Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last Minute Mary

My mom used to always call either me or my sister Last Minute Mary. We generally work best under pressure, and getting ready for Christmas is no exception.  I'm working on a quick beret for someone on my gift list.  This is called Brambles, from Deep Fall 2010. Loving the pattern so far!   (also enjoying blogging from my phone!)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Little Project, Big Goal

My sweet niece has asked for Barbie clothes for Christmas, so I'm making time for some knitting.  I found the cutest little suitcase to put them in and I'm hoping to get it filled with lots of cute outfits from Knits for Barbie by Nicky Epstein.

Skinny little yarn, skinny little needles, skinny little swatch looking thing that will soon become a dress!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Stockings for Kids Charity Event

Stockings for Kids

Have you been to Purple Panda Quilts blog? She's one of the quilters in my circle for do. Good Stitches and she does beautiful work! You can tell she also has a really good heart, because she works with foster kids.  This fall, she's organizing a Stockings for Kids drive - all the info is on that link there.  She's hoping to get 50 stockings, and I'm hoping she gets even more!  There will even be prizes, donated by some great fabric shops.
She's got a tutorial on her blog for a cute stocking that will hold alot of goodies, and I'm going to try one soon.  Her instructions look easy to follow, which is great for some of us 'advanced beginners.'  You'll want to follow her blog too, because there will be a free stocking tutorial every Tuesday from now until the end of the drive.  Stockings are due by December 1st.

Hop on over to her blog to learn more, and get then sewing!  There is a flickr group too, so you can see everyone's work.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

September do Good Stitches Blocks

Do you ever think the end of the month sneaks up on you?  That happened to me in September with my do. Good Stitches blocks.  The lovely Bijou Lovely was our hostess this month, and this was her inspiration for our color scheme.


Great color combo!  Orange, a plum purple, grey and white.  She requested square in a square blocks with random sizing and a white border.  I finally finished on Monday, an embarassing 3 days into October. 

These were fun to pull together.  Kind of unplanned but with a goal in mind.  I started in the center and built my way to the outside with what was available in my stash.  Looking at the other photos in our Flickr group, I think this will be a great quilt!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pumpkin Patch

I've finished my pumpkin patch of blocks for the second HGTV swap that I joined this summer.  Our assignment was to create 9 blocks with a decent sized pumpkin and a fun background.  I started off trying to use a log cabin background using what I had at hand, but I decided it was too busy.  They pumpkins just didn't stand out as much as I would have liked.  So I switched to a simple cream on cream background and a plump appliqued pumpkin.  I used blanket stitch around the edge of the pumpkins, but I did needle turn on the colored stripes that are supposed to give a little depth and interest.

The autumn leaves fabric is full of rich color and I wish I'd stashed more of it.  After the attempted log cabin blocks, I didn't have enough to sash all nine blocks, so I found another lovely fall colored print.  Oranges and rusts and golden yellows.  Here's my pumpkin patch full of pumpkin blocks!

The fabrics used for the pumpkins are from Connecting Threads.  Its the first time I had ordered from them, and I've been pleased with the quality. Their thread is quite nice too and oh the colors!  do Good Stitches blocks are up next!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Red and White Swap Blocks

I wanted to show you my bounty of Red & White swap blocks!  Aren't they marvelous?  Every one did such a lovely job and I am so tickled.

I haven't decided if I should stick with the 9 blocks and make a wall hanging, or if I should make a few more and create something larger.  Four more blocks would make a bigger quilt, and could be placed in the four corners.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Not all Those Who Wander are Lost - Some are Just Learning to Quilt

This is my second attempt at free motion quilting.  The first time I dropped the feed dogs and changed the foot, and it was quite the work of art.  (Insert sarcastic sneer here.)  Kind of looked like a baby using a crayon for the first time.  Scary!  This time, I did nothing different with the machine - I just fed the quilt sandwich under the needle and went to town.

It was easier than I expected, although this is by no means perfect.  Its a wide meandering, so its not technically stippling.  Wiiiiiiiide meandering, dare I say wandering!  My stitches are not even lengths, and some of the curves are a little pointy, but I think its ok for a beginner.   You can see the quilting itself better if you click on the photo to enlarge it.  I still can't manage to achieve the same quality of photos in blogland as I can in the photo editing software. 

You can see the quilting better on the backside of course.  Its a small quilt, about 18 x 25, made with a set of disappearing 9 patch blocks.  I had intended to get more of the fabric & make it larger, but they were out of stock.  Its a cute size that could be used as a doll quilt, or perhaps as a doggie quilt?  There are a couple of places in the house that Katie will go to during thunderstorms, but those spots are just hardwood floor.  I thought maybe having a little rug to lay on would make her more comfortable.  We'll see later this week for sure, because there are storms in the forecast.

The front is fun!  I messed up one of the big 9 patches, but I did not catch my mistake until it was too late, so this is a little scrappier than a thoughtfully planned disappearing nine patch! 

Any advice for a beginner?

Sunday, September 4, 2011


My order from Burgundy Buttons came quick this week.  She's awesome with the quick shipping!  Here's the whole fun package.

I got six yards of Sandy Gervais' Grand Finale to add to a charm pack I purchased locally.  I don't have anything specific in mind, but I really like this line.  My vague plan is to make a fall lap quilt for the shop.  I'm also in a Pumpkin block swap on the HGTV board, so if these fabrics coordinate with the blocks I get back that'll be a bonus!  Aren't these pretty?  I love the teal - it really pops with the traditional fall colors.

Then I got an assortment of fabrics too great to pass up!  There is a Terrain by Kate Spain charm pack, the black is the dog bone print from Max & Whiskers which I'm sure I'll use on a quilt for Katie at some point.  The green is from Strawberry Fields.  Then on the right are two prints from Ballerina Fairies, which I think I'll put into a doll quilt for my sweet niece.  She has two much loved Cabbage Patch dolls, an American Girl doll and countless Barbies and other babies so I can't go wrong with that idea!

This isn't an official Stash Report, because I haven't been keeping track since January.  Its on my radar for next year though - I think keeping track of using and acquiring will be a good incentive to use what's on hand!

And if you're looking to add to your own stash of upholstery fabrics, I added several items to my Etsy shop.  You can click here to go directly to the Fabric Destash category!

Friday, September 2, 2011

First Blocks for do. Good Stitches

I finished these on Monday.  Our quilter called for 8.5 inch blocks in a fadeout like this, and she will put them together in a herringbone pattern.  No restrictions on color, so I went with what I had on hand.  Who knew I even had 4 colors of purple?  ;)

The photo was taken with my new smartphone.  I'm loving it.  It uses Droid and I have had alot of fun finding apps to use.  My current favorite is actually the wall paper - its a 'live' wallpaper with a koi pond.  Little fishes swimming around on my cell phone.  So cute.  Do you have any favorite apps?  I never even thought to look for quilting or knitting apps!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

I Heart Spray Paint: A DIY Project

Really, its just amazing what you can do with an hour and 2 cans of spray paint!

Start with an old black wicker chair.  Add a really cute dog to keep you company.

Several years ago, this chair was discarded by one of my neighbors in Virginia when she was moving.  It used to sit in my entry and it was a great place for putting on winter boots or to put books to return to the library and that sort of thing.  Imagine the entry with custom painted stripes in a rich camel color and this chair really popped.   Now that I'm in Florida I want bright, cheerful colors - aqua, coral, hot pink, lime green - tropical colors to match my new environment.  Enter 2 cans of Rustoleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover 2X spray paint in a gorgeous aqua.

I also bought one of those gun shaped trigger attachments to ease the finger cramps, but these cans have a larger 'comfort fit' nozzle and the attachment didn't fit over the can.  It is definitely a nicer nozzle than the traditional spray paint nozzle (at least the cheapo kinds) but after using 2 cans I did have that spray paint finger cramp going on.  A small price to pay for a gorgeous new chair!

After one coat, I realized that I was not the only one in the garden with a DIY project.  Someone decided to give the back of this flower bed a makeover.

"Mulch, pea gravel and dead leaves are so last year, you need freshly raked dirt!"

She's lucky she's cute!  But, I digress.  After letting the first coat dry a bit, I tipped up the chair on its back legs to get up underneath with a light coat, and then back over everything with a second coat.  I went backwards from how I sprayed it the first time, figuring that as the first can started to run out I used a lighter touch.  I just love the braided trim, and I gave that a triple coat along with the toplines of the chair.  I presume the arms will get the most wear so I thought some extra attention there wouldn't hurt.

My advice for future projects is to keep a small amount of the paint for use on the feet.  I have used up both cans completely, but I see some thinly painted spots on the very base of the back legs that needs better coverage.  I can probably mix up a suitable color in craft paint to cover those, and I'll keep that in mind for next time.

This is much better isn't it? 

Saturday, August 27, 2011


Have you been sucked into the inspirational vortex yet that is Pinterest?  Its this wonderful website / program where you can create mood boards of photos or webpages that you find around the net.  You can follow other people's boards either by individual board, or their whole collection.  Its just marvelous.

It's like a visual bookmarking system and I'm having a ton of fun.  They have a handy toolbar tool so no matter where you are on the web, you can pin something.  I think this is going to be great for all kinds of things - quilts that are inspiring, color combinations I want to use, tutorials and recipes I want to return to, even holiday decorating ideas.  I know I saw a bundle of cool Halloween decorations last year that I wanted to try, but its so time consuming to open each link in my favorites.  So much easier to just go to the Halloween board and gaze at photos!

Find me on Pinterest here. Come and check it out!

Friday, August 26, 2011

A Fabric Sale You Won't Want to Miss!

One of my favorite online fabric shops, Burgundy Buttons is having a super duper sale that you won't want to miss.  (Isn't that a great name for a fabric shop?)  She has a fabulous selection of fabrics including Moda, Free Spirit and Westminster.  Service is wonderful too!  Click on the button below and then hit that cute Giant Clearance Sale graphic once you get there. 

The prices on new arrivals are great too! I added a Terrain charm pack to my order this time and I can't wait to see it in person. A couple of weeks ago I bought a Grand Finale charm pack at my LQS to do a fall quilt so I've ordered a few yards to coordinate something. No plan yet, but once they arrive I'm sure I'll be inspired! 

Don't forget to check out her blog too!  Happy shopping!

I did a little DIY project this week, and after I snap some photos this weekend I'll show you.  Its blue.  Very blue!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Ten Minute Block Lap Quilt

Have you seen the 10-Minute Block?  There is a wonderful video by Suzanne McNeill of Design Originals on YouTube with a quick run through of the basic technique, and she also has 2 books with great ideas.  I know this has been around for a little while, but I just discovered it and boy, is it fun!  Three quick seams and you've created an almost 20 inch block!

I used a Park Avenue layer cake and once I got the hang of how to fiddle with the fabric before sewing that third seam it took less than 10 minutes per block.  When you first start out, the pinning is what consumes the bulk of your time but as you get better it will go more quickly.  (I've done all of 6 blocks and I feel like I'm an expert!)  There are different ways of dealing with the center diamond, and I chose to stitch down both sides of the curved seam, reminiscent of Cathedral Windows.  I just love how this turned out kinda scrappy but also cohesive with the rich red centers.  It was a fun way of putting together a roughly 40 x 60 lap quilt in no time flat.

She's all basted and ready to be quilted, but I can't decide what to do.  I think I might draw a continuous leaf pattern and try to do that.  I could echo quilt the red curved center sections but then what else?  And I thought choosing fabric combinations was hard!  I've stalled out at the quilting phase of this project.

I have yardage in one of the blues, but I've decided it should be bound in red so I've ordered more.  So much for my fabric diet!  I never would have chosen the cocoa or chocolate colors to go with the pale blue, ivory and red but I really love this collection!  I'm considering doing another in just the reds, ivorys & blues from Park Avenue.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Aqua and Red Dresden Pillow Cover

A while back I bought a Dresden Plate template at a craft store.  I finally pulled it out this weekend, and got to work.  I've been dreaming of projects in red and aqua, and I thought this would be a great place to start!  It was super simple - I just choose my 4 fabrics, cut the fans and sewed them together chain piecing style.  After that I played around with the stitches on my machine until I learned how to do a satin stitch.

Next thing I knew, it was all set!  I played around with how I wanted to frame it, and decided to go with a simple red border on the front of the pillow color.  Since I'm more partial to red than aqua, it just looked better to me.  Cut the panels to create the envelope flaps for the back and in under 2 hours I have a new throw pillow.  I just love it!  Next time though I will be sure to iron the seams to the dark side.  The red is faintly visible under the aqua fans and it would look more professional if they didn't show.

After I stage some better quality photos, I think it will go into the Etsy shop. I can always make another!  Isn't that apple fabric the cutest?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Red & White Love

I'm very focused on these red & white blocks.  One of the lovely ladies in the swap pointed me to a quicker way to make the square in a square shaped parts of the Love in the Mist block, and that seems to be speeding things along.  I have also discovered that chain piecing and doing this assembly line style makes it feel like I'm progressing faster, whether I am or not!  Get all the corner sections done ... check!  Get all the square in a square sections done ... check!  Get all the top rows sewn together ... check!

I am using a second red fabric and I sewed up the cutaway portions as leaders and enders.  What to do with all those cute little HST's?  Why, make a mug rug of course!  Here she is, all quilted and bound.

I really wanted to finish a project, so I snuck this in along with the blocks.  Are you getting the impression that I'm a wee bit impatient?  Me too!  I've got 7 of my 9 blocks all finished and squared off.  I've been listening to an audio book as I cut & sew - its Amazonia by James Rollins.  Very interesting, and it's almost over.  Wouldn't it be funny if I finished the book at the same time I finish the blocks?

Monday, August 8, 2011

March Birdie Block

Still plugging away on the Birdie Stitches Block of the Month from Little Miss Shabby.  Here's March.  I love the happy rainbow!

And I whipped up a dragonfly pillow to go on the bench at my shop with the roses pillow.  They don't look so hot together, but I thought the dragonfly fabric was a no-brainer.  (My shop is called Dragonfly Garden, after all!)  I think I'll come up with something else to coordinate with the dragonfly blues and purples.

A couple shoppers have admired the pillows already, so I need to determine a price for them.  It looks like there are lots of shops on Etsy that specialize in pillows and pillow covers.  Perhaps I'll join them!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A little progress here, a little progress there

I spent alot of time this weekend working on my Love in a Mist blocks for the Red & White Swap.  These bias seams are killing me.  Using Best Press is very helpful, and I'm getting better but this block requires some serious concentration and some time.  It still takes about 2 hours to get one done.  Don't get me wrong, I'm loving it!  None of these are perfect, but I do think they are swap worthy.  I'd love to do a whole quilt in these one day, maybe in 30's fabrics?  One of the ladies on the board suggested a short cut for the diamond shaped portions and I'm looking forward to trying that.

After spending so much time on these I thought I needed a break, but not a sewing break!  I grabbed a charm pack that I bought at Joanns a while ago (at a great price of course), and thought I'd try the Disappearing 9 Patch that I see all over.  Its kinda fun!  First you make several of these:

And then you cut it in half both ways and you get to play with these:

It seems that I wasn't paying attention, and I rearranged a row without noticing it until the 9 patch had been cut, so I have 2 different blocks to work with here.  There were only enough charms in this little pack to make three 9 patches so I need to get more because this is just not big enough for anything.  When I go to add more, I think I'll repeat the mistake so I have a consistent set of blocks.  Its fun to play around with these.

And this morning before work I had a fabulous lightbulb moment!  My part time lady rearranged part of the store on Monday, and a bench we sell is now facing the front door, surrounded by a display of bird baths.  I like where its sitting, but I felt the display needed a pop of color.  While I was getting ready this morning, it hit me - I could whip up a little pillow for the bench!  So 40 minutes later I had a great little prop for the shop.

And a closeup - I love the fabric.  Its from the Robert Kaufman Joie de Vivre collection, which happens to be part of their breast cancer awareness lines.  I didn't realize that when I bought it, but I'm really happy I have it. 

These pictures look so much better on my computer.  What's up with that?

Friday, July 29, 2011

do. Good Stitches

I was tickled to find out recently that I am now an official member of the do. Good Stitches group!  This is a lovely group of quilters who make quilts monthly for various charities.  I've been assigned to the Inspire circle and I'm really excited to get started.

Click here to find out more about the group on Flickr.  You can see some of their finished projects there too.  This is a great group of quilters and I'm really excited to be a part of doing good!

do. Good Stitches {a Charity Bee}

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Work in Progress Wednesday

With two days off in a row, I had lots of time to sew, sew, sew.  This past weekend I worked on my Kaleidoscope QAL blocks.  I now have 2 whole rows done.  This is not my best photography but you can see how far I've gotten.  Can you tell which side of the room is all window?  And, my design wall is not large enough!

After washing my red fabric with one of those marvelous little Color Catchers, I finished cutting all the pieces for my Love in a Mist blocks for the Red & White Swap.  It took me over 2 hours last night to get one block pieced.  Oh my goodness, the seams are driving me insane.  I played around with the needle position on my machine in an effort to make a more accurate 1/4 inch seam, and I ended up moving it back to the middle where it started.  I read a really great tip about using the diagonal line on a ruler to square up HST's, and that has helped tremendously.  When I got the top third of the block done it measures 13.5 inches though!  I was apparently sewing more of a 1/8 inch seam so I ripped & re-sewed.  What a mess.  Here's block number one of nine.

It is far from perfect.  Hopefully they will get easier, and quicker.  At this point, I think I'll probably end up making 10 or 12 and choose the nicest ones to send along to the swap leader.  I love the block design though and I'm tickled with my fabrics.  I'm also kind of glad I'm challenging myself on this instead of doing a block with fewer or easier seams.  A girl should always be learning, shouldn't she?

I also finished 4 other zipper pouches for the Etsy shop.  I need to get them listed later today.

So much fun!  I also taught myself to crochet this weekend.  I did a small washcloth in double crochet, but I forgot to take a photo.  I wasn't following any pattern, and learned how to make scalloped edges.  Well it wasn't so much that I learned how but I stumbled across how to make scalloped edges because I wasn't counting right. ;) 

What are you working on?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sewin' During the Sew In

Did you have a good Friday night?  Mine was very productive, although it feels like I don't have much to show for it.  After dinner, I headed to the sewing room intending to finish a couple red & white Love In the Mist blocks for the HGTV board swap and I cut all the white parts for my nine blocks.  Then I pressed the red fabric I planned to use, but I decided it was not a nice enough quality for these blocks.  When I first got into sewing, I visited the sale section of G Street Fabrics several times and snatched up a few lengths of cotton at a great price.  Now that I've spent more time at the craft, I have learned about the different kinds and qualities of fabrics and some of my stash is just not up to snuff.  I have other red fabrics to use, but none are washed and that's required for this swap (if not for any red fabric project!), so I moved on to the next project. 

Here's my Kaleidoscope Quiltalong work in progress, which lives in this pretty box.  This past week I bought a very cheerful yellow Moda marble to try with my collection of Pop Garden, Bijoux and Nicey Jane.  Its a brighter yellow than I thought I wanted, but it seems to coordinate nicely with the shades in most of the prints.  I cut a few strips worth and was able to finally decide on my scheme, and then get four blocks pieced.  It definitely goes faster with chain piecing, but I was desperate for some instant gratification so I roughly planned these four blocks and went to town sewing.

Its starting to look like a Kaleidoscope!  I did some math and determined that I have enough fabric for a quilt that is 5 blocks by 6 blocks, and maybe even enough for one that is 7 by 9.  The Moda marble doesn't have any stock number on it, and I bought the end of the bolt at my LQS so I'm not sure if I can get more to match.  If I end up loving it, I think I'll try to make it as large as possible to fit on my bed.  I haven't done anything larger than a lap quilt, so that is a little scary but I can manage it.

Do you use a spray when you're pressing?  I bought this along with my cheerful yellow fabric, and I'm loving it.  It seems to put a nicer finish on the fabric than just steaming or spraying water, and gets the creases out better.  The citrus version smells yummy too!  Not too strong a smell though, and the scent dissipates quickly.  Love it!

Did you join the Friday Night Sew In?  What are you working on this weekend? 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Night Sew In!

T minus just a short time till the Friday Night Sew In!  I'm pysched.  Normally I work till 8pm or later on Fridays, but our store hours have changed for the summer (its good to be the boss!) and we close at 6pm.

Click on the button to go over to Handmade by Heidi and check in with everyone!

Handmade by Heidi

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Growing Inventory

Glass Frog Beaded Stitch Markers

My little Etsy shop is growing!  I've put together a few more sets of stitch markers for knitting and crochet (like these adorable little frogs), added to the fabric de-stash items and I've started making zippered pouches for knitting notions!

Zippered Notions Pouch

I love making these little pouches, and its a great way to enjoy using my fabric stash.  I'm in the process of finishing up a few more but I was anxious to get one up and on display.  Its tons of fun choosing the fabrics for the exterior and the lining, and then matching up a zipper.  Some are classic, some are unexpected.  My pouches are about 9 x 4, so they're a great size for dpns, for pens & pencils, cosmetics, a couple toys, electronics, you name it!  I've got one with my quilt binding clips and another with the mp3 player and its charger.  These are flat pouches, but my next project will be to create a sample with a gusset in the bottom to allow more room for bulky contents.  I could add a little strap and make them wristlets too.  Oh the possibilities!  My goal is to start a 'serger fund' with the proceeds of what I sell. 

Click on the Etsy widget at the top right to see more of my shop!

Friday, July 15, 2011

February's Love Birds

Luckily there are only self-imposed deadlines when it comes to my quilting.  Here's the February Birdie Stitches block.  The little birdies are just oozing love!

These are such fun designs.  I'm really enjoying each one, no matter how far behind I am.

What are you up to?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Love In a Mist Sample

A little late for the Fourth of July, but here's my sample block for the HGTV discussion board swap.  The block is called Love in a Mist, which is a free block from the awesome site Quilters Cache.  (It also happens to be a lovely flower in the buttercup family, properly called Nigella damascena.  Its a gorgeous star blossom.)

Isn't she pretty?  The Swap Hostess had asked for star and star-like blocks and I thought this would be a fun one for me to try.  The final blocks will be only in red & white of course, but I thought my sample needn't be restricted.  One of the swap participants said she was doing sample blocks in a particular theme, and I thought that was a great idea.  I had originally thought to do my sample in 30's fabrics, but since I wanted to get started this past weekend the red, white & blue seemed appropriate.

I'm making progress getting my points tidier, but I still seem to foul up the seams.  Must drive slower over all those speedbumps!  What a messy back.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

It's our birthday, America and that's cause to celebrate!

This is one of my favorite stepping stones in my shop, and of course we're all out of them right now or I'd give you the link. ;)

I did a little more cutting for the Kaleidoscope QAL this morning, and then to switch gears I started a red, white & blue version of the block I'm going to do for the Red & White Block Swap on the HGTV discussion board.  I ran out of time before I had to head off to work, but hopefully I'll get the sample block finished up tonight.

Hope you are having a wonderful Independence weekend. Stay safe & happy!