Friday, December 23, 2011
I just wanted to pop by and wish everyone very Happy Holidays - whatever you're celebrating this time of year. The wonderful and amazing husband and I are hitting the road tonight after I get off work and we won't be back until New Years so things will be quiet around here. *See* you all in 2012!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I have been lusting after Munki Munki since the first time I discovered Heather Ross' whimsical style, but I've never been able to get my hands on any of it. Not even a scrap. Yes, I could have spent $88 to get a pair of these pajamas but that seemed insane since I would just cut them up and turn them into fabric. But I lucked out at the recent Heather Ross Studio Sale. Unfortunately I didn't get there in time to snatch up a scrap bag of fabric BUT I did score on two deeply discounted sets of PJs and they finally arrived so now I have some Munki Munki of my own!
I have been in love with the goldfish forever. Seriously, they're my favorite. I am always swooning over them when I see them popping up in projects all over the place. And although I don't wear pajamas to bed - I'm usually just in a t-shirt and maybe some old sweats - I bought them for me to wear, just a little before I cut them up, because they make me so happy!
Then I got the sock monkeys in the largest size possible so I have plenty to spare, trade, use... whatever. I thought they were so cute and I am sure they will start popping up in gifts for my nieces and (soon-to-arrive) nephew.
I know I'm not usually the whimsical type but these just make me smile. I mean, how can you not? Right?
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
It's the first night of Chanukah so if you celebrate hope you enjoy gathering around the menorah with your family tonight and lighting the first candle.
We will be a little delayed with lighting our because it's also our first wedding anniversary. Wow! I can't believe we made it a year. Everyone says the first year is the hardest and we've had our ups and downs - thanks to my crazy job, but I am lucky to be married to a very patient and kind man who puts up with all of my insanity. I love you baby!
Monday, December 19, 2011
I just realized in all the craziness of the past few months I never got around to showing you all the beautiful pillow I received from Brittnay in the last round of the Pillow Talk Swap. She used gorgeous fabrics to create this stunning pillow for me and even included some extra fabric in the package. I'm such a lucky girl!
It got me thinking about all the amazing swaps I've participated in this year. And then I started counting... Ten. Yes. I participated in TEN swaps in 2011. Talk about crazy. Even before I reached that count I vowed to slow down in 2012 and I hold firm with that, but I don't regret any of the swaps from the past year. I love every single one of them. So I thought an end of the year recap was in order. First off check out all of the amazing swap packages I received this year...
There are so many talented people out there! To start off the year I received this wonderful apron and a matching towel from Megan. That towel (along with one I received from Darci the year before) lives on my oven and gets constant use. Then Shruti made me a very colorful sewing apron and a mini quilt that came all the way from India. Next I received a fabulous sewing machine cover for my Janome from Mary. Then, lucky me, all the way from Australia, Bek sent me these awesome linen and Echino placemats and coasters that grace our table every night. Back on the homefront I received another amazing sewing machine cover from Nichole. This one lives on my Baby Lock. Eventually, I got into the Pillow Talk Swap and received this cute Central Park inspired pillow from Safieh. And the gifts kept coming in the shape of a table runner from Kristy followed by linen napkins to match my placemats from Amber. Then a bath mat and embroidered wall hanging from Marie. Then the amazing pillow from Brittany to round out the year. Thank you to all of my amazing secret partners. I am constantly in awe of your talents!
And I was busy too! I made Sarah some Echino and linen placemats and napkins that made her "Spart!" Then I sent Wendi a pincushion and tread catcher with some nesting bags. For Meghan I made a cathedral window pillow and a DSLR camera strap our of some of her favorite fabrics. Karie received a circle table runner and come matching coasters. I made Missy the Soul Crushing table runner. And Wendy got a hexie and linen table runner with a matching dish towel. I was so excited when I got to make Darci the hexie pillow she had me in a swap in 2010 and it was fun to repay the favor. Dorte was obsessed with bags so I made one for her and filled it with goodies. Then I made a sewing machine cover for Leanne and I was Charlotte's angel and made her a floor cushion using her favorite Kona Orange. Finally, Cate received a lime and aqua pillow in my last swap of the year. It's been a very productive year I think.
Friday, December 16, 2011
Wow! I am overwhelmed by the number of comments on my two giveaways this week. I think I underestimated the love for Lotta out there. I mean, I knew Echo was a popular line but I didn't know it was that popular! Thank you to everyone who stopped by and participated. I tried to respond to every comment but there were well over 1000 comments between both giveaways so I hardly made a dent. But I did read each and every one of them and I am going to try and continue to respond because I want to sincerely thank everyone who came by my little blog. I can't promise that I'll get to them all but I am really going to try. So you wanna find out who the lucky winners are?
The winner of the Blog Hop Party Giveaway is...
Congratulations Sallie and Beth! Shoot me your mailing addresses and I'll get your fabric out to you right away.
And don't forget to watch my show tonight on Lifetime, Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold. A new episode airs tonight at 11 PM Eastern / 10 PM Central.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I am so excited! My Echo packages are starting to arrive at my Sewn Together member's doorsteps. I can't wait to see these blocks come together. If you want some Echo of your own you can check out my Blog Hop Party post here or my Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day post here.
I did send off my November Blocks recently to their destinations. First of all in the Sewn Together Bee, Rick asked us for some Drunk Love inspired blocks. He sent us two prints to use as the center focal points in our blocks and then some batiks and black and white prints as well. He didn't care about size and said we could send squares or rectangles. And if you know anything about me I get excited about having this kind of freedom.
I love to improv piece! And I decided to make my first block a square but I really loved this small piece of green batik that he included in my package so I wanted to highlight it and build around it.
Since Rick gave us some freedom, I made a rectangle for my second block. And, although I am not a big fan of batiks, I really loved this one particular green batik and I wanted to showcase it in the second block, so I left it intentionally large.
I know I'm repeating myself but one of the things I really love about participating in bees is getting to step out of the box and play with fabrics and blocks that I usually wouldn't.
Then, for the Hope Circle, Rachel asked us to make two Ft. Macon blocks from a super easy tutorial she wrote. You can check out her great tutorial and the inspiration for these blocks here.
Rachel wanted out blocks to be in purple and blue so I pulled some fabrics from my stash and came up with these...
I can't wait to see both of these projects come together. These were fun and easy blocks to make. December is my month in both bees, so I can breathe a little easy for a moment.
Monday, December 12, 2011
**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**
Well, it seems like a lot of you have fallen for Lotta Jansdotter's Echo line just as much as I have. And if you didn't already know, it happens to be Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day! To celebrate I'm going to give away one more Echo Fat Quarter set. How does that sound?
So you want to know how you can win? It's easy. There are two ways to win.
1) Leave me a comment. Any comment will do.
2) And as a thank you to my loyal followers, if you're a follower you can leave me another comment for a second entry.
It's that easy. Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you are a "No Reply" Blogger. The giveaway is open until December 17th. As always, international entries are welcome. Good luck and check out the other fabulous blogs participating in Giveaway Day!
**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**
Friday, December 9, 2011
**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**
Who's ready to win some fabric? It's Quilting Gallery's 4th Birthday and they're hosting a Blog Hop Party full of exciting giveaways and I am happy to be participating. And I'm not the only one. There are over 250 bloggers participating so be sure to hop on over and see what other goodies you can win.
Since there was such a good response to the fabrics I pulled for my Sewn Together blocks I thought it was only appropriate to give away some of this amazing line. So how would you like to win a Fat Quarter stack from Lotte Jansdotter's new line Echo? You know you would, right?
So you want to know how you can win? It's easy. There are two ways to win.
1) Leave me a comment. Any comment will do.
2) If you're a follower you can leave me another comment for a second entry.
It's that easy. Please make sure I have a way to contact you if you are a "No Reply" Blogger. The giveaway is open until December 17th. As always, international entries are welcome. Good luck and happy blog hopping!
Oh... And don't forget to watch my show tonight on Lifetime, Starving Secrets with Tracey Gold. We actually saved some lives with this one. A new episode airs tonight at 11 PM Eastern / 10 PM Central.
**GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED**
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
This month is my month in both Bees that I host. I usually don't care which month I have in a Bee so I take whatever is left over, and most people didn't want December this year. I want to thank my fellow Sewn Together Bee members in advance for taking on the challenge I am posing to them this month. I'm asking everybody to make me a Lone Star Block. Since this block can be challenging I am only asking for one from each person. And I'm also giving them longer than just this month to return them to me, since I know December is a crazy month for most people.
I recently fell in love with the Lone Star Block, which surprised me. It's super traditional, which usually isn't my thing at all. But I've seen a couple really cool modern ones lurking out there lately and they were breathtaking. Then I happened upon this tutorial that spelled out the process really well, including a separate tutorial for Y Seams, so I thought I'd get everybody, including myself, to stretch their sewing muscles.
Choosing the fabrics was the hard part for this project. I have decided that this is going to be a quilt just for me. Not for a friend. Not for a charity. For me. I've never done that before. Awhile back I saw Lotta Jandotter's Echo line and it was love at first sight, so when I saw that Lauren had it in stock at Sew Modern, I ran over to pick some up and somehow it became the inspiration for this entire quilt.
I had no intention of making this quilt all from one fabric line, but when I was staring at all the yummy bolts of Echo up close I just swooned. I chose 4 different prints from the line and added some Kona Sage to the star fabrics. I was looking at solids for the background fabric and was choosing between a couple different shades of gray when I overheard Lauren talking about the Kaffe Fassett shot cottons that she had in stock. I adore these but never bought any for my stash because I wasn't sure where I would use them. Then the lightbulb went off! And I found the most gorgeous shot cotton - the perfect blend of turquoise and orange - to use as the backing fabric for these blocks.
I am really so excited to see how these blocks turn out. And I want to thank my fellow Sewn Together members in advance on helping me with this one. You guys rock!
Monday, December 5, 2011
I know that my posting around here continues to be sporadic and I don't see that changing until well into the new year, unfortunately. My job has been soul crushing as of late and I still have a couple more months of insanity ahead of me. Sadly, that means that I haven't been able to relieve my stress much with my sewing machine and I miss it. My sewing life has come to a screeching halt. Check out the sad little assembly line of diaper bags that I have going on in my dining room...
They're all cut, pressed and ready for sewing but they've been driving my wonderful and amazing husband crazy just sitting on our barstools, untouched for weeks. I can't blame him. So what does a girl consistently working until 2 AM do to help keep the creative juices flowing? Shop for fabric, of course!
I took full advantage of some of the Black Friday sales and scooped up a ton of fabric. Literally, if I weighed it all I think it would be a ton! Some of it was stash building but a lot of it has a purpose.
I am attempting to make my nieces dresses as a gift for the holidays. I picked up the super cute Kyoto pattern during a liquidation sale and I spent some time over Thanksgiving picking out just the right fabrics for each. I'm planning to make the same dress for both of them, just using different fabrics. Rilyn's is going to be green. I'm using the Urban Circus Giraffe print on the skirt and the floral green for the top. Then the cranberry Heirloom fabric will be the obi.
When I spotted the Pernillas Journey elephant print I knew that had to be Emerson's skirt. The yellow Heirloom print will be the top and the grey Silent Cinema print will be her obi.
I also picked up a couple patterns for myself. I know there is no way I'm going to get around to making anything for me until at least February but the patterns were on sale and so were the fabrics. Eventually I will make the Liverpool shirt for me. I just can't decide which fabric to use. What do you think? Heather Bailey or Jay McCarroll?
The rest are intended for the stash, although on a few prints I did order multiple yardage because I really want to use them to make myself some new dresses. I really want to get back to a little garment sewing in the new year. So I'm going to suspend Triple 'T' Tuesdays an the Little Stitches Sew-Along until 2012. I promise they'll come back. But I want them to come back when I can focus on making them regular and consistent postings. But I promise I'm not disappearing entirely until then. I'll be around. I think I'd go a little insane without my blog and all my sewing friends out there.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
My husband often complains that I am too nice. I like to make people happy, even complete strangers when I can, so when I heard the call go out for Angels in the FTLOS Swap I answered, despite my insane schedule. Megan paired me up with Charlotte since her partner went AWOL somewhere along the way. And for a moment I thought the pressure of turning around a spectacular and desired swap package in a short amount of time might prove too much for me. But I approached her as I would any other partner in any other swap - except this time I didn't post teaser pictures.
Charlotte had a couple things on her wish list, but the one that stood out to me the most was a floor cushion. I have never made anything like this before but it seemed like the thing she wanted the most so I decided to try it.
Her favorite solid is Kona Orange so I ran over to my favorite LQS, Sew Modern, and picked up some Kona Orange along with some coordinating shades of orange and neutral solids and threw in some Robin Egg Blue for a pop of color.
I decided that paper piecing was the way to go with this one and I started by drafting two circle patterns in the size I wanted. Then I traced out the pie slices so that all the points met in the middle and cut the circles into four pieces. I did make one stupid mistake, though... In my haste (but if I'm being honest it's actually due to my aversion to math) I forgot to account for the 1/4" seam in each of my quadrants so my points didn't end up as perfect as I imagined.
I added a zipper along the side for easy stuffing. And since I was custom making this round floor pillow without a form, and I was shipping her overseas, I couldn't send her stuffed but I thought the zipper would be the perfect way for Charlotte to be able to stuff it herself. I used crumpled pages from a magazine to simulate the stuffing for my photos, so it really won't be that lumpy in reality.
I also tried making my own fabric covered buttons for the very first time and, let me tell you, I am in love! They were so incredibly easy. I see many more of these in my future.
Since I wanted to treat Charlotte as I would any other swap partner, I added some extras to the package including some fabric and sewing tools I hope she could use. Thankfully my package made it safely across the pond to Charlotte. And I discovered later that this was her first swap experience, so I hope that it doesn't sour her thoughts on online swapping. I really had a blasy making this for her. It got me out of my comfort zone and I learned a lot. If you envision it, you can create it. Enjoy Charlotte!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Welcome back to Triple "T" Tuesdays. Today I'd like to share with you one of my favorite sewing tools. Oh the mighty iron! How I do love thee. I know for many the iron is a polarizing tool. You either love it or you hate it, but either way it is a necessary evil. I am one of those sewers who falls into the first category. I love my iron! Seriously. I know I'm a freak. And just because I love my iron doesn't mean that we don't get into the occasional fight, but the majority of the time I see her as one of the most valuable tools in my arsenal. And I know this makes me a Major Dork, but I squealed with delight when I came home late last night to find that my husband had bought me an amazing gift yesterday...
Unfortunately my old Black and Decker was on it's last legs. She was constantly clogging up and wouldn't always steam properly, despite my thorough cleanings. And She recently got dropped (more than once) and was starting to come a part at the seams.
She was a trusty old girl. A gift from my sister one holiday season years ago. And I am sad to put her out to pasture but it was time for an upgrade. But just look at my upgrade! I can't wait to put that precision tip and power burst of steam to the test! I am giddy like a little girl!
My love affaire with the iron likely started as a teenager. I used to pick up odd jobs around the neighborhood to try and make some cash and one of my clients used to have me iron her husband's shirts. She hated doing it. I didn't mind and I needed the money. Ironing was never one of the chores that bothered me. Perhaps it's because I first learned to iron as a function of garment construction and not as a daily chore like most people.
Now that I have added quilting to my crafting resume I think I have developed an even deeper love of this powerful tool. I have my ironing board and iron up, out and at the ready always. And my iron is just an arms distance from my sewing machine so all I need to do it turn around and it's there. An iron will help you achieve a more precise seam. It can help you make that wonky Dresden lie flat. And it can ease even the most wrinkly fabric back into submission.
For all sewers, and especially quilters, an iron is a necessary tool. Respect her and she will do you wonders. Remember to clean your iron regularly and don't leave water in the reservoir while in storage or the water could leak. After a few days with this pretty little lady I'll let you know how she's working out because I know there are a lot of choices out there.
Do you have a great Tip, Tool or Technique that you'd like to share? Email me and I'll set you up to do a guest post on an upcoming edition of Triple "T" Tuesdays.