pictures last night when I finished tacking down the binding. I wanted to get some this morning too, but it was too gloomy outside. 

I really really wanted to get this to my friend before her surgery. I couldn't get it out of my head. It didn't work out to get over there last night (which is fine because it wasn't done). But I couldn't drive by this morning (had to go back to work to get my purse) without stopping. I caught her with her hair in a towel and no makeup, and simply handed it off and gave a hug and left. But I feel so much better - like there is a weight off my chest. It was folded up, so there wasn't much to see of it, but she was happy, said it made her teary. Her porch had wicker furniture and I saw a rose tea set on her living room coffee table. This was certainly the right material choice, and I am sure she will love it. (The porch would have been a great place to take a staged picture. Oh well)

It will probably be a couple months again before I make another quilt. I wish that wasn't the case, but at the same time I am happy about it. We are going to be moving into a 2-bedroom apartment, so I will have room to quilt. Currently I can't reach my sewing machine, I filled the dining room space with empty boxes.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

One last step

One last step and I will be done with my latest project: an actual quilt with binding. It has been some time since I have made something with binding. I have gotten the binding on, using the tips I saw jaybirdquilts, and just need to sew it down by hand.

I am very proud of this quilt; it isn't perfect, but I did do a lot of things right that I have messed up before. I am especially pleased with how the quilting turned out as I debated if I wanted to do it myself or pay to have it done. I got zero puckers and my boss, who quilts, asked "how did you get the stitches so even?" I don't know, but I think it's just that I got the tension right this time.

Here it is tossed on my couch last night (sorry for the crummy iphone picture). I finished putting on the binding and went to bed. It's really easy to lose track of time when quilting. 
I was going to give it to a co-worker before she went in for surgery, but she is already on leave. So maybe she will be super nice and let me come by her home and drop it off. (She emailed previously and said she didn't want people stopping by and seeing her without her hair and make up done.)

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Quilting Again

It's been some time since I decided to make a quilt. I've been having fun with little one day projects.  But I have all this fabric that I planned to make quilts with. 
One of the quilts I was going to make is for a co-worker. She has been dealing with health issues, and will be going in for heart survey at the end of the month. My plan was to make the Schnibbles Paganini quilt that I did for Le Petite way back in... October? November? There are 4 different layouts and I have been looking at the v 4. (having already done the first version) 

So this afternoon I cut up all the little squares I needed and the strips for the border. I was proud of myself for getting all that done right away.

So tonight as I have pull out the charm squares, in sets of 4, to put together, I had all these sets that looked like blocks. And now I am wondering if I should just put them together in that pattern. I threw them together and while I might move some blocks around, I think it is cute. And really a lot easier. As I discovered previously, just because something is small, doesn't mean it is easy or fast. And if I want to get this done by the time my co-worker goes into surgery, I am thinking this might be the better option. I'd end up with an unused stack of 2 inch squares, but oh well.

Opinions? Paganini or whatever this type of layout is:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Finished bag

Finished butterfly purse. Not bad for making it up without a pattern, if I do say so myself.
I'm not sure why this view keep rotating, but this is the inside, with 6 giant pockets.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Another bag

Bags are my favorite thing to make lately. They don't take much time. This is one I am currently working on. It is a birthday present for my little sister. She's turning 17. I need to cut some handles, square off the bottom (it's just pinned), and put it together at the top. I am excited about it. I just used what I had (trying not to spend money) and it's the first I made with fusible between the layers. And I also just improvised on the pockets. This was with 2 fat quarters and something a little less than a yard of black.

Also finished this one a while ago... also with fabric I had on hand.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A little coffee indulgence

My kitchen is currently decorated with a coffee theme, and the new Java line matches the colors perfectly, especially with the reds and oranges and browns.  I would love to get the kit and make this quilt. However, seeming how the kitchen will not be only mine in a couple months, and Jerry spent the last few years working in a coffee shop, that theme is not up his alley. But I couldn't help getting a little bit of it for myself - and got a charm pack on the way by the quilt store this morning.
I made a reversible cup sleeve (since they know me by name at the coffee shop) and am working on a coaster. I am not sure if I want to make the bottom of it a pinwheel like the top or not. I am a little perplexed however about how it turned out to be a larger square than I began with. And for that reason I think I may have to make another pinwheel. I might have gone ahead with it, but I think I will put a proper little binding on this - and don't want to make time tonight. I've got to go back to work tomorrow for the first time since Dec 23.