Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Race to the Finish Line

It's been a sprint to the finish line but I was able to complete all of my bee commitments for the month of December before I leave for Southeast Asia. So before I go, I'll share with you a quick run down of everything...

In the Sewn Together Bee, Kim actually had the month of October but was greatly affected by the flooding in the Midwest and unfortunately wasn't able to get her fabrics out during her month because of it. Rick, who originally had December, generously offered to send out fabrics for her and have us send the finished blocks to Kim. She was touched but instead chose to send out her own fabrics this month. The entire bee decided that it wasn't fair for Rick to miss out on his month entirely so we are extending the Bee a month so Rick can have a turn at the end. I am constantly awed by the amazing people you meet through bees and swaps. It's nice to know that human kindness overflows.



Kim is making a Velvet Night quilt from batiks and we were all asked to make a star block for her. I had time and the block was easy so I made two.


In the do. Good Stitches {Hope} Circle it's Jeni's month and she wanted to keep it simple so she asked for two 12.5" checkerboard blocks in orange and turquoise, which happens to be a favorite color combo of mine. For my first block I was a little ambitious and wanted to create square in square blocks for my checkerboard. Unfortunately since I was running low on time, and since math isn't my strong suit I didn't plan out mathematically exactly what size each square needed to be so my first square ended up too big, but I'm sending it to her anyway. She can cut it down or use it or not. It's up to her.

For my other two blocks I made simple 9 square checkerboards. These ended up just shy of 12.5" and I had every intention of fixing them, but I ran out of time.

In the Red and Aqua 2 Bee, Gayle asked for either log cabin or courthouse step blocks with either red squares or fussy cut the
Shinzi Katoh fabric. She also told us that she wouldn't mind if we added a little embroidery to embellish our blocks. Let me tell you, after looking at her inspiration gallery and seeing the other blocks coming in I absolutely cannot wait to see this quilt come together. I am already in love. It's going to be fabulous.





I had so much fun improving these blocks. It's hard to give them back. I hope Gayle likes them as much as I do. On the big one I debated adding some embroidery but in the end I liked it just the way it was.


Finally, in A Dozen Quilters Bee, Gayly asked for handmade donations for orphans around the world. She adopted two of her children from China so Orphan care is very dear to her. She suggested that these children need something handmade to call their own. I would have made more if it weren't for time, but since time is scarce this month I made two pillowcases - one for a boy and one for a girl. I used flannel, because I LOVE flannel sheets and I thought it was something soft and cuddly for a kid to snuggle up with at night. I cut the girl's pillow incorrectly, but I think I was able to salvage it.




So that's it in a nutshell! In a few short hours I'll be on a plane headed to Bangkok and on Monday I'll be a "Mrs." - can you believe it?! So I'm going to be radio silent around here until after the New Year. I wish everyone a very Happy New Year! See you in 2011!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Project Linus Quilt


So I have tried everything in the book to fix the problem with my Janome. I changed the needle. I cleaned her out. I removed the entire bobbin casing and put it back in. I re-threaded the darn thing. No luck! I am frustrated so I am stepping away from that machine for a moment and I'm pulling out my trusty Baby Lock. Thankfully I found the power cord this morning so I should be able to use Old Faithful to hopefully get some of these bee blocks out this weekend.


Through all of this frustration I wanted to share a ray of light. I realized that I never got around to sharing the quilt I made back in October for A Dozen Quilters Bee. October was Christy's month and she asked each of us to make a quilt to donate to Project Linus. Her daughter was on a ventilator when she was born and she received a blanket to keep her warm in the NICU from Project Linus. Her daughter still has her blanket today.

Here is my contribution to this wonderful organization...


I participated in a small charm swap in the fall and we all swapped pink charms. I used the charms I got in that swap to make this quilt. I cut each charm up into two 1.5" strips and one 2" strip. Then I cut the 2" strip down to two 1.5" strips and one center square that measured 2"x2". I mixed up the center squares with the outer strips and sewed all the charms back together. Then I sashed the charms in Kona Snow and adde an outer boarder in Kona Baby Pink.


I used some adorable cherry fabric on the back and the binding is a sweet pink and white fabric I found at my nearby fabric store: Lincoln Fabrics. I decided to keep the quilting simple and stitched in the ditch around the squares so it created a square pattern on the back.


If you haven't heard of Project Linus, you really should check them out. They provide blankets to sick children all over the United States. If you have time make a blanket and donate one to your local chapter. Hopefully this little blanket is making some child warm and cozy right now.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bad Sewing Ju-Ju

Have you ever had one of those days when you sit down to the machine out of obligation rather than desire? Well, that was Sunday. I was planning to come home a little early and enjoy the house to myself after my bachelorette party. That's when I get my best sewing done. But I ended up spending more time in Las Vegas than anticipated so it was after 7 pm by the time I got home and I was tired. But I knew that I have so many sewing obligations that I need to complete before we leave for Asia that I went against my better judgment and brought out the machine. I have one word of advice if you ever find yourself in the same situation... Don't do it! My heart wasn't in it but I gave myself two solid goals to complete before I was going to allow myself to step away from my Janome and go to bed.

1) Make the stocking for my November commitment in the A Dozen Quilters Bee.

2) Sew the binding on the table cloth I was making for my mom so I could take it to bed with me and finish it by hand.

Well, you saw the stocking yesterday. Thankfully I did that project first. I was not completely happy with how it turned out but it was acceptable.

Then I went to work on the table cloth for my mom. This table cloth has been a labor of love. I started it, gosh, probably over 10 years ago. It's a cross stitch I picked up on and off over the years but I finally put the finishing touches on it just before Thanksgiving and I picked out some fabric to back it and bind it. I'm not quilting it so I just pinned the backing fabric to the main piece. And this is where I got lazy. The backing fabric was just a hair over the front piece, so rather than baste and trim as I should have I just pinned them together.


You know, when you're not in the sewing groove you tend to make small, stupid mistakes. I simply didn't think it through. What I should have done is basted the top and bottom together and then trimmed as I would have done with a quilt sandwich. But I was lazy and looking for shortcuts because I wanted to go to bed and I started machine stitching my binding onto my piece. This is where the stupidity really kicked into high gear. After the binding was secure I thought that I needed to trim the edges and got all the way around to the last mitered corner before I realized the damage I had done. Yeah, you can't trim a mitered corner. Major Blonde Moment. So I need to now rip out the entire binding and start from scratch so that project is now sitting in a corner. There is no way I will finish it before I leave for our wedding. My mom will just have to wait until next year. Sigh.

Fabric choices for December's blocks

But the bad sewing juju doesn't end there. Oh no! Last night I got home early, wonderful and amazing fiance had hockey so that means sewing time. I sat down and decided to try and bang out some bee blocks. Jeni asked us to make two checkerboard blocks in orange and turquoise for the December Hope Circle Quilt in the do. Good Stitches Bee. So I pulled out some orange and turquoise fabrics from my stash and I started cutting 2" squares. My first block will be square in square, almost like mini log cabin squares in alternating colors. When I sat down to sewing my thread kept breaking so I cleaned out my machine and checked the thread tension and then rethreaded the whole thing. It seemed to do the trick. I was chain piecing and things seem to be fixed until I got to the end of the first group and I saw this...

Wha! Sigh. So I started trouble shooting... again... to no avail. Frustrated I put everything aside and went to bed. It looks like I'm going to have to pull out my other machine to try and get things done before I leave on Tuesday, but I have a fear that I might be behind on a few bees this month. Is an international wedding a good excuse? Ugh. I hate being late!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

A Dozen Quilters November Project

I am finally caught up in A Dozen Quilters Bee. Phew. Now I can just focus on my bee commitments for December this weekend. Jenny picked our project for the month of November and asked each of us to create a stocking that is going to be donated to St. PJ's Children's Home in San Antonio, Texas. Each stocking will be given to a child at the home. We were also asked to donate a gift card that can be used to buy gifts to fill said stocking.


I don't have a lot of holiday fabric in my stash since we celebrate Chanukah in our home but I did have some fuzzy red and white fabric left over from an old project so I was inspired to make a Santa Claus themed stocking. Speaking honestly, it's not my best work. I was up against the clock trying to get it finished and sent in time so it's more plain than I would have liked but it was a quick and easy project. I was able to whip it up in a half hour.

Basically I folded the red fabric in half (right sides together) and I drew an outline of a stocking on one side freehand using chalk. Once I was happy with the shape I pinned around the inside of the lines. This fabric is really slippery and the fuzz gets everywhere so make sure you clean your machine afterwards!


I stitched from one end of the stocking around to the other, leaving the top open, then I trimmed the excess fabric off with my rotary cutter. Then I measured the top of the stocking and measured out one long piece of the white fabric to be the same size (adding an extra 1/2" for seam allowance) and I sewed the two ends closed using a 1/4" seam.

Then I turned up a "hem" on one side and finished the hem before I sewed the white trim onto the top of the stocking, finally turning the white trim out to finish it off. Super quick and easy and now it's off to brighten some child's Christmas.


If you have a moment, take the time to give back this holiday season. It only takes a moment to brighten a stranger's day! Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

We Have A Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my giveaway. I got some great feedback and I promise I'm going to start implementing some of it starting immediately. Traceyjay and Lee both commented on the photos on my blog, and I have to admit that has been something that has been bothering me as well. When I first started this blog I was uploading photos directly to blogger and quickly realized that there was a space limit that I was quickly approaching. I didn't want to pay for more space so I started posting pictures on my blog via Flickr. I was always disappointed with the size that the photos were when they came through the "Blog This" feature but I never took the time to figure out the HTML option... until your comments came in and I took the time to figure it out. Problem solved! Thank you!

Then Addie (who actually knows me in real life believe it or not! She was one of my best friends in high school.) and Becky suggested that I post more consistently. That, again, was always my intention. I gave myself a goal of one post a day, Monday through Friday. Unfortunately life has gotten seriously crazy in the past couple months with the wedding planning (and all the things included in that) and wrapping out the current job while starting up a new one with a promotion to boot. So I do agree with both of you. But unfortunately the consistency won't come until the New Year, because I'm going to take a little blogging hiatus starting next week as I run off to Southeast Asia to get married.

I also loved Natalie's suggestion about showing my creations where they live in my home. Unfortunately I don't think I've actually made anything for myself since I started this blog but when I do I promise to show them off in my home environment!

I loved hearing all your suggestions and feedback and I'm committed to making this little blog of mine better thanks to all of you. Now on to the important stuff... the winner! Congratulations to lucky number 13!

A.J. Dub. said... I enjoy your blog quite a bit as is. You share all parts of your projects not just the good parts. :)I agree with Tracey Jay that blogs are what you make them. Just as long as you enjoy the process and it accomplishes your goals, you are good. December 3, 2010 4:07 PM

A.J. I'll be contacting you shortly and you'll be receiving your City Weekend charm pack very soon! Yippee!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Vegas and Plugs and Giveaways... Oh My!

I had a great time this weekend in Las Vegas, surrounded by some amazing friends. I am so thankful to have such lovely and wonderful women in my life. I did keep it relatively contained and was a good girl and I came out $45 ahead overall for the weekend, which isn't bad considering at one point I was close to $200 down. Yikes! (And of course my eyes are closed in the picture.)


In other news I want to shamelessly plug my show that's premiering tonight. Season Three of Tabatha's Salon Takeover starts TONIGHT on Bravo! Please tune in for, what I promise, will be another great season. In our premiere episode tonight Tabatha takes over a crazy salon located in San Bruno, California (just outside San Francisco) run by four sisters who work together AND live together. Check your local listings for channel and time.

And don't forget, there is still time to enter my City Weekend Giveaway. You've got until 5 PM PST tonight to enter. Thanks for all the great feedback so far!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My 100th Post

I honestly don't know how this happened... I officially hit 100 posts today. Wow! I mean, that's crazy. When I started this blog in last winter I had no idea what it would become and I think my little blog is still trying to evolve and will continue to do so. But I appreciate each and every one of you who has joined me for the ride. Over the past 11 months I have found that I really enjoy sharing my creative process through my little blog and I look forward to posting, reading your comments and connecting with my readers.

I have also started to follow many, many, many (perhaps too many?) other crafty blogs out there. I am constantly inspired by other people's creative work and process. This is such a great community! So thank you to all my readers and any new ones that stumble over here and decide to join the party.

To celebrate my 100th blog post I have decided to host a little giveaway. I thought there would be nothing more appropriate than to give one lucky reader a charm pack of what is currently my favorite fabric line, City Weekend. If you've been following my blog you know that I adore this line. I love the color combinations, especially the use of teal and orange. And the fabrics are sooo soft, it makes you just want to cuddle up.

City Weekend Giveaway

To there are several ways to enter my celebratory giveaway.

1) Leave me a comment and tell me how you think I can improve my blog. I'd like to start evolving more and take it to the next level so I'd love some constructive criticism. What would you like to see more of? Or less of? What should I change or what should I add to make my blog better.

2) Blog or Tweet about this giveaway and leave me a link to your blog or tweet.

3) Become a follower or my blog (or let me know if you already follow me).

I've got a big weekend ahead of me. It's my Bachelorette Party Weekend in Las Vegas! So I'm going to leave this giveaway open until Monday, December 6th at 5PM PST. Good Luck! And as always, international entries are welcomed!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

October do. Good Stitches Quilt Top Done

Work has been insane... as usual... and I have not had a moment to pay any attention to my poor little blog. I had a nasty cold over the Thanksgiving Holiday and after hosting 14 people at our house on Thanksgiving I finally crashed on Saturday after my parents left and I left my wonderful and amazing fiance to entertain his family while I spent a majority of the day in bed. I did manage to get a few crafty things done as I was going a little stir crazy so I finished up my blocks for my October Stash Buster Quilt for the do. Good Stitches Bee. That way on Sunday I was able to get the quilt top assembled!

I really love how this quilt top came together. It's it wonderful? Each woman involved in our little {Hope} Circle did such an amazing job. I am constantly impressed by the mad skills everyone has in this Bee. If you have a moment you should check these amazing women...
I am trying to decide if I am going to back the quilt in white or in another solid color. But I know I am going to showcase the beautiful Stash Buster #2 block that Muriël made in the center of the backing. What do you think? Should I bring a solid color to the back? Or keep it white?

And be sure to check back tomorrow because I'll be having a Giveaway to celebrate my 100th post! And I'm also linking up this project at Sew and Tell Fridays hosted by Amylouwho. Check it out!