Sunday, January 15, 2012

Beautiful pillow top

Last week I was able to start working on the pillows to match Mom's quilt.  The first one was really quick to put together and I think it looks really good.  I am working on the second one and I can't wait to see both of them together.  Once the second top is completed I will have to decide the best way to quilt them. I think they will look really great.  Mom, you did a great job designing them!

1st pillow top

Clothespins and a recipe shirt

Audrey and Hannah have been so playful lately.  I love seeing the world through their eyes at this age.

Audrey made everyone laugh this week while she was playing with a clothespin.  She was giving everyone clothespin kisses.

blueberry buckle
This weekend Audrey and Hannah came up from the basement wearing the chef hat and the apron asking if I would let them help cook breakfast since they were wearing a recipe hat and a recipe shirt.  I couldn't resist an offer like that.  They made sure I wore my very own recipe shirt as well.  This was a great way to start the day.

Nine Years Later

We are finally moving into our home.  

I don't know if it was because our house was so big when we moved in or if I wasn't sure what kind of style we liked, but I have been intimidated by decorating our home since the moment we moved in almost 9 years ago.  We decided this week to go ahead and put up some decorations.  If we move, they will be easy to take down and they would all need to be re-packed anyway.  It is amazing how much better the house feels with just a few placed done so far.

Piano loft
Upstairs in the loft we placed two paintings of lighthouses as well as 6 lighthouse pictures from Grandma Seidel.  Every time I pass by,  it makes me smile to see them!

window wall

In the living room we added our wedding pictures...

over the couch

...and some pictures of the kids and family.  We still need to add a couple of small 4X6 frames.  Our plan is to add a Maggie picture, and start taking updated pictures of the kids and our whole family.  Yesterday we went to a thrift store and found a side table so we have even replaced the tray table.  I think we are finally turning into grown-ups!  Now, to go tackle the hallways.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Latest Finished Projects

I have been really busy sewing Christmas gifts this past month.  This has probably been my most productive season of sewing, but I wish I was faster and could have completed everything in time for Christmas.  I even have one more project to complete for Christmas.  My new goal is to complete Mom's pillows before the end of January.  I have also decided to start and projects I think I want to do for next Christmas in the summer.  We will see how that goes.

My first completion was this pin cushion for Beth's sewing kit.  The design was inspired/copied from Crazy Mom Quilts.  Her post about her pin cushions was here. This was a quick and easy project.  I wish I had quilted the top like the inspiration cushions, but I still think it is a cute pin cushion and I hope Beth really loves using it as she is learning to sew.
Beth's pin cushion

The three grocery bags felt like they would never be completed.  There are more mistakes than I would like to admit and I felt like giving up more than once.  Greg's mom should be receiving them this weekend and I really hope that she likes them.  I bought enough fabric to make 3 more and I am not sure when I will have the fortitude to face this project again.  I love the look of the bags, but I am really wishing I had not used the outdoor fabric.  I think the instructions were wonderful and the design is really great.  I just felt like the fabric was working against me every step of the way.  I may try these again in canvas only since the parts that were only the brown canvas were so much easier compared to the rest.  The tutorial I used can be found here at Sew4Home.  The bags are really big and look super cute with Maggie inside!  Perhaps, the last 3 will go together more smoothly since I learned so many lessons on how to work with the outdoor fabric during the making of these 3 bags.  
Grocery bag
 My final finish was this reversible purse for Deidre.  This bag came together really quickly and was much easier than I thought it would be.  It was easy enough that I am pretty sure I will probably be making this bag again.  The tutorial I used was posted on Sew Mama Sew.  The pattern is from a book called the Bag Making Bible and I was impressed with this pattern enough that I think I would like to purchase the book to see what the other projects included are.  It also looks like the book will help me to learn how to make my own bag patterns.  The only change I made to the original pattern is that I covered two buttons and sewed them together onto both sides of the bag instead of having one button on a safety pin that can be moved to either side.
Exterior of purse

The striped side of the bag is the one I made on the outside and up close it looks better, but I think the inside looks good enough that Deidre would be able to use it as well as long as no one looks closesly at the stitches.  I need to work on my thread and bobbin tension on this bag next time I attempt it so that the inside looks good as well.  I also think I would want to figure out how to make pockets for this bag as well.
Interior of purse

Now I need to work on the pillow cases for Mom.  Since that involves piecing, I am really looking forward to a project that I am more comfortable with.  Thank you for being so patient with me, Mom!  I hope to finish those quickly for you.

Fat Quarter Bundle

Quokka Quilts is hosting a contest to pick a fat quarter bundle of 12 prints and 3 coordinating solds from the Fat Quarter Shop.  I have had a color scheme in mind for a few months, so I loved being able to look through all of the fabrics and be able to find fabrics to fit my color scheme to see how it might actually look.  I was thinking of periwinkle, red orange, brown, and wheat.  After looking through the fabrics, I ended up with more of a true orange, than a red orange, but I am pretty pleased with the final look.  I don't expect to win, but I really enjoyed the process and I think I will continue to search for fabric making a mosaic in this way when I am trying to decide on final color combinations.

Here is my bundle pick.

1. The Chochero Mills Collection III Brown Small Wandering Vines Yardage SKU# 4019-113
2. Curio Pumpkin Camellia Yardage SKU# 30274-16
3. Flora Tangerine Garden Damask Yardage SKU# 25051-15
4. Floursack Yellow Spring Floral Yardage SKU# 33081-5
5. Heirloom Indigo Blueberry Flowers Yardage SKU# STELLA-27-INDIGO
6. Impressions Blue Taj Yardage SKU#PWTY019-BLUEX
7. Kona Cotton Brown Yardage SKU# K001-1045
8. Kona Cotton Candy Blue Yardage SKU# K001-1060
9. Kona Cotton Cream Yardage SKU# K001-1090
10. Mimosa Light Orange Basketweave Yardage SKU# STELLA-2-LIGHTORANGE
11. Pressed Flowers Yellow Tonal Flowers Yardage SKU# 9055-1
12. Primativa Tangerine Diamond Delight Yardage SKU# 5532-C
13. Stitch Organic Brown Tonal Patchwork Yardage SKU# 11901-16
14. Sweet Pickins Evening Stencil Dots Yardage SKU# 10735-80
15. Terrain Stream Lichen Yardage SKU# 27098-17

The link for the contest rules are here.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tumbling Blocks Pillow

I have decided to take a break from Maggie's quilt so I can focus on finishing up Christmas presents before it is too late to send them out.

Greg bought me The Essential Sampler Quilt Book for my birthday.  I am hoping to learn new skills by working on the different blocks in this book.  The first block in the book is Tumbling Blocks which is made using English paper piecing and applique.  All of the examples in the book of this block were made with each of the cubes looking the same with one light fabric, one medium fabric, and one dark fabric used in each of the 6 tumbling blocks.  The tumbling blocks look like children's stacking blocks to me, so I thought I would like to have them be more colorful.  Between the scraps I have and some scraps that Beccy gave to me, I was able to pull 6 colors with a light, medium, and dark fabric in each one.  It was great to find that the template fit inside 2 1/2 inch strip scraps since so many of my scraps are that width!  

Once I became familiar with the piecing, I found that I really enjoyed sewing the blocks together.  It is nice to have a project that is small enough to sew it while the family is spending time together instead of being isolated in my sewing room.  The applique was also not as difficult as I had expected it to be, but I am not sure I am doing it correctly.  I would love to have someone who knows how to applique by hand show me what I really ought to have done.  However, I feel like the finished look is what I had hoped for.

I decided to hand quilt inside of each block using coordinating thread.  My stitches are not as even and straight as I would like, but I did get better as I went along.  Before I try to hand quilt again, I want to learn how to bury my ending knots since I was not able to figure that out on this project.  I also will need a different hand quilting frame.  Some straight line echo quilting by machine finished off the background.  I gave the pillow an envelope closure on the back.
Finished Tumbling Blocks pillow
This pillow is for Anna, and I hope it is something she loves now and as she grows.  It is fun, but I don't think that will be too babyish as she grows.  I asked Hannah and Audrey if they thought Anna would like it.  Hannah said that she would.  Audrey said that Anna wouldn't like it so maybe I could just give it to her instead!  

Last year I saw a vintage quilt in a magazine made up of these diamonds made into blue stars on a white background. I thought that the quilt was stunning, but that I could never attempt something so complicated.  After paper piecing this pillow I think I would like to try to make that quilt even though it would be a long term project.  However, I want to see if I could just cut out the diamonds from hexagonal graph paper rather than tracing a template.  I look forward to having a long term hand sewing project for nights when I want to sew, but not be separated from the family.

Now, I need to get more progress done on some shopping bags!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Birthday Weekend

I started my birthday weekend by going to the Quilt-A-Fair at the Boulder Fairgrounds with Rachel, Ben, Katie, and Maggie.  Greg watched the older 3 kids.  It was so neat to see so many different styles of quilts.  Last year was my first year going to the fair and I love that it combines two things I love: quilting and trade shows!  It is an extra bonus that it is always on my birthday weekend and it gives me a great excuse to go without the kids (at least the older ones and Rachel and I are planning on going next year without any kids at all!).  There were a few booths that had some really great prices on fat quarters.  I decided it would be a good time to start looking for fabric for my Farmer's Wife Sampler quilt.  When I got the book this summer I decided I wanted to do it in colors inspired by Maggie's car seat cover.  Finding fabrics was easier since I had Maggie's car seat with me.  I am getting excited about seeing this one come together.  I think it will be a really cheerful quilt.  I love the citrus colors!

fabric to make a Farmer's Wife Sampler

a fat quarter that Katie loved
Katie enjoyed helping me find fabrics that would work in the quilt.  She found the red and white fat quarter here that didn't quite match, but she was so helpful and really loved this one so I bought it anyway.  Evidently, I will do anything for a niece who tells me she wants to learn to quilt!

Butterscotch and Rose charm pack from Beccy
Saturday evening, I opened up a package from Beccy that included a Butterscotch and Rose charm pack!  I have really liked the fabric online, but I wasn't sure what the colors would look like in person.  It turns out to be exactly what I was picturing.  Greg also liked the colors.  Last night I figured out that the reason we like this fabric collection so much is because it combines all of the colors Greg and I have used to decorate our home.  I think we have had all of these colors in our bedroom at one point or another and this should make a quilt that Greg and I will like for many years to come!

Greg also took me out to dinner, I got the chance to go shopping downtown with Kimberly, and Maggie decided to roll over for the first time on my birthday!  This was one of the best birthdays I have had in years.  I feel really blessed.