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March 23, 2011

work in progress wednesday (and another finish!)

It has been one productive week around here.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This past weekend, I finished the sliced coins quilt along (only a few weeks late! eek) just in time for a picnic on Monday night.

I got lucky enough to squeak out another finish this weekend, my monochromatic quilt. I submitted it on Sunday night, so here it is for the blog! (Thanks to Sean for being a trooper and holding it up for several minutes)

monochrome quilt

In a nutshell, I was influenced by the "hyperbolic plane," which my husband works closely with in his PhD research in math. Yep, math, hyper-awesome-nerd style. If you feel the urge to search for hyperbolic planes, pay attention to how the lines spread out and converge, and then try to wrap your brain around those lines actually being completely straight on a 2-d surface. That's a hyperbolic plane. Did I lose you yet? It's cool, I lost myself a few sentences back.

Anyway, I tried to express this concept in the shading and quilting. I emulated the 'shading' in the binding and backing as well. If you look closely, you can see how one corner is light and the opposite is dark.

quilting close-up

This one was fun. Slow, but fun. It was nice to design my own quilt for once. Here's another touch of midtown again...

monochrome quilt 2

So, all in all, I'd say two finished quilts is pretty good progress, eh?

In other news, I reeeeeally want to join the supernova quilt along. Pretty sure I commented on Lee's blog when she asked about a potential quilt along that I would LOVE it if she did one. Alas, the funds just aren't there....I'm bummed. But I am looking forward to seeing what other gals will be doing!

-sliced coins quilt
-monochromatic challenge quilt

-birthday gift quilt (plum/olive/gold)
-memorial quilts
-March bee blocks
-DC quilt
-Hideaway quilt
Next up on my plate will be some memorial quilts. I would really like to get all the tops finished so that I can pitch all the little scraps and free up some room in our apartment :)

Go check out what everyone else has been up to over at Freshly Pieced!


March 22, 2011

Picnic blanket / Sliced Coins finish!

The sliced coins quilt is finished, just in time for a birthday picnic for my husband :)

picnic 3

I am so happy to have this finished up for the rest of spring! As you can see, the grass here in Atlanta isn't really green, or soft, so a blanket is a must.

I really enjoyed making this quilt...the piecing was so straightforward after Elizabeth explained it during her quilt along. Once again, I was 'surprised' by how big it ended up being, so the quilting was a little daunting (not to mention the troubles I had). All in all, though, I am so happy with it!

picnic 1

The sun kind of highlights how little the white fabric and white thread match, but who cares. I'm guessing that will be the least of this quilt's worries during its life (considering we nearly had a run-in with the results of people not picking up after their dogs).

More burnt grass...and a little bit of Atlanta midtown :)


Here it is all folded up on the way home!
picnic 2

Design - Sliced Coins from Don't Call Me Betsy's QA
Fabric - Soul Blossoms in blue colorway, Kona Snow
Size - 60" x 72"
Quilting - all-over meander / loops

Thanks for checking out my finish!

March 20, 2011

Don't even get me started.

I can't count the number of times I started tearing up this weekend on one hand.

I was thrilled at my progress yesterday, I was rocking my monochromatic quilt, piecing the back, and then starting the quilting. And then the snags came. And the puckers. I have never used my seam ripper so much. Finally, I was able to get it in the washer to wash out the orange chalk I had used. I took it out and hung it to dry on our shower curtain rod. The horror. Stains were appearing out of nowhere, and mind you the thing is yellow. At one point I told my husband I thought there was a ghost messing with me. Every time I looked at it, there was a new stain. This morning, I take down the quilt to shake it out and finish the drying in our dryer, and I figured out what the ghost was.

stained quilt

That's right, the curtain rod it was hanging on. Black. Greasy. Dust. Everywhere. Emergency trip to CVS for stain remover, another wash on warm, and a deep breath later, the stains were gone. You can imagine, after all this hard work, how much of a wreck I was.  I literally had a conversation with the curtain rod, telling it how worthless it was.

I tried to recoup with some FMQ to finish our picnic blanket / Sliced Coins quilt. Relief it was not. The top thread kept breaking. Over and over and over. I tried every tension setting I could, I changed from cotton to poly thread, I changed bobbins twice. I changed needles twice. I put the feed dogs up, I put them back down. Nothing was working. I had taken my machine apart, removed all the covers, and tried to get the thing to repeat the breakage with my husband watching. It happened, I picked everything up, and finally realized that the thread was snagging just below the needle plate.

damaged needle plate

See that? The teeny tine little metal shard sticking out? That's the culprit for my 2+ hours of frustration. Apparently my needle had at one time gouged a cylinder out of the plate.  I grabbed my metal nail file and got rid of that thing. Another deep breath, and all was well.

Ugh, if you made it through that, thanks for letting me vent my sewing frustrations. The exciting part is, with all this work, I have a few things to share this week!

Have a great Monday :) (isn't that the ultimate oxymoron?)


Stylish Blogger Award

So I was minding my own business, soaking up some rays, generally being a bum on vacation, and suddenly my phone beeps, letting me know I have an email. Intrigued (as usual), I check it, and it is an email from Jessica over at Sew Crafty Jess letting me know that she likes my blog enough to nominate it for the Stylish Blogger Award.

Sure made my day / vacation; I was surprised, excited, and flattered all at the same time. I suppose you could say I'm still shocked that I have a few non-family-member followers. Jessica's Doll Quilt Swap quilt is stunning, I am so impressed by her meticulous technique. And then she had to go and make the most adorable pin toppers to send along with the quilt. She is definitely an endless inspiration! Go check out her blog, you won't be let down :)

Here are the details of this fun little recognition:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
2. Share seven things about yourself.
3. Award 6 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact the bloggers and tell them about the award.
Without further ado, in no particular order, here are seven random [because that's how I roll] facts about me.
1. I am on an endless cycle of trying to quit diet coke. I will go a few weeks without it, but it always sucks me back. I've learned it is easier if I do not restrict all caffeine, just diet coke.

2. My sewing machine is from Targhetto, and the thing is built like a beast. I'm going to run it into the ground, much like my car I still drive from college. I love them both, and it shows.

3. I have a zombie plant in my living room (a peace lily) that has literally come back from death at least five times.  Not sure if that means I have a green thumb, because I let the thing die and then water it.

4. My husband and I have a bouncy ball for the sole purpose of throwing it at the ceiling when our upstairs neighbors keep us up at night.

5. My budgeting has now become relative to fabric, and opportunity costs are always on my mind. I've given up such things as hair cuts, lunches out-to-eat, and diet coke (see #1) because I'd rather buy more fabric.

6. My dad hid a $1 bill with a note saying "Mary - you found it!" in a Chronicles of Narnia book when I was a kid. I didn't find it until I was 24.

7. I love nerd shows...like "How It's Made." For the one month that we had cable, I would waste entire days sitting in front of the TV watching them, and when 8pm rolled around, I would blink and wonder what the heck I've been doing all day.

Now onto some of my favorite bloggers that deserve this award. These are the people that I hit "refresh" on google reader for, just to see if they've got something new. Okay, not that obsessive, but I do look forward to their posts. I know this isn't six, but I am already late getting this out!

Katie's Korner - Katie can sew like none other, and she always seems to whip out quilts like nobody's business. She recently completed a baby boy quilt and found a way to sneak in an Auburn plug. She also has a tutorial on creating perfect mitered corners on your quilts - so helpful, you should check it out.

The Healthy PhD - Full disclosure, she is not a craft blogger, and she may or may not have been my next-door neighbor freshman year, but DANG this girl can make healthy food stylish.  She has an innate ability to combine fresh ingredients into the most deliciously pretty concoction you could imagine. And she has lots of ideas for those of us that do not get most of our protein from meat :)

BBB / History Quilter - Susan is not only one of the nicest folks around, she has a great podcast where she discusses the history of quilting. What's more stylish than the past? Vintage is the new modern.

With that said, I pretty much love all your blogs. Seriously. This blogging community has been nothing but a blessing for my creative expression. Thank you all.


March 15, 2011

a new tunic? ok.

Linking up to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday today :)

Prior to heading out for FL, I finished this little schoolhouse tunic from Sew Liberated

schoolhouse tunic 3

I am SO not a fan of posing, and my goal is usually to just look like a goof :) Success?

This pattern was so easy! It took me maybe 2 hours from first cut to final fit. Maybe.

Here's a view of the back, with just one box pleat, thanks to Sean taking a sneaky photo (can you see him in the window reflection?)

schoolhouse tunic 1

I got this fabric from fabric.com for just $1.98/yd. It's a poly-cotton shirting fabric, but it sure did un-stiffen well with a quick wash.

One last photo...another sneak-a-peak from hubs of me enjoying the sunshine.

schoolhouse tunic 2

Thanks for swinging by y'all :)


March 14, 2011

I've been checked out for a while

Sorry everyone, I've been busy being one of these for a little while:

CT the tourist

A good ol' fashioned tourist (this is my niece CT, notice the camera in her hand...).  I have been on vacation in Florida (just a hop, skip, and an 8-hour drive away from home) and been loving it - sitting, chatting, and playing some games. Not a whole lot of anything else! I promise to be back to my old sewing self soon. A special sorry to those that commented on my scheduled post that never got a reply!

Isn't it great how vacations always seem to put things back into perspective? I came back refreshed and reminded of what my true priorities are, and even more resistant to those trying to make me change them :)

Hope y'all had a great weekend!

March 11, 2011

two-minute break

Just wanted to take a quick break to share some cute :)

The coats I made a couple of weeks ago made it to their fashionista owners. And boy do they look so cute in them!

First up is my niece, Lil. I can't decide who is cuter in this photo, her, or her drool-monster 'bama-swoop brother who is also posing :)


And here's little Miss Elise. She and I went shopping to pick out her mac-n-cheese-colored coat (after her mom and I pre-shopped of course!)


We had a fun time learning that maybe hot pink wasn't the best choice of thread color, but also maybe I shouldn't have given her free reign at the thread stand :) . Just in case you were wondering, her dad's favorite color is red.  What a cutie! Am I overusing that word? sorry... but it's so true!

Finally, here is Elise with her mom, also donning the runabout jacket. Seriously, could she not be a perfect Rainbow Brite in that outfit??


Anyway, thanks for humoring me! Sometimes it's nice to see things you have made on other people rather than yourself over and over...

Anyone else live vicariously through friends and family members kids?? :)


March 9, 2011

work in progress wednesday

I'm a little late again, but dang the people linking up at Freshly Pieced sure do have a lot going on!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

This past week has been a little uneventful with respect to sewing. I got to meet my sewing buddy in person this week (whom I got through Whipstitch), and let me tell you, I could not be more inspired to keep sewing. She is incredibly talented. She deserves her very own post one day.

I spent most of my weekend working on some hemming for a friend-of-a-friend. I started free-motion quilting my sliced coins quilt after that, and I have been doing so every morning before work. A nice little creative pick-me-up for the day.

pre-work FMQ

I'm maybe a third of the way finished on the FMQ - I'm taking the tortoise path for this one :)

I also worked on cutting the last bit of clothing for the memorial quilts, dividing all the squares up for each quilt, and then finalized a design for my sister's version. Note to self: rayon and Mary do not work well together.

memorial quilts

On Saturday, I got to babysit for some friends who are newly parents ("got to" :) yes I wanted to hang out with the baby!), and I brought along some hexagons to keep me entertained for a bit. I ended up going with different fabrics for each hex, and since we are making two blocks each, I am making one 'warm' version and one 'cool' version. I think they will look cute.

March bee blocks

-Nothing! What? How did this happen?!

-sliced coins quilt
-monochrome quilt (due March 31st.)
-memorial quilts (finally underway!)
-March bee blocks
-DC quilt
-Hideaway quilt

I took a few things off this week...decided that this list should simply be things I have actively worked on in the last 3 months :)

I hope y'all are having a wonderfully creative and productive week. Til next time...


March 5, 2011

adventures in quilt backing

Anyone else have fond childhood memories of "Adventures in Babysitting?" This post title reminds me of that movie... Did you know Vincent D'onofrio (Law & Order: CI, the alien in Men in Black) played Thor? WHAT?! I had no idea.

Anyway, on to the topic at hand. After buying a whole bunch of batting on semi-sale, I decided my sliced coins quilt had been abandoned long enough. I already missed the deadline for the quilt along at Don't Call Me Betsy. Before I could quilt, though, I had to make the back.

Side story: I already purchased enough backing fabric, but then my friend's birthday snuck up on me, so I had to use some of the fabric to make her a last-minute gift dress. So then I was short about a yard...

I was determined to not buy any more fabric. I grabbed a few coordinating pieces from my stash, and this is what I came up with (the upper portion is all snowy white).

quilt back before

Ew. This is the first time I have ever ripped apart something I didn't like. Normally, I just go with it. You know, "Make it work" as Mr. Gunn would say. But this time I put my foot down. I took the bottom portion apart and reworked it by matching same-color pieces to make bigger color blocks (who cares about a little seam?)

quilt back after

Much better for me. I basted before work yesterday and continued free-motion quilting today. After a little more practice, the FMQ is going much better. I just need to buy a little more thread than I thought!

FMQ on a quilt

Looking forward to finishing this quilt up and using it for many picnics in the park this spring :)

What are y'all up to this weekend?


March 2, 2011

works in progress 3.2

It's been another week...yikes! My husband accused me of adding things to my list just to procrastinate to the extreme because I miss being in grad school. No. I don't miss school, but old habits die hard.
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

I finished three more coats.  And now I am fully prepared to do some quilting. I started making the HSTs for the memorial quilts - this one is for my sister Nicole. The purple fabric (a.k.a. the material that my feed dogs just slip over) is from an outfit that our grandma wore to her wedding.

memorial quilt - Nicole

I ordered a bunch of my favorite batting yesterday, so I have no excuse to not get rolling on these quilts.

I also got all of the blocks from my First TimerBee group. I mentioned a while back that I had given the group a few photos of DC metro stations as inspiration, and look what these rock stars came up with!

quilt bee blocks!

Now all I need to do is fill in the spaces, add some sashing, and enjoy this work of art! I also need to get rolling on the March blocks. We are doing Grandmother's Flower Garden...my first hexagon experience.

firsttime bee March

-three more runabout jackets
-home management book

-DC quilt
-March bee blocks

-sliced coins quilt (purchased batting...soooooon!)
-crochet scarf for just me (back burner. probably will fall off the list until the fall)
-monochrome quilt (due March 31st.)
-first quilt
-memorial quilts (finally underway!)
-Hideaway quilt

Thanks for coming through! Head over to Freshly Pieced to check out what everyone else has been working on!

March 1, 2011

home management book

Linking up to Quiltstory's Fabric Tuesday today...head on over there to be inspired by everyone's projects :)

Sean and I have been trying to get a good groove going in our first year of marriage. Part of that process is simplifying our life together, and, to go along with that, we designed our home management book.

notebook front

Made from the last remaining AMH Innocent Crush fat quarter with a piece of the leftover Timtex from the blossom bag. We modeled the pages after one that we saw in Tsh Oxenreider's book, Organized Simplicity

notebook 2

I sewed the paper directly to the binding using the longest stitch length my machine offers, and it worked perfectly. These stitches show on the outside of the notebook, but I like the added detail. I included a couple of pockets to the inside covers just in case.

notebook pocket

Thanks for stopping by!