Thursday, October 16, 2014

Traveling.


Hi, Friends!

My family has been traveling, and after a glorious visit with my BFF, we spent a week at a ranch where they had NO internet. I can't remember the last time I went seven days without internet. It was intense, let me tell you. But then again, our days were full hanging out with good friends and eating delicious food, and I didn't mind the no internet thing. (My kids had so much fun that they were practically unrecognizable each day when they arrived back at the RV covered from head to toe in ranch dirt.)

What that means is the blog posts I had planned didn't happen. I didn't read any quilt blogs. I hung out with my family and sat in the sunshine and learned to peg loom and one day even drove ninety minutes to get to town where I tried on cowboy boots and bought some "bling" jeans. I was able to watch a storm roll in while basking in the wide open skies. The smell of desert rain is incomparable. I miss the southwest something fierce, friends. And while I'm back to internet (and piles and piles of laundry) I will miss the awesomeness that was our trip.

I'm just popping in today, but I'll have more trip photos--including photos of my epic visit with Samantha and some really yummy fabric--later. For those who have written me super sweet kind emails checking to make sure I was still breathing, I seriously heart you. And hopefully I'll find a moment to get back to you today or tomorrow.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

FF: Ikat Quilt


Today, I have about 1200 things to do. I absolutely have to finish them before I go to sleep things. And what am I doing? Well...I finished sewing the binding on this lovely, coerced my husband into being a quilt holder since the ground was wet, and now I'm writing this post. A quilty gal has to have her priorities! When I realized I was within striking distance of finishing up this bad boy before the end of Q3, well, you better believe I was going to make it happen. I'll just be up really really late tonight.


I used a pattern from the May/June 2014 issue of Love of Quilting. I loved the color scheme and the finished quilt so much, that I knew I had to make one. (If I knew this was for a girl baby, I would totally have gone hot pink, but alas, it's a Team Green baby, so a green quilt seemed more fitting.) The quilting is a mix of straight line and FMQ, and I had to bury about a kajillion threads, but it was totally worth it.


Before I started piecing, I hadn't intended to add a border. A yard of fabric would be a perfect fit to use as backing. But when I finished the top, it needed a little something to pull it all together, so I went with a black border. It meant my perfect yard of fabric backing was now too small, so I pieced together some of the scraps and added them in.


I almost always match my bobbin thread to my top thread, and this time was no different. I love the resulting lime, kelly green, white, and black threads all over the backing. I also adore this backing fabric. It was love at first sight, and I bought it knowing it wouldn't match perfectly with the front. (Did that make me pause for even a second? Nope.) The quilt measures about 36" x 45" and uses a myriad of different fabrics from a number of different sources. The border is Kona black.

I set seven goals for the Q3 FAL being hosted at The Littlest Thistle. (You can see my original list here.) This is finish number five. Project six (my city sampler blocks) was fairly unrealistic, and project seven dissolved, so I'm ecstatic to have completed what I did. In addition to this quilt, I also finished some cloth napkins, a couple of aprons, a 241 tote, and several placemats.

I'm linking up with the other FAL finishes at The Littlest Thistle and with TGIFF, hosted by Quokka Quilts.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Boardgames and Some FMQ

As y'all might remember, September is my birthday month around these parts. It is also the birthday month of my super amazing wonderful and magnificent husband, but he doesn't really care about things like birthday week, so I kind of had to force him to enjoy it. This weekend, we watched lots of football, ate ice cream, played boardgames, ate good food, and I forced him to take a long nap.


We also learned how to play 7 Wonders, which was awesome fun. (BTW, if you enjoy playing games like 7 Wonders, you should totally tell me your favorite games. We play a lot of Dominion around these parts, but we love trying new games too.)


The weekend wasn't all play though. I've committed to a bit of FMQ on this quilt, though the majority is still straight line echo quilting, aka, bread-and-butter-Audrey-quilting. I'm still working on stitch length consistency, but I'm getting better.


And I've been burying threads as I go, as I hate burying them all at the end. I'm probably 60-70% of the way done with quilting this bad boy, and I'd really like to finish quilting it this week and get the binding attached. I'm planning to handsew the binding since it's a special quilt, and this weekend sounds like a great time to get started.

Did y'all have a good weekend? And how are those Q3 FAL projects finishing up?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Six Holiday Napkins


Some months back, fabric.com ran a sale on their clearance fabrics. Heavily discounted fabrics on further markdown? Yes, please! I browsed through all 40+ pages of clearance fabric, looking for fabric that I could turn into birthday and holiday gifts, and when I stumbled across this menorah print, I had a lightbulb moment. I could totally turn these into cloth napkins for my sister. While slightly extravagant as she'll only be able to use them for a short window of time, I think it's an occasion that could use its own napkins.


I made six total, as that's about all I could squeeze out of a yard of fabric. (Which I think cost me $3.44 or something ridiculous like that.) The original plan was to back them with a tan corduroy that I had in stash, but I didn't have enough, so I found a gray instead. I assumed they would take no time at all, but I was surprised at just how much they did take. Prewashing and pressing the fabric, cutting, sewing, turning inside out, pressing, then double topstitching. That being said, I'm pleased with the finished product, and I'm excited to give them to my sister when I see her next month. (I'm even more excited to see her and my brother-in-law and my niece and nephews!)


To make things even more exciting, I found this ribbon in my ribbon stash, so while these took a bit of labor, they were fairly inexpensive cost-wise. Now, I just need to figure out what to do with the leftover menorah fabric. Maybe a matching table runner? I'll have to take a looksie through my scraps and see what I can scrounge up.

And yes, these are totally a finish from my Q3 FAL list. Woo! How is your list coming? I'm trying for one more finish before the end of the quarter, but I'm not quite sure it's going to happen. Wish me luck!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Five Placemats


Last week, I had a moment of panic when I realized that the end of the month was nigh, and ohmigoodness do I have a ton of stuff to do or what? And some of it is practically done! So I knocked some of it out this week, including these two placemats, which finish off my Q3 FAL goal of making some placemats out of scraps for my kidlets to eat. (You can see my original list here.)


I made five total, out of scraps. I feel really good to use up these scraps, especially the owls, which have been sitting around, waiting for my love for over a year. The bindings were scraps or bits of backing, and I even used up a bunch of bobbins of random colored thread, which means some of the thread choices on these are...eclectic.


But my two-year-old and four-year-old could care less. They get excited picking a new one of the drawer, something that mama made.


I also made another kid apron for my neighbors' kidlet, who just celebrated a birthday. This time, I added a pocket, woo!


It feels good to cross stuff off my list, but to be honest, I just want to get back to quilting my ikat quilt! I'm working on it slowly but surely, sneaking in 5-10 minute increments between kidlet requests. Not sure it'll get finished before the end of Q3, but it's coming along!

Happy weekend, Friends.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cupcakes and Birthday Gifts

Birthday week is almost over, and I'll be sad to see it go. It's been a lovely week. It also had stressful moments, like yesterday afternoon, when I'm confident all three of my children conspired to drive me out of my brain. Thankfully, I had already planned to have a Thai food dinner with my write group, and they brought me awesome presents (see below) and chocolate cupcakes, and when the evening was over, my stress had dissolved.


I think this was the best chocolate cupcake I've EVER had. Since I'm kinda obsessed with cupcakes, this is a very serious statement. The chocolate mousse on top was chocolate-cinnamon, and the cupcake itself was moist and was the perfect level of chocolately, and best of all, it was birthday dessert from the lovely Sarah. Don't be too jealous. Also, don't lick your computer screen because that's kind of gross.

Photo used courtesy of W. John MacMullen
This is the awesome pillow that my friend John made for me using Tula Pink's Nightshade line. (I was recently perusing ebay and saw this fabric selling for $100/yd. Eep!) It has a metal zipper of awesome, and it has already found a home on my bed with my Marie quilt. Because he's a true pal (and a way better photographer than I am) John also took a picture of my pillow so I don't have to. (Seriously, it's much appreciated.)


My friend Kim got me a Kona color card since I've wanted one for forever, and my mama got me the Hex N More ruler. Next time I make a Northern Lights quilt, I'll be all prepared. I was seriously spoiled this birthday, and I'm feeling all kinds of loved.


I have been doing a bit of quilting. I managed to get my ikat quilt basted this week. I seriously hate basting, but I love the look of a basted quilt. So smooth and delicious.


And I'm working on my September Stash Bee block. Amanda requested an improv block in a color of the rainbow, and of course we all know what color I chose.

I realized last night that September is the last month to get my Q3 FAL goals completed, so I need to get a move on. I KNOW I can finish at least three of them. I just need to sit down and actually, you know, finish them. Someone tell me I'm not alone in this!

Hope y'all have a lovely Friday, and an even better weekend!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Around the World Blog Hop

Last week, I had two lovely ladies honor me by tagging me in the Around the World Blog Hop. Thank you Alison and Michelle for thinking of me! :)

Now, you might be asking yourself, what is the Around the World Blog Hop? (You probably aren't since this is undoubtedly the fiftieth post you've seen on the subject, but perhaps a few of you don't know.) I answer a set of four questions, nominate a couple of lovely peeps, and then, next Monday, they'll have the honor of answering the same questions and nominating some more lovely peeps. Awesome, right? 

What am I working on? 

Oh, boy. My list is a little out of hand, mostly because I've started thinking about holiday gifts for family and friends, and that always makes the list about a gazillion miles long.


This baby-sized ikat quilt is intended for my friend's bun-in-the-oven. I pieced together a backing with scraps and an awesome animal print, but apparently I deleted the photo after I posted it to instagram. (Gonna have to be careful about not doing that in the future.) I need to get this bad boy quilted and bound, but I have a Turkey Day deadline, so I've got some time.

I've also got a Tula Pink City Sampler quilt in the making (I've made 75 blocks) and a Gypsy Wife quilt too. Everything else on my list is smaller: placemats, which my four-year-old son is helping me piece and quilt, kidlet aprons for birthday gifts, cloth napkins for my sister, and if I can, I have big plans to sneak in another dress for me, this time made with linen. Woo.

How does my work differ from others of its genre? 


Because my quilts are made by a hot pink girl? 

Friends, I dunno. I make what I want to make. I tend to go overboard with bold colors, and I adore large scale patterns, and that's the way I like it. (My more demure quilts are my least favorite.) I embrace a "good enough" philosophy because I quilt as a hobby and don't want to stress out about achieving perfection. That doesn't mean I neglect my seam ripper--we are good friends--but at some point, it needs to be done, right? I don't spend a lot of time comparing/contrasting my work with others, just because if I start going in that direction, I wallow in thoughts like "why am I not as awesome as XYZ person?" So I don't think about it, and that keeps me in the positive. However, it also makes answering this question near impossible.

Why do I write/create what I do?


I write because I have to.

That sounds melodramatic, but the urge to write has been with me since I learned my letters. When I was a kid, this need manifested in the form of mystery plays. (My mom took me to see a mystery murder play when I was young, and it severely colored my writing.) In high school, I wrote a really bad fantasy novel about a martial arts-loving princess with lavender hair. In college, I studied creative writing and wrote a bunch of bad short stories with thinly veiled symbolism and emo-sounding titles. At the end of my four years, I had published a short story and a poem that weren't bad. And when I started my first big girl job and supervised the gifts and stationary department for three bookstores, I would spend my weekends hunched over my keyboard because writing was the only way I could unwind. I started writing a five book YA series, which I'm still working on.

So when I started quilting, it was inevitable that I would document my experience in the written form. I'm glad to have a record of what I've accomplished since I've started sewing, and it has enabled so many fun relationships. I'm thrilled to have met so many lovelies since I started.

How does my writing/creating process work?


I don't have a particular way of doing things. Sometimes I write in huge chunks where I feel like I'm vomiting words on the page. Sometimes I write in an orderly, scheduled manner. The same thing with creating. Sometimes it's planned and happens in perfectly sectioned off blocks of time. Other times, I absolutely have to work on something and finish it, so I keep working frantically until I get it done. Case in point, I just finished a 241 tote for me--woo!--and I was trying so desperately to get it done before the baby woke up. Of course, he woke up demanding food when I had only the last bit of topstitching left. If he had waited another TWO minutes, I would've been done, but that's a different story, right? And it all got done anyway.

---

I get the pleasure of tagging two additional people, woo! I'm tagging Aoife of thREDhead. Besides being super lovely and awesome, Aoife is Irish, but she currently lives in Texas. I can always expect to see a variety of awesome projects from her: sometimes apparel, sometimes EPP, sometimes fun pillows, sometimes yummy rainbow quilt tops.

AND

Anna from The Crooked Banana. Anna is fabulous, and not just because she started the Fierce Quilters Bee. She also hails from the southwest, and since I'm a desert girl, I feel that's a pretty awesome deal. Anna rocks yarn, fabric, pretty much all the things.

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