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January 31, 2011

dc metro quilt

seriously, my quilt bee is awesome. This is the first bee for all of us, and I happened upon the first month to be the 'queen.'

I gave them a visual topic: DC metro stations (here is a photo I took on my phone)

photo 2

I asked them to use photos of metro stations as inspiration for a block with at least one dimension of 10", made with any fabric but pink. Keep in mind, my month is February, and some ladies have already finished.

Here are some of the sketches that Saricx created.

Miss Carol Ann has finished her blocks. Here is one of them...
First TimeBee February Block

I love how she incorporated the red warning lights!

I will definitely keep posting these beauties, but I want to do them one or two at a time because they are all SO GREAT and deserve special attention! I am so glad that I decided not to pick a specific block.  My fellow bees are so talented, and I am glad that they get to show off their unique skills. I cannot say enough about how excited I am for this quilt. Now I need to kick my butt in gear and work on my own additions to the quilt :)

thanks gals. a bunch.


January 30, 2011

weekend progression

It was marathon cutting-piecing-quilting-binding in my house.

postage stamp ip

Quilting my postage stamp quilt. Top is done, count me in that drawing! Looking at it now, I can say I love it. Had you asked me my feelings mid-48-square-construction, you would also be asking to get your head bit off. Okay not that terrible, but still. This felt so monotonous, but also so easy. I guess I traded complexity for time. Or maybe I just noticed the time more because there was no complexity.

When I made it back from a conference in DC (snow leads to canceled flights and extra nights), I was able to do more than gaze longingly at my sliced coins fabric (have you seen the quilt along over at Don't Call Me Betsy?).  I cut, placed, and began assembling that quilt. Let me tell you, so much faster than that postage stamp. Sunny and warm day calls for an equally sunny photo :)

sliced coins construction

What did you work on this weekend?


January 26, 2011

what do two crafty friends do when they are stuck?

read other people's blogs. and then blog about it. because we lack the ability to do anything else but wallow in self pity, and that's just lame. (although I'm reaaaallly tired of being "on" all the time)


here's to hoping we can get home tomorrow and provide something more than a photo of a project planner or a computer :)

work[s] in progress

Linking up to WiP Wednesday today ...I love the kind things that community has to say :)

You would think with a name like "Project Planner" this thing would be the cure-all of my unorganized ails.


It is not living up to its name. (Aside - I also list all the stuff I want to make in the immediate future. I am up to 20+ things in the queue and not listed below). The fact that I put up a picture of it tells probably you I did not get much done this week. I am pulling the work card...so busy, mind-consuming, and stressful that I just had no energy left. Here is what I have been working on briefly...

postage stamp quilt
totally looks promising, right? secret: I only finished 3 of these blocks, just to take a photo for you fine folks :)

Other progress made:
Raincoat - finished the basic construction and hood, only after refusing to buy ANOTHER presser foot and playing the makeshift game with a tape-covered presser foot for the laminated fabric, then only to have the tape peel back and elicit a few curse words.

Sliced coins quilt - all I have accomplished is looking at the fabric, it is really pretty. I am sorry :( This is definitely a quilt along in which I want to participate but my week got the better of me.

Not-so-secret February gift for my husband - he knows about it, but he does not know what it is, and I am desperately fighting my can't-keep-surprises personality to...well...keep it a surprise? I will try to post a teaser photo soon!

a big fat nothing

-gift for husband

In Process:
-postage stamp quilt
-sliced coins quilt
-crochet scarf for just me
-monochrome quilt
-first quilt (yep, several years later, still not done)
-memorial quilts

I really appreciate you stopping by! How do you stay organized with your projects and motivated during particularly demanding weeks? How long is your queue?


January 25, 2011

a home for hooks

It's Fabric Tuesday over at Quiltstory again! Everybody and their brother has one of these, but I still love mine!


More Modern Meadow! Did you read the post from yesterday about my grandma? Well, these were her crochet hooks. So precious, so old, so unique. They needed a special home, away from my own hooks, to be admired and used with extra special love. I laid them out on a fat quarter to gauge how much space each hook needed.


I settled on 1 inch, except for the biggest guy, who needed 1.5 inches.


In addition to the plastic bag full of hooks, they just keep showing up in random balls or skeins of yarn from her stash. Some of the hooks are now forced to co-locate. I have found 3 size E hooks from her, plus my own size E.

Have you made a hook or needle holder? What was your design or fabric like?

thanks for swinging by!

January 24, 2011

Marie's Legacy

Marie was my grandma. Check this out, and read the story that goes along with it. I will try not to disappoint :)


When I was young (before the bratty era), my grandma brought me to a local craft store (after much begging). I was wholly captivated by her moving needle and the precise separation of the floss, and I so badly wanted to join her. She let me pick out an embroidery pattern and floss, taught me how to iron it on, and walked through the process of making a little tea-towel piece of art. Of course, I could not, and still cannot, compare to her intricacy, but I learned as best I could.

In some weird way, I feel like it was her way to connect with me. I was the youngest grandchild, far removed from the traditions of the extended family, but we could meet at this crafty place (she also taught me to crochet). When she passed away this past fall, it was with heavy heart that I accepted her remaining stash, as I was the only grandchild that took up the 'craft' of crafting. On a lighter note, let me tell you, this woman knew how to collect a stash. When going through it all, I found the tea towel pictured above, only in quite a bit of disarray. Toward the end of her life, she had terrible eye sight, so bad that she could not really see the embroidery pattern. This precious little towel was just a mess of stitches every which way. She got so frustrated that she tucked it away before finishing it. It absolutely broke my heart to think of how lonely she must have been, not even able to do what she loves.


I meticulously took out the stitches (she would be embarrassed if I showed a before picture) and reused the floss (plus a little extra) to redo the pattern just as she had imagined it. So, here's to you, grandma - and yes ma'am, I will be sure that it gets used as a towel too, because that's what you would have liked.

thanks for reading :)
Mary (and Marie)

January 21, 2011

not another one!

I am contemplating joining the quilt along over at Don't Call Me Betsy. Translation: I will be doing this quilt. That's right, hubs. Strap on your Vibrams, we're going to the fabric store.

sliced coins?

It is so hard to resist these little gems of quilty groups, especially when I already have the spotlight fabric (Soul Blossoms, from my mother-in-law for Christmas) and when the quilt-along host is so fun and nice.

Really. I promise. This is the last quilt I will make [until the next one].

January 20, 2011

the next big mountain

Clothes. That's right, clothes. I'm not talking the 'take this up two inches' kind, I'm talking the 'from scratch' kind. I am starting off with what I am hoping will be easy-ish. No darts, no special fitting, no waistband, just a raincoat. [Maybe a raincoat doesn't count?]


Goodness. This photo intimidates me. Any advice for a fledgling little clothing sewer?

More help needed! My iron bit the dust last night (big time), and my ironing board is rusting with a defunct cover. Any tips on finding new ones or recommendations of types/brands? Does the ironing board really make a difference, and if so, where would I shop for a good one?

thanks so much in advance :)

January 19, 2011

work[s] in progress

Trying a link-up with Freshly Pieced today...hoping this little link party will inspire me to get my projects organized! There is a lot going on in my sewing space. Here's a peek.


I know, nothing profound. This is my first block for the monochromatic challenge.  I am afraid to post a whole block for fear that someone will rip it off.  Not that I think it is all that spectacular, but you know...it's mine, and I want it to stay that way! :) Forgive me my uneven corners. Those pieces are 1" wide at the widest...hard to be absolutely perfect, and I am okay with that.

On another note, I took some time to organize my space in hopes that I would be mildly more productive. Now I actually know what I have in my stash. Take a look.

my space

Of note in this photo:
1. See that pile on the far right? It used to all look like that.
2. Old cardboard boxes make great mini-bolts
3. Yes, that picture frame on the left is in fact a beautiful "Target Home" print (aka it hasn't been filled)
4. My husband put up those magnets that say "Mary's Craft Corner." He had to make an extra C from an old O.
5. I know, the hutch is off-center, but look at that pretty [completely washed out in this photo] picture! Part of a husband-and-wife-painting-day collection.
6. I'm still working on taking good pictures.

Next week, I promise I will have a better grasp on all the projects floating around here :)

all things pretty, and thanks for visiting!

January 18, 2011

i spy something different

Linking up to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday today! I participated in an i-spy swap over at Obsessively Stitching. I love all the different patterns I got, but there were quite a few with similar things on them (like puppies or strawberries). I opted to make this.

i-spy 2

I chose a bunch of i-spy squares with similar items and sewed them all together into bean bags. Then, I made tags that list things that can be 'spied' on the bean bags. All that together makes a fun little game, right? I hope so, anyway... The point is to pick a tag, then search the bean bags for what the tag lists. It is for my niece, but she may just have more fun throwing the bean bags around :)

i-spy 1

Happy Sewing!

January 17, 2011

charlie brown quilt

So named by my husband (he was reading my mind) because of the stripes and color balance.

Charlie Brown quilt 3

You may remember the sneak peak from last week. Recap: for a friend of the family, first baby is a girl, due in early summer, recently had surgery and is now resting up on her couch (so I am told :) ). With my awesome new walking foot and some cream thread purchased amid the ice storm, I was able to finish the quilting and binding of this baby [quilt].

Charlie Brown quilt 2

Cannot wait to package this up and send it off :)

Charlie Brown quilt 1

what kinds of quilt patterns have you used for baby quilts?


January 16, 2011

sunday regroup 1.16

This weekend, I turned this...


Into this.


It is a gift, so that is all I can show for now.

On another note, I chose my complimentary color for my postage stamp quilt - I call it neon plum, fancy shmancy - and I finally got going on it. I am in love...


What were you up to this weekend?


January 15, 2011

teeny tiny gift

My pal Josie got me some fabulous fabrics for Christmas (you can see pictures of the fabrics here). So nice, right? So I made one of these for her out of the fabric. (I got the original idea for this from this gal)

Needle case

It is a needle case. In truth, I wanted one for myself too, but I also (1) wanted more practice sewing something little, (2) had tons of extra needles, and (3) knew that Josie was experimenting with putting tags in her handmades but she did not have a stash of needles. She is so awesome that she posted pictures of her case too (see them here). In her photos, I especially love her colorful knitting needles :) So fancy, Jo!

Needle Case 2

Of note: this was my first successful button hole. Big step, I'm in the big leagues now (HA!)

Share the love!

January 13, 2011

Change of pace

Like a lot of people, I sewed and sewed and sewed holiday gifts this year. I was so happy to take a break from my machine for this.


My husband loves (or pretends really well) anything that I make for him (that's him holding this one!). So of course, I love to make things for him (doesn't it rock so much more when you can tell someone really appreciates handmade gifts?).  I had high hopes of making a wedding memory book, but I did not have the time or the resources. Let's be honest, I spend all the money I can on fabric. Instead, I decided to take our favorite wedding photo and do something fun with it. I imported it into Gimp (open source photoshop-type program) and started playing around. I ended up with a 4-level image.

note: my great friend Jess took our wedding photos, I have her permission to use them.

After work one day, I secretly ran to the Depot of Homes for plexiglass and to the local art store for some Canson paper (I chose shades of brown). Then, it wasn't until December the 23rd that I got around to transferring the image to the paper by hand with the butt end of a crochet hook, and then cut out each level on the 24th. It was stressful, mostly because I knew if I screwed up, I would not be able to go buy replacement paper, but partially because it took me two days to locate my exacto knife (side note - this knife is like my baby, it got me through many a basswood model in college). Thankfully it turned out right the first time, and has come to rest on another picture mantel (until I find or make the perfect frame :) )


Thanks for reading :)

January 12, 2011

Apartment fever!

We had the mother of all winter storms in Georgia, only made worse by the lack of snow plows and salt trucks.

ice storm

My hubs and I ventured out for coffee yesterday morning, and got to be front and center as every car fishtailed as it approached the nearest intersection. 3-4" of snow, compacted and covered by a half inch of ice. Yikes. We are going on day 3 of being stuck here.

I am 100% tired of sitting around the house doing work because my job does not grant snow days. I finished piecing this quilt top on Monday night, and I am desperate for some coordinating thread to finish the quilting.

WIP baby girl quilt

This quilt is for a friend of ours who is pregnant with her first child, and precious baby girl. Said friend is such a sweetheart, I really hope she likes this gift, and I really cannot wait to give it to her! So, I am braving the ice at some point today to walk the great distance to the fabric store, then to my office, then home. Here's to hoping I do not end up with a broken bone. This coming from the uncoordinated gal that separated her shoulder in flag football of all activities.

hearts and flowers and all things pretty,

January 11, 2011

The Boyfriend Bag

So named for its fabric and its function :) Linking to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday today.


This bag was made especially for a cousin's daughter. She's in her first year in college. Y'all remember those times...wanting to assert independence, while at the same time just wanting to go home and eat your favorite meal with your parents? So maybe that was only true in my life, who knows...  Anyway, this gal was also having a rough first semester, missing her boyfriend, dealing with her crazy roommate. I wanted to send her some love, and when I came across this fabric in the home dec remnants, it just screamed her name. Doesn't it look like those 'boyfriend shirt' stripes? I brought it home with the intent of making a purse, but why stop there. I made this full-sized duffle bag, one that she can fill up with a weekend's worth of stuff to get away from the dorms for a while, and perhaps go to her boyfriend's school a few hours away (disclaimer - I maintain that did not aid and abed any fraternization :) ).

Shhhh...don't tell anyone, but that person on the right in the next photo? That's John Deere himself. I used his fleece print to add some umph to the bag. Notice: there are two layers of the inside fabric to cover up the print on the fleece. I am really not into Mr. Deere, but this stuff was only $3 a yard, and at one point I needed a lot of umph-adding fleece. My hubs thought it would be funny to buy a ridiculous print for secret (one time, we ended up with power rangers), but then tell everyone about it instead of keeping the secret. ha.


If you want more info on how I constructed the bag, just let me know!

Thanks for reading, hope to see you back :)

January 9, 2011

Sunday regroup

If this photo doesn't say "I got a lot done," I don't know what does. *Note, this post is dedicated to my dad, who recently told me that he does not understand all the abbreviations I have used in past posts. So, dad, no abbrevs in this one. I promise. Can you even read italics, dad?


Check out all those scraps, I am smiling just viewing them myself. I have had an extremely productive weekend - I finished 6 WHOLE PROJECTS! That is nearly unheard of in my house, mostly because things just tend to sit around long enough to find a home unfinished. Here is a preview of one of them... cannot show the entire thing because the recipient's mother might be reading this.


I wish that 'auntie' referred to me, but I am not so lucky. Pretty sure I made CT, the recipient of this blanket (and yes, that is actually her real name, not some random mask), scream bloody murder in my ear last time I was around (not for real, that is my family's description for 'deafeningly loud.') Besides, CT spit up ALL OVER that embroidery - not visible in the photo because I am pretty sure the entire square I cut out was yellowed - so if that did refer to me, boy would I be appalled :).  That auntie is my other sister, our special angel Al. This is made of baby clothes that Al bought for CT before she passed away. CT outgrew them in about five minutes flat, so hopefully this helps keep the memory around a little longer.

Stay tuned for the other projects that came about this wondrously successful weekend :)

Thanks for stopping by!

January 7, 2011

Fabric, Fabric, and Fabric

I spend hours picking out fabrics (like a lot of other people), which is why I was surprised when I made it out of the store yesterday in less than a half hour with these guys...

monochromatic challenge

Have you heard about the most recent Project Modern Challenge over at the Modern Quilt Guild? Well, when I heard it was a monochromatic challenge, and I was already formulating a monochrome quilt for myself, I decided I would try to enter it. These lovely shades of yellow are the beginning.

I also happen to be the lucky winner of a giveaway over at Sewing in the Wendy City. She went out fabric shopping on her birthday, and picked up some things for her readers too! How nice. Here are the goods I got...

Wendy City winner!

Finally, I decided against buying anymore fabric for the postage stamp quilt along. The look I got from my hubs when I told him I wanted to do another quilt (and hence buy more fabric) was one of "Are you for reals?" My mom-in-law bought me so many fat quarters, including some AMH Innocent Crush, and I am going to use these for the quilt. Yeah, I know, they are FQs, not jelly rolls, but I love them just the same.

Postage stamp fabrics

I can't decide what solid to use with the Innocent Crush...any thoughts?

Thanks for stopping by!

January 6, 2011

Modern Meadow Wallet v1.0

I made this pretty little thing based on Noodlehead's gathered clutch tutorial (you know, only the most popular thing with a zipper).

Gathered wallet #1

It is a wallet, in case you haven't guessed, made out of Joel Dewberry's Modern Meadow (also been around the block a few times). It is held together by a sewn-in elastic piece (a headband gave its life for that). Let me tell you, this was my first up-close-and-personal interaction with my machine. By that I mean really small pieces. This might explain my lack of intricacy and precision. Perhaps I should have put on the old reading glasses. Here is a little view of the inside pre-construction.

Gathered wallet #2

I'll be honest, I loved this thing for a couple days, but the headband started to unravel (yikes!) so my cards keep slipping out. No good. I hope to try again soon to make this little guy a replacement. For now, it just stays tucked away in my purse 24/7, lest I lose a credit card or five.


January 4, 2011

Knot Quilt

Linking up to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday for the first time... talk about nervous.

Wedding Knot Quilt #1

My intent was to make my now husband a handmade gift for our wedding. I figured it would be fun if I could give him something useful and entertaining. He is finishing his PhD in Math, and what little I know about his research sometimes involves knots (or at least the study of knots entertains him, like this kind).  A quick google on "quilt" and "knot" revealed the wedding knot quilt except TLC hadn't yet owned it... Anyway, I bought the fabric plenty of months in advance. Then family tragedy struck. I finished one block before the wedding in May. I felt like a terrible wife. So when I finally had time to make anything besides memorial quilts and Christmas presents, I jumped right on this project! I was so happy to finish it in just 3 days, with just the hand quilting to finish (pardon the safety pins). He seems to like it a whole bunch, even if it isn't as mystical as his mathy-math-ness.

Wedding Knot Quilt #2

pardon the shadowy photo, tried to get something before sunset but no luck!

Winter fancies

I could ponder over what my "first post" should be for hours, but I'll be honest, I will not be coming up with any profound text anytime soon.

Instead, I am just going to start with a project - I will be participating in P.S. I Quilt's quilt along during the month of January. You should too :) who doesn't need another quilt, eh?