Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Happy Place

Now that it's looking a little more lived in, I thought I'd show a few pictures of my sewing room today. It has been absolutely divine to have space for storage and a place for the kids to play while I work on my projects. Almost all of the furniture you see here is from IKEA. The shelves are wonderful for books and bins, and the tall closet is perfect for storing larger pieces of fabric. I seem to have an addiction when it comes to buying organizational containers. My favorite aqua and red tins were all found in the dollar section at Target, and I use them to hold scraps which are all sorted by color.

I have yet to sort my fabric closet into any sort of order. One of these days I'd love to get some cardboard pieces and fold the fabric correctly so that it looks a bit more dignified.

 I've always had a love for retro posters, movies, and music. This room seemed like a great place to display my World War II posters. I especially love the one on the left featuring the different branches of women in the service. Adding a few mini quilts to the room has definitely given it more personality also. I do all my cutting and sewing at the table, just rotating the machine and the mat to the front as needed, and the ironing board is nearby for pressing emergencies.

A wooden tv tray is the perfect place for a little drawer unit (also from IKEA) where I store notions, tools, and thread. The glass jars hold selvage scraps.  

On top of the shelving unit I have two fabric covered bulletin boards where I can post inspirational pictures and ideas. There were some amazing project mosaics put out by some of my favorite blogs at the end of 2011, and a few of them are up on my boards to remind me of things that I'd like to try in the next year. The white wire bins (also from Target's dollar section) are for charm pack squares, white sashing strips, and fabric that needs to be washed before it's used. The vintage radio replica cd player was an anniversary gift from my husband a few years ago. I don't know how, but all my big band music sounds at least 50% better when played on this machine.

Behind my sewing area is an area for Bunny, Bear, and Mouse to play. They can look at books, play with toys, color, or even nap on the crib mattress/couch. It's a relief to have a spot where they can entertain themselves in the same room with me, and it makes it possible for me to have a lot more sewing time than I used to manage in a week.

Today I'm finishing up my pinwheel runners. It will be great to have these done so that I can move on to some other projects (hello, I-Spy quilt!) that are waiting in the wings.

Hope you enjoyed the tour. I wouldn't necessarily say that this room is the happiest place on earth, but it's definitely in my top ten.

Linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Thanks so much to all of you who left such kind comments about my scrappy mini quilt over the weekend.  I've learned that I'm not the only one who uses sewing as an alternate route to sanity. I'm so thankful for this amazing community of quilters we have online. What a blessing!

Last Thursday I received a lovely package in the mail: my treasure trove from the Ellison Lane Quilts I-Spy Charm Swap. I spent a few minutes late last night playing around with ideas for the quilt I want to make for my daughters. I'm really looking forward to putting this one together.

I'm also still churning out a few more Hello Luscious pinwheel table toppers for the upcoming ladies' tea at our house. Still loving this fabric too.

Most of my weekend was spent working on my mini quilt for the Modern Mini Challenge. All I have left to do is hand stitch the binding to the back, and it will finally be finished. I can't wait to show it to you, but I know I have to wait until next Monday. In any case, it feels good to be starting a week with something to show for the weekend.

Linking up to Sew Modern Monday, Manic Monday & Fabric Tuesday!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Scrap Happy

Last Wednesday night I was worn out from a day of wrestling with dishes, laundry, and crabby kids when I found myself in the sewing room. I couldn't settle myself down to any of the projects I already had going, so I just suddenly started grabbing scraps and sewing them together. It was fun and calming and surprisingly therapeutic. I ended up with this little mini quilt which will be going on the wall right above my sewing table.

I've always found it hard to resist any sort of color spectrum quilt, and I love having the writing and bicycle scraps in there too. The back is a black and white print that I liked as a contrast to the colorful front.

My advice to stressed out people everywhere: get yourself a sewing machine. It sure has worked for me.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday, Whoop Whoop Friday, and Sew & Tell Friday.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My First Bag

I'm pretty excited today because I finished my first bag this afternoon. It's nothing fancy, but I'm awfully happy about it. I used this tutorial on Sew, Mama, Sew for a summer reading bag by Mo Bedell. I left off the library friendly details that the original calls for and kept it very simple. Along with the Heather Ross fabric, I used a green lattice print that I found in the remnant bin at Joann's and a strip of grey fabric featuring the darling turtles from Little Apples by Aneela Hoey for the underside of the strap.

My daughter was so excited to try the bag on, and she's been walking around with her friends strapped to her side ever since I finished it. She's happy, Rapunzel looks happy, and I'm absolutely thrilled.

Linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday!

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Bag Emergency

The birthday weekend has come and gone, and big fun was had by all. Hard to believe that my Bunny is now officially five years old. Between a trip to Disneyland and the party yesterday, there was precious little time leftover for sewing, however I did start work on a project last night. Bunny is in love with Rapunzel at the moment, so my husband and I gave her a soft Rapunzel doll along with the little chameleon Pascal for her birthday. She was trying to fix up some way to carry them next to her using shoelaces (my daughter is quite the inventor), but I assured her that I could probably sew a bag that would do the job just as well. And what kind of fabric does one use to make a bag for Rapunzel? Why, Heather Ross, of course!

I've been saving these pieces for something special, and it's great (if a little frightening) to cut into them at last. If I can scrape out a little time in the next day or two, I'm hoping to have it finished so that she can carry her friends around in style.

Linking up to Sew Modern Monday and Manic Monday!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Home Sweet Home

California seems to have lost its reputation as the Golden State in recent years, many people viewing it as a home for national disasters and an entire spectrum of nuttiness. While I've spent time in other states and countries and even toyed with the thought of moving to another part of the U.S., Southern California is still home. What I love about the new line of California Girl fabric by Fig Tree Quilts for Moda is that it reminds me of the often forgotten side of the state: fruit groves and flowers, tile floors and old houses. I made this mini quilt as a reminder for myself that home -- with all of its issues -- is still home. And I'm grateful to be here.

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday, Sew & Tell Friday, and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Finish and a Start

When my grandmother was a little girl, she had a quilt featuring the iconic Sunbonnet Sue character. This week she called me up and asked if I could make her a decorative potholder with Sue in the center to remind her of that quilt. Her requirements were that it be 7 inches square with a cream background, blue fabrics, and a navy blue border. I added in a few shades of red and brown to break it up a little.

The result looks fairly vintage, but that's definitely the look she was going for. It will fit in well with all the antiques in her little kitchen.

Yesterday morning I had an idea come to me for a mini quilt. I grabbed the new pack of California Girl charm squares that came in the mail last week and got to work at the kitchen table while my kids played in the family room. The picture above doesn't do these lovely fabrics justice, but when I tried to take a photo outside, my project nearly blew away in the wind. I still have some hand sewing to do on the quilt top before I start quilting it, but I'm happy with how it's turning out. I've been needing something pretty to hang next to my desk, and this will be perfect. Hopefully I'll have pictures ready to post tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pillow Party

It's been a busy week, though not entirely busy because of sewing progress. I'm hoping to finish up the rest of the party favors for my oldest daughter's Alice in Wonderland birthday party this weekend. The little pillows are all finished; I just need to whip out a few more sets of felt characters. I'm still loving Kate Spain's Good Fortune line; it really does seem like Wonderland with an Asian flair.

Hope you're having a wonderful week. Linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday!

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Monday Finish

It's wet and windy outside, so my pictures will have to be indoors today. Just finished putting the binding on this table runner for our upcoming ladies' tea. I have to admit that I'm pretty enamored of this black and white striped print. I want to bind everything with it! Somehow it seems to make a quilt's colors pop more than anything else I use.

The pinwheels were made from Hello Luscious charm squares, and the back is a hop dot print from the Nicey Jane line. I'm working on a few more similar table toppers, but those are square shaped instead of long. In between all of this, I'm continuing to work on my mini quilt for the Modern Mini contest. I'm having a lot of fun and probably obsessing way more than I should over the details. I can't wait to post pictures of it here.

Linking up to Sew Modern Monday, Manic Monday, and Fabric Tuesday!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Turning Pinwheels

Every year my mother and I host the church women's group at our house for a spring tea. My dad is the pastor, and we love a good reason to have everyone over for a party. Was I ever thrilled when we decided that this year's theme was going to be quilting and sewing! Can you imagine a better excuse for hopping online to buy some new fabric? I've spent the last few days working on table runners featuring Hello Luscious by Basic Grey. I'm truly loving this line of prints. It looks far better than it does in my pictures (forgive the poor lighting -- it's evening here) and what you see online. Everything about it makes me think of a 1950's bungalow all dressed up in its domestic glory. It's even given me an idea for my quilt for the Ellison Lane Quilts Modern Mini Challenge (click on the button to the right if you haven't seen this yet), but that's a post for another day. Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Sweet Dreams

There were moments when I wasn't sure who would come out or this quilt. Not since my humility quilt have I been so ready to take a project and throw it in the trash can out of frustration. Thankfully we have both survived the struggle and are hopefully better people because of it (well, me anyway).

This wall hanging was made using only fat quarters or smaller pieces, hence the occasional piecing line in a place where I'd rather not have one. It's far from perfect -- you can see that the dimensions got a little wonky as I went -- but that's okay. My characters are from the imaginations of Heather Ross and Lizzy House; the princess would rather be playing with her pet unicorn but must instead sit on that lousy stack of mattresses while being serenaded by the minstrel and his dog. The smaller pieces were attached through applique, but most of this quilt was pieced together. Trying to join those mountains with the sky was a nightmare -- the never ending cycle of sewing and ripping out seams was almost my undoing -- but there they are, if a little bit more pointed than I had originally planned them to be. I bound the quilt in a black and white stripe so that it will match the girls' quilts when I make those as well. By the end of the day, this quilt will be hanging in their room where they can happily find the pea in the stack of mattresses for the 457th time.

Though it was a real challenge, I'm happy that I made this quilt. It was a stretch and I've learned more about what I can do and what I like to do. It's been a good adventure. Now on to the next one!

Linking up to Work in Progress Wednesday & Finish it Up Friday.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Trying New Things

My husband is the most amazing man. One of the many things I love about him is how he always believes that I can do greater things than I think I can. For the past few weeks he's been encouraging me to branch out a little bit from my quilt projects into something new. I had been toying with the idea of making a picture quilt to hang on the wall in the girls' room, but I wasn't sure that my skills were up to it yet. Still my husband insisted that I give it a try, so I dove into the creative process this weekend. The quilt has a princess theme to go along with the Castle Peeps quilts I plan to make for the girls' beds this spring. I sketched out some thoughts on paper and then started blocking out a rough idea of the picture with heaps of fabric on the floor.

After a little editing and adding, I had a bit of a feel for how I wanted the shapes to look. Next I started cutting out the fabric into flat pieces.

Then yesterday, I started sewing those pieces together. It's a bit of a brain teaser because you have to sit down and think about what pieces need to be attached first and so on. There's definitely an order to it.

The castle pieces were not as difficult as the landscape -- all those curved edges give me a minor heart attack. You can definitely see my lack of experience in the occasional puckers. I'm hoping to get some more work done on this tonight so that the basic quilt top is finished and I can start adding the little pieces to the front before starting in on the quilting. Stay tuned...

Friday, February 3, 2012

Over the (Half) Moon

It's become a game for my three girls to see who can be the first one to spot the moon in the sky whenever we go out in the evenings. Bunny is usually the first to see it, and Bear is especially thrilled when it's a "cheshire cat smile" moon. Mouse just points in the same general direction as her sisters and squeals happily even though she doesn't really get what all the excitement's about. So when my Half Moon Modern charm squares arrived in the mail, I knew that I wanted to make something pretty to hang on the wall of my sewing room, and that I wanted it to include some reference to the moon. It's a little abstract, I suppose, but you can see the half moon in the bottom left corner of this mini quilt. I love the patterns in this fabric line and enjoyed toying with different combinations as I put the half square triangles together. This is the first quilt I've made where I've hand stitched my own binding (Woven from the Echo collection) to the back (one of the scissor prints in white and gray). It's a lot of work -- I can't imagine doing it on a full size quilt -- but I must say that the effect is well worth it. I can't tell you how much pleasure it gave me to make this quilt. And every time I look at it, I'll be thinking of my little moon gazers.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Party Favors

How is it possible that my oldest daughter can be turning five this month? The days at home seem to stretch on forever at times, but the months and years are flying past me at a dizzying rate. I've been doing a little work on the Alice in Wonderland tea party that she requested, and the party favors are now nearly done. Each of the girls will be getting a little pillow with some small felt friends to take home with them. I had originally planned to include the Mad Hatter too, but I wasn't satisfied with the way he was turning out -- a little too much like the guy on the Lucky Charms box for me. While I have some regrets that I didn't make the dolls a little larger and out of fabric, I think they have a certain charm to them. My daughters keep begging to play with them, so I must be doing something right.

I used leftover charm squares (from the lap quilt I just made) out of Kate Spain's Good Fortune for the front of the pillow and two shades of Lizzy House's Outfoxed Chain Link print for the back. The Good Fortune patterns reminded me of scenes from the movie: the giant flowers, the tea party, the marching cards.  I figured that the girls could use this as a nice quiet time toy. They can play with the characters on the pillow in their laps, and then tuck them in the pocket on the back when they're done. I love a toy that organizes itself!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

More Friendly

 I was visiting Lily's Quilts for the first time today and noticed that she has a link for small quilt blogs to get together. What a great idea. I'm looking forward to seeing what else is out there in blogland...


Somehow I find myself gravitating constantly toward prints by Kate Spain. There's something about her fabric that is magically ethereal and yet so friendly at the same time. When I first saw pictures of her new Good Fortune line, I knew that I desperately wanted to make something with it. I originally planned to do a more complex design for the quilt with a lot more cutting, but I just couldn't bear to cut these charm squares any smaller. I wanted the prints to shine as they were. Looking at the quilt top, it reminds me of a tiled pool with ripples of water running down the middle.

The back is plain except for one square that I added at the last minute with embroidered initials and the year. 

I'm excited to put this in the mail for a friend of mine.
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