Friday, June 21, 2013

Flashback Friday: Hello Summer

There isn't much to this photo but it says summer to me. Bare little toes, a blanket on the lawn, and a bowlful of ice. Happy First Day of Summer!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sweet Strawberries

I love strawberries. They are sweet, cute, and happy :). I have a little strawberry collection of some vintage salt/pepper shakers, tea cups, pitcher, knick knacks, and a tablecloth. One of my girls is my Strawberry Girl so if there is a shirt, or pajamas, or undies with a strawberry on them she gets them. I was ecstatic Heather Ross, one of my favorite fabric designers, designed a line Briar Rose with lots of cute strawberries.

I will definitely be making my Strawberry Girl a quilt  and some clothes from this line. The line will be released in July so I have been planning my projects in my mind and decided that I would like to make some paper pieced strawberries on the quilt back. I emailed my friend who is the queen of paper piecing patterns, Kristy, to see if she might be able to make a strawberry pattern for me and next thing I knew she was asking what size would I like and sending me patterns :)

Kristy made me a block to finish at 6" and a block to finish at 12". I planned to use the small block to make a cushion for my daughter and the large block for her quilt back but I could not wait for July and Briar Rose to be here so I decided to make a large cushion for me with fabric from my stash.

The blocks have taken longer to make than I had anticipated as there are quite a few pieces in the leaf and stem sections but that is o.k. because I love these little berries. It is the little things in life that make me happy.  In the end the cushion will be 3 squares by 3 squares to be 18x18. I am linking up with freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday today.
                                                              GRAB A BUTTON

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

My Summery Christmas Quilt Finish

To tell this quilt's story I will go back to the beginning,  back before I was blogging.

At the beginning of 2011 I was reading craft, sewing, and quilting blogs. At that point I was a big admirer of quilts but had not made a quilt of my own. I loved fabric and thought I could use more of my stash if I were to make quilts as well as kids clothes (that didn't work out so well as in the end it gave me a reason to buy more fabric). I have never been a person to use 1 line to make a quilt; I like to mix and match prints and lines. So I jumped in and made a little pinwheel doll quilt. That was fun so I thought I would make a patchwork stroller quilt using 3" finished squares. Then I happened upon the beginning of the Farmer's Wife Quilt Along.
I love history and tradition and was very excited to learn how to piece traditional blocks using modern  fabric. I ordered the book, printed out templates and was on my way. Those early blocks were wonky and took me a looooong time to make. I had a brand new baby and those little 6" blocks were taking more time to make than I had to give. I wanted  to make 2 blocks a week to complete the quilt in a year. I lasted a month before falling in to a newborn induced coma and adjusting to being a family of 8 instead of 7. Baby number 6 was the easiest baby I ever had (thankfully!) but I found having 6 kids was a whole lot more work than having 5.

The months went by. I would sew small projects and dresses for the girls but my Farmer's Wife blocks sat in the book on my shelf. August came and I guess I had a sudden burst of energy because I decided I would make each of the kids a quilt for Christmas. I would use large,simple blocks and each quilt would be different. (I was able to get 4 made by Christmas, one finished a month after Christmas, and then I completed the 6th one in February this year.) I believe it was November 2011 Jeni announced she would be doing a block of the month for 2012 using half square triangles. This sounded like a fun opportunity and an attainable goal to make 1 block a month. I couldn't decide if I wanted to use the BOM (block of the month) to make a Christmas quilt or a picnic quilt. I decided picnic quilt and made my first block in January. I didn't like the block so I decided to make a Christmas quilt instead using some Ruby that I had. I knew I would never make a Christmas quilt on my own so this was my chance to get it done 1 block at a time, 1 month at a time and have a quilt top  at the end of the year.

Blocks took me a long time to make at first but as the months went on I got better making those half square triangles. The 12 inch finished size made things easier too. I looked forward to the 1st of every month and made some nice friends like Alyce and Sarah. Sarah dubbed this quilt "Christmas in July" which has stuck for a name. The further I got into the year the more orange came into the quilt. I do love summer colors and was influenced by Camille's Farmer's Wife blocks.
Once the blocks were finished it was time to choose sashing, binding, and a backing.

Then came basting.
I had intended to do some hand quilting in the sashing on this quilt but due to the cornerstones I decided hand quilting would not be quite right for this project. This was the right project to be the guinea pig for my first try at free motion quilting.

It feels really good to have completed this and to have learned so many things along the way!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Flashback Friday- Happy Birthday Brother!

I have the best brother! He is number 3 of 4 kids and the only boy . He is easy going, kind, and everyone who knows him loves him {and i am not just saying that because i am his sister:) }. His birthday was last week but he has been working out of town so we are going to celebrate this weekend at the lake doing one of his favorite things: wake boarding. Hope you have a fun weekend!!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Cutting, Free Motion Quilting, and Happy Mail

I have accomplished a little sewing this week but before I get to that I have to show you what came in the mail yesterday. I received a surprise package from Australia. Sweet Kristy completely spoiled me just because she is nice that way. She had made herself a little mini awhile back with this phrase and it was a phrase that completely stuck with me and could relate to. Sewing truly does keep me sane. She used all my favorite colors, a strawberry in one of the prints, and rulers, which i love too. It could not be more perfect!

For the back she used a great matching rainbow chevron and fancy corners for hanging.

That's not all she sent. She also sent some fun fabric. Cupcakes, text, Japanese prints, Simply Color, all kinds of goodies. Over on the right peeking out from the fabric is a beautiful card she made. I am very blessed and have the most thoughtful, sweet friends!
Speaking of sweet friends I must also mention Amy. She sent me some beautiful prints she carries in her Etsy shop Pinked Fabrics a month or so ago. The pretty Lecien rose print i am using as a border in my Christmas quilt came from her. I hope I can bless my friends half as much as they bless me!

One of the things I wanted to try this year was free motion quilting. I watched a video on You Tube by the Missouri Quilt Company and then about 6 videos by Leah Day and then started quilting away. I chose to do a doodly loopy loop. It was fun and a learning experience. This quilt is about 69x74 (or close to that) and I would not want to tackle anything bigger. There are uneven stitches but for my first try I am happy with it. It is definitely a technique that requires practice and I am looking forward to doing more free motion. Along with the loops over the main blocks of the quilt I did a loopy scroll on the Lecien rose print and then some straight lines on the gray polka dot.

I had planned to use a Ruby print for the binding but didn't have enough so I am going with a similar print from Bonnie and Camille's Happy Go Lucky line. I have the binding ready and just need to put it on. I will be doing some hand quilting on the sashing between now and Christmas.

The backing is made from snuggly Ruby flannel. It is hodgepodge as when I was done the 1st time  the back was not quite big enough. I found some flannel scraps from robes I had made the twins so I added a strip to the bottom and one side to enlarge it. 
I have cut up  Field Study and Essex linen for my next quilt. I need another yard of linen but have enough to get started and have another paper piecing project I would like to start. Definitely no shortage of projects here! 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Life Lately {in photos}

Trying to keep feeding my small army simple. I am dubbing this my potluck Bento lunch. Everybody loves it and it has been working without plates. Bonus!! to have less dishes. Things like blueberies and olives are great and don't require chopping :)

Lots of pool time and water play. Temperatures this past week have ranged from 103-112. Hot, hot, hot!!

Visits from out of town friends.

My next quilt. i bought this fabric from Amanda's shop. I love the colors of Field Study; hope I can do it justice! 

Root beer floats are a special treat but lots of popsicles are consumed daily. 

This little Cheesy Mouse is one of Kristy's newest patterns. I love it!! i think the mouse is so cute and all of Kristy's patterns have a certain charm. it came together quickly. I went for a short cut that didn't work so well. Her pattern uses different shades of yellow to highlight the swiss cheeses holes (one of which the mouse is peeking through). i thought I would out smart the pattern and use polka dots for the holes...but there isn't really a defined hole for Mousy to peek through. The twins have a birthday party in 2 weeks so i will turn this block into a little tote...if i can get the block away from my daughter who has claimed it as hers. I will definitely be making this block again. I had to use some Nursery Versery in this block too. You can go to Kristy's post to see how pattern testers put their blocks together and see what kind of paper piecing people have been up to in her weekly link up. I highly recommend this cute little mouse pattern!!

My baby has been piling up all her blankets for a pillow for awhile now. Now that she is 2 I figured she was ready for a regular small pillow so a couple of pillow cases were in order. She loves lady bugs and the little strawberries are the softest flannel that I bought at JoAnn's eons ago.
And last but not least, some garden goodness. Hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Flashback Friday- The Summer Edition

Photo Summer of 2005
It is June. School is out. No homework. Temperatures are 100 plus degrees. It must be time to go boating!! Happy Weekend to You!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Wombat Stew Here I Come!

June marks the first month that I am a member of Wombat Stew, a paper piecing bee ,  which is a group of Australian girls. Six of the girls have been together for 1 round already but for this 2nd round they have added 2 more to the group, 1 of which is lucky me! The group includes Kristy, my paper piecing pattern making guru friend;  Alyce, who is currently living in Japan; Fiona who blogs at Finding Fifth; Gemma, who currently lives in Noumea; Jane who blogs at Where Jane Creates; Lara who blogs at Luellabella; Marieka who blogs at Bespoke Bites; and last , but not least is Melissa who blogs at Ms. Midge and is new to the group as well. Everyone gets a turn to be Queen Wombat for a month and chooses a theme which we will all make a block for. Midge was the one to kick off this second round and she chose to do a paper pieced block from Quilt Jane which can be found here.  Kristy modified the block a bit, so we made the same block but put it together in a different way. Midge asked for a black and white center and requested black homespun (or a similar solid), then low volume fabrics around the outside. The rest was up to us; her only request was that it be bright. I used a mix of Art Gallery and Michael Miller prints. I built the block around my favorite LillyBelle print by Bari j. and the low volume prints are from Angela Water's Texture line from Art Gallery which came from sweet Amanda who owns one of my favorite Etsy stores Westwood Acres. I am really looking forward to being a part of this group and having fun paper piecing!!

This past week we (I) have been adjusting to summer schedule and having the kids out of school. It is going to be a juggling act trying to find balance between meeting the needs of the kids and their social agendas, keeping up with meals and chores, and finding a bit of time to fit in some sewing. It always takes a couple of weeks to find a rhythm but I have pulled a little stack of fabric for my next project which is another paper pieced block. I have decided this will be a summer of small projects which may be easier for me to complete. I guess that is how quilts are completed anyways, one block at a time :). Hope your summer (or winter for my Aussie friends) is off to a fun start!

Linking up to Kristy's Paper Piecing Party!
                                                  Paper Piecing Party