Monday, January 31, 2011

January Comfort Pillows

Phew, it's the end of the month and I'm so very close to being caught up on all y January bee commitments. All I have left to do is Paula's blocks for the Sewn Together Bee. Sorry Paula! I had planned to get to them yesterday when I got home from my work trip to San Diego, unfortunately I have had a nasty cold and my sweet and adorable hubby is feeling a little neglected with me running around the country for work so I will attempt them tonight, and that's a promise!

I did whip up my January project for
A Dozen Quilter's Bee on one of my few nights home last week. This month Patty asked each of us to make a comfort pillow for a woman fighting breast cancer. Her local quilt guild makes these regularly, but it was my first time.


A few months back I bought some of this fabulous Darla fabric. It is so not typically me but when I saw it I immediately needed to have it. It's been sitting in my stash waiting for the perfect project and this was it. Patty said we could send them unstuffed but I loosely stuffed mine when I sent it to her, but I didn't stitch up the opening because I wasn't sure if I had stuffed it enough. How loose is loose enough?


These pillows are a quick, easy way to make something to give back to someone in need. Check out Patty's super easy
tutorial if you want to make some comfort pillows of your own.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Jewel's Round Robin

Just before the holidays there were lots of calls for donation quilts for a myriad of causes affecting people all around the world, and while I desperately wanted to join in and help them all I knew I couldn't. Then I saw Julie's post on her blog Sew Jewely. She was looking for quilters to participate in a round robin to benefit the people of Haiti starting after the new year. This was right up my alley.

I've never participated in a Round Robin before so the format is new to me. Each participant creates the center of a quilt and then sends it, along with some additional fabrics to the next person on the list. You then have a month to add at least 15" inches to the quilt using the fabrics provided and some from your own stash before sending it to the next person on the list. And so on until you receive your own quilt top back. Once you have your original quilt top back it's time to quilt and bind it. All finished quilts will be donated to Quilt Hope In and sold on their Esty store. All the profits will benefit women and children in need in Haiti.


I improv'ed my quilt center using a combination of solids and orange patterned fabrics. My quilt center and fabric scraps are now on their way to Jorie and I am anxiously awaiting to see what Terrie has in store for me this month.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Make Mine Modern

Yippee!!!! I have my super secret partner for the next round of the Make Mine Modern Swap (formerly Modern Swappers) on Flickr. For this swap we send our partners at least 1.5 yards of quilt store quality fabric, a handmade item and something for our partner to decorate their sewing space. Watch out partner, I'm stalking you!


I participated in MMM last round and I lucked out. I arrived home from my weddingmoon to the most amazing package from Julie. I don't know where she found it, but she managed to track down some much desired Kitty Yoshida fabric that I have been pining away for but it always managed to elude me. And on top of that she gave me some beautiful charm squares and this gorgeous green fabric. I guess she got the memo that green is my favorite color.



But that's not all! Julie made me this super gorgeous pillow that completely complements my living room aesthetic perfectly. She later admitted to me that she was nervous about what I would think of the pillow because the color palate got mixed reviews on the MMM boards. Well, it might not be everyone's cup of tea but it certainly is mine and that's all that matters. Not only do I adore it, my sweet and adorable hubby does too. I mean, seriously, to get both of us to agree is a feat. We loved it so much that I grabbed a pillow insert that was earmarked for another project and promptly displayed her pillow on our couch. We have a huge purple wall in our living room and an orange leather chair across from the couch so the colors in this pillow work perfectly in the room. She also included some of the beautiful fabrics she used in the pillow in my package so I could make something coordinating. And can I gush about her construction and stitching? It is amazing! Her handiwork is enviable!


So you think that would be enough, right? WRONG! (Yeah, I got spoiled again!) Julie also included sone adorable notepads, cards and a super cool water bottle that hubby tried to steal. Yeah, attempt totally thwarted. Seriously. It's mine. Sorry baby!


In turn I had a partner that I tried to spoil last round and when I got her name I smiled. I got the opportunity to make a package for Sylvia, who I "know" through the Red & Aqua 2 Bee. I don't know about you, but there is a little pressure when you're making something for someone with whom you already have a relationship. I have had a chance to see her work firsthand creating with her in our bee. Sylvia mentioned her love of Urban Circus and Heather Ross. She also mentioned that she was crushing a bit on yellowy green (yummy!) right now and she love to sail so she likes boat and water themes. I also knew that she was a knitter / crocheter.


I had one idea of a yarn bag / needle holder that I wanted to make her but I was dissatisfied with the prototype I whipped up so I switched gears slightly and made her a needle roll so she could hold a variety of knitting and crochet needles together. I chose some Heather Ross FFAII in a limey green for the roll.


And since I had some fabric leftover I made her a mini quilt that she could use as a mug rug or she could hang in her sewing space or whatever her little heart desired. I also made her a little pincushion using some of the japanese goldfish linen that I found in New York a while back. I thought that fit her nautical theme well. I added some orange hand stitching to match the goldfish.


I picked out a half yard of two "yellowy green" fabrics from the desired Urban Circus line by Laurie Wisbrun. And then I saw the newspaper boats from Heather Ross' Macaroni Love Story line and I got her a half yard of the boats and a half yard of the gods eyes. Unfortunately my Spoonflower order took a LOT longer than expected and I had to send off her package without those two cuts with the promise that they would be coming soon. And wouldn't you know it, those fabrics arrived at my doorstep the day I left for Asia, so I sent them to her when I got home.

Swap Package Received
(Photo by Sylvia)

To round out the package I also included a some yellowy green yarn and metallic thread, some clothing labels for her yarn creations, bamboo knitting needles, crochet needles, and some white cotton thread because who can't use more white thread? I hope Sylvia liked everything. I always feel like I could make more or better. I put too much pressure on myself because I really want my partners in my swaps to feel spoiled and loved. And I have to tell you that thanks to these swaps and bees I look forward to the mail for the first time in years!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Red & Aqua Part 2 January Blocks


That To Do List is getting considerably smaller. I was able to finish up my January bee blocks for the Red & Aqua 2 Bee. Krissy of Red Bird Textile Studio asked us to make starflower blocks from a tutorial she found on Modify Tradition.


These blocks were so easy and fun. I was able to make her two in no time at all. I love the tutorials on Modify Tradition, I must say.


Here you go Krissy. Hope you like them!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marc's Quilt Top is Finished


I made some progress on the quilt for my sweet and adorable hubby. I was waiting on two last blocks to come in and, much to my surprise they unexpectedly showed up in my mailbox. I was not the only one who was excited. Marc has been dropping not so little hints about how I never make him anything so he was thrilled when we opened the envelope.

I moved my design wall into our dining room so I could experiment with layouts. (I will reserve gushing over my love of my "portable" design wall until a later post.) I had asked the members of the Sewn Together Bee who helped me construct these blocks to align the stripes of the circles either horizontal or perpendicular to the grain of the wood fabric. Every single block came back with the stripes going with the grain with the exception of one so I decided to make two more going against the grain to help balance out the overall design.

I also came up one block short so I came up with this...


The overall design was five across and five down but the question was how to layout the three irregular blocks. I called in Marc since ultimately this is his quilt. We knew that we wanted one of them to be the center square but we weren't sure where we wanted to place the other two. We played around with them flanking the center square to the right and left. Then we tried stacking them above and below the center square but we ended up placing them diagonally. It seemed to suit us both.


After that I laid out the rest of the blocks, moving them around based on color, pattern and stripe width until I came up with an aesthetic I liked. And I'm thinking it's working. Well, I hope so because the quilt top is officially done. The layout was the hard part. This is going to end up being the largest quilt I've quilted to date. It's kind of exciting, but since the only space I think I can lay it out to make my quilt sandwich is in our living room I need to wait to make the sandwich until I have a little time. Thanks to our dog, Jack, I need to lay it out and pin it all in one sitting.


I am still on the fence about this quilt. I'm still not sold on it. Some days I tidally dig it and others... not so much. But Marc loves it and thinks it's cool so that's all that matters.

Monday, January 24, 2011

And the Winner is...

Thank you to everyone who entered my first blogoversary giveaway. I loved reading all of your comments and resolutions for the new year. I think I need to steal some of them. The Random Number Generator has spoken...

Congratulations go out to Carly who said... "Gorgeous fabric! I am trying to read my Bible daily. That is my resolution this year." Carly, I'll be sending out those gorgeous Amy Butler FQs this week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Spreading the Liebster {Love}

If you’re looking for the Amy Butler Soul Blossoms Fat Quarter Giveaway you can find it here!

The very sweet Amy of Harriet The Homemaker Strikes Again nominated me for a Liebster Award. I must say I am flattered. Thank you so much Amy! I am so glad that you love my blog. The point of the Liebster Award is to highlight the smaller blogs (with less than 300 followers) and introduce them to the blogging world. So now that Amy has flattered me it’s my turn to spread the love.

1) Natalie from Threaded Mess… I met Natalie a while back through the blogging community and she quickly became such an inspiration to me. Her piece work is amazing as is her sense of color. I turn to her if I need input or advice on a project immediately. Not only do I love her work and her blog, but I have been fortunate enough to be the recipient of her amazing handiwork in the last round of the pincushion swap on Flickr and she’s one of my fellow Quilters in the Hope Circle in the do. Good Stitches Bee and joined us in A Dozen Quilters Bee.

2) Jewel from Sew Jewely… She has an amazing design aesthetic and she’s so creative. I am so lucky to be participating in her Round Robin benefiting Quilt Hope In Quilts for Haiti. You must check out the block she made for the center of her quilt. It’s gorgeous!

3) Darci from Stitches and Scissors I found her because I was her lucky secret partner in the SavVy Season Swap on Flickr and she created an amazing package for me including a beautiful table runner that was the crowning jewel on my Thanksgiving table this year. I also use the super cute mug rug she made me on my desk at work every day. Darci is also one of the Swap Mammas for the newly created Spicing Up the Kitchen Swap on Flickr.

So ladies, I’m passing the love on to your terrific blogs. Have fun with it and be sure to pass the award on to 3 blogs you recently discovered and link back to the person who tagged you with the award!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Anniversaries and a Giveaway!!!


Today is my one year blogoversary. And it's also coincidentally my one month anniversary with my new hubby. No. I am not one of those people. I swear, but my hubby was never one to celebrate anniversaries, Valentines Day, etc so when he emailed me while I was at work the other day asking if I wanted to join him for dinner to celebrate our one month anniversary I was shocked. How could a girl say no? But I digress...

I am amazed that I've been blogging and quilting for a year now. When I started this little blog I never thought that I would actually update it and get to a point where I would look forward to updating it on a regular basis. I have found that I really enjoy blogging and connecting through other crafters through the blogging and Flickr community.

What's even more surprising to me is that people are actually READING my blog. I am shocked that I have followers and I want to talk each and every one of you. Your comments make my day. They really, really do.

So to celebrate I'm hosting a little giveaway. How does a Fat Quarter set of the entire Passion colorway of Amy Butler's Soul Blossoms line sound? That's 11 FQs for one lucky reader, because who doesn't love fabric?

There are three ways to enter...
1) Leave a comment on this post and tell me your New Years Resolution.
2) Follow my blog and leave a comment telling me that you're a follower.
3) Tweet, Facebook or blog about this giveaway and leave a comment with a link.

Remember to leave a comment for each entry (that's up to three comments). The giveaway ends on Saturday, January 22 at 5 PM Pacific Time. International entries are always welcome. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

do. Good Stitches January Blocks

Cross #1 off the list. I finished
Natalie's cross blocks for the Hope Circle in the do. Good Stitches Bee. Usually the Hope Circle makes a quilt each month for Threading Hope but this month Natalie asked if we could make a slight detour. Unfortunately Natalie recently lost a friend of hers from work who was suffering from depression so she asked us to make two cross blocks for a quilt that she is planning to donate to an auction to raise funds for their local health association. Since his favorite color was purple and he also liked blue and green she asked us to use solids in those colors.

I used this as a perfect excuse to add some solids to my stash. I ordered Kona Solids in Amethyst, Candy Green and Hibiscus. And I also threw in some Ice Frappe that I'm intending to use for another project.

I loved the idea of making this quilt to benefit the memory of her friend. My heart goes out to Natalie and her friend's family and loved ones. The blocks each measure 12.5" x 12.5" and they were made using a great tutorial you can find on That Girl That Quilt's Blog. The tutorial is so easy to follow and they blocks were quick and fun to make. I think I might be making more of these in my future.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January To Do List

Old Woman in a small village in the middle-of-nowhere in Myanmar (Burma)

Since I was gone for three weeks and then jumped right back into production immediately I haven't had much time for sewing and that means I've amassed quite a To Do List to start off the New Year. Some of them have a timeline, like my bee commitments, and others have a little more wiggle room. I know I won't be able to finish them all by the end of the month but hopefully I'll make a dent before February comes around. (Oh, and I didn't want to leave this post picture-less so I included a photo from Laos and one from Myanmar that we took on our honeymoon. Sorry they're not sewing related.)

To Do List
1) Wonky Cross Blocks for Natalie in the do. Good Stitches Hope Circle
2) Spiderweb Blocks for Paula in the Sewn Together Bee
3) Starflower Blocks for Krissy in the Red & Aqua 2 Bee
4) A comfort pillow in the Dozen Quilters Bee
5) Round Robin Center Block
6) Danita's Quilt for Asa
8) Plan and organize do. Good Stitches for February

Monk walk in Luang Prabang, Laos

And those are just my immediate crafty commitments. I guess I better get cracking! I've also set a goal for myself to try and update my blog every week day. I have found that I really enjoy the crafty community I have met through blogs and Flickr and such and with my first year anniversary coming up I want to commit to making my blog better and keep it evolving and moving forward.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm back!


I can't believe it's been so long since I've been able to update my blog. I am officially a married lady. We got back from our weddingmoon almost two weeks ago but I immediately started back to work on a new show and things have been intense. I barely had a moment to recover from the culture shock and jet lag and I was traveling up to Sacramento to shoot the first episode of my new show.


Our Asian Adventure was amazing. We spent a few days in Bangkok getting all of our paperwork in order for the wedding before heading up to Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. Once there we relaxed, explored the city and took a Thai cooking class until our wedding day.


The wedding was really special. Our wedding planner was incredible and had everything organized perfectly from the clothing to the flowers to the food to the music. It was an all day event. She picked us up at our hotel at 5 am and we didn't get home until after 10 pm that night. The only thing missing were our friends and family.


The day after our wedding we headed to Northern Laos, where we stayed through Christmas before venturing into Myanmar (Burma) for ten nights. The experience in Myanmar changed us. It wasn't your typical honeymoon spot, for sure, but I have never met more generous, friendly, kind people. The people of Myanmar live under one of the worst governments in the entire world. There are reports of genocide and forced labor camps. These people have absolutely nothing and yet they will chase you down if you drop change on the ground to return it. We were greeted with genuine smiles and discovered a sense of inner peace that I have never experienced before. We were truly saddened when it was time to return to Bangkok and then home.

I am happy to be back, but Burma and it's people have forever changed me. I hope that your holidays were as magical as mine and I wish everyone a very Happy New Year!