Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I Do - Part 2

I wanted to do something very special for Matt to give him as a wedding gift. Of all of the things I could think of, the thing that stood out the most was a quilt. The only other person who has ever made him a quilt is his mom and quilts hold a special significance in his family. Ann makes quilts for her loved ones as gifts to honor their completion of major life events like confirmation, graduation, and of course marriage. I love this about Ann and I plan to do the same for our children some day. I came across a modern pattern called "I Do" by Cherry House Quilts. It really stood out to me as something that I would love to snuggle up in or hang from a wall while still having marriage significance.

The pattern calls for a mixture of vibrant florals and geometrics matched with classic solids. I liked the distribution of color and pattern in the sample quilt on pattern instructions so I tried selecting fabrics similar. I did make one change that I think really keeps the quilt in line with my style: I used vibrant floral and geometric batiks instead of prints.

I am a big fan of ordering fabric online but when I received my fabrics for this quilt I was a little disappointed. Everything was so much BRIGHTER and bolder than it looked on my computer screen and when arranged my solids and batiks together....well, no offense to rainbows but it looked like a rainbow. I kept the fabrics together for a bit and just let my brain get used to them. Eventually I decided that I would arrange the fabrics so that they weren't in order of the colors in the rainbow. It would still be bright, but not Rainbow Bright.

I sewed the "i"s together long ago but I am finally getting around to adding borders. Now that I am looking at it I realize that I originally intended to do things a little differently but it still looks ok. I think I originally wanted to add another black border between the blue border and the pink and purple border. The fabric is cut so there's not much I can do here goes:

What do you think? Should I take the pink and purple border off and add a black on? I have just a little extra fabric so I could probably make it work. This is what it would look like with the additional black border and a black binding:

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Stuff!

My order from the Missouri Star Quilt Company came in today! I can't wait to show and tell! What project are you working on right now?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My Little Helper

I just wanted to share a quick picture I snapped minutes ago of Lucy "helping" me under my desk. She always wants to be wherever I am and especially loves being under the table I am working at. Here she is under my sewing table behind my computer desk.

I am currently working on adding a few items to my shop Lovie and Boo on Etsy. Check me out if you are interested in cover button jewelry. Have a great day and Happy Sewing!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Rainbow Around the Block Part 2

I have been using my time this weekend to write wedding thank you cards and catch up on some sewing projects I have been meaning to do. I mentioned in an earlier post that I want to donate some blocks for Ana Maria Horner's Rainbow Around the Block. I made 6 blocks to send to TN for this project. Here are some pictures!

I tried out the Missouri Star Quilt Company's pinwheel technique to make these triangles but I didn't like the way they looked as pinwheels since all of the fabrics are brown. I sewed them together so that all of the polka dot fabrics were going to same way and all of the prints were going the same way. For the second block I had a couple of leftover rows of triangles so I added a few strips of print fabric between the rows and around the edges:

I tried the Disappearing 9 Patch technique with some pink scraps I had laying around:

I tried The Joesph Block from Ana Maria Horner's blog with some orange scraps and fat quarters:

And finally I made a scrappy strip block with some strips leftover from the nursing cover I made my sister and the coasters I made my neighbor:

I'm also thinking about making a cover for my camera strap to make it pretty. I am not sure what colors I want to do yet...Purple is "my" color but I am not sure if I have any great purples lying around. I'm going go go dig around my stash and see if I can find something that will work. Happy sewing!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Charm Style

I placed my order at the Missouri Star Quilt Company and am looking forward to receiving my goodies in the mail. I ended up getting several charm packs, a Kona Solid jelly roll, some solid black fabric that I am going to cut into 2..5" strips for sashing, and the binding tool as well as a Dresden Plate ruler. I have never thought of doing anything that traditional but I think there might be a way to modernize the pattern with non-traditional fabric colors. I can't wait to try out this pinwheel technique from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. I wasn't able to find it directly through their website but I was able to find it on

I have been re-organizing my sewing space, hence no new projects at the moment. I am only now realizing that I didn't take any before pictures to document how absolutely terrible my set-up was before but I will take some pictures of how things are set up now. I love having my sewing space in the basement of our townhouse because it's nice and cool!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Looking for a Paint Tool

I like to draw pictures to post on my blog to illustrate what I have forgotten to take pictures of or no longer have in my possession. I recently stumbled on what has become one of my favorite blogs ever: Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh. I am addicted to reading her posts and fascinated by her illustrations. I have embarked on a quest to find a paint program like Paintbrush for MAC users (the program Allie uses) because I love that she is able to use features like transparency to add depth and interest to otherwise very primitive (and AWESOME) pictures.

I found a free program called Tux Paint and even installed the optional stamp feature. I played around with the stamps a little bit today and I am not sure how I feel about a couple of them.

a. creepy doll
b. no less than 10 gravestones
c. an exorbitant amount (in my opinion) of scavenger birds, reptiles, amphibians, and insects though if I was a boy this would probably be totally sweet
d. a stone ritual circle

While there were many other really cool stamps in the extended package, these were a bit on the disturbing side. Also, I couldn't save this picture within the paint program in a file format that could be uploaded to this blog. I had to print screen and paste into MS Paint. It does have some really cool brushes, a bunch of ways to "magic" your picture with color shifts, confetti, rainbows, etc., and it has the transparency function so there were some merits but I think I am going to continue looking for a paint program download that is compatible with Windows therefore I am going to give it another try for Bill (see update).

Allie, you rock and I think you should write a book. I will buy it. If you are reading this please don't pay too much attention to my grammar as I am sure I have failed a lot. I don't think I said "alot" anywhere....but I really like your Alot. I would really like to make a quilt for you if you'll let me. I think I'm going to do it anyways.

I would love suggestions from anyone for a cool paint tool that has at least the transparency feature (so I can make cool fabric patterns) and be compatible with Windows!

Update: An interested passerby was kind enough to point me to the "Gallery" page on the Tux Paint website that explains how to find your saved pictures. Doh! Thanks for the info Bill! I feel like a goober...

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

If You Enter Enough Giveaways, Eventually You Will Win!

So I have entered quite a few giveaways from the different internet quilt shops I have visited and blogs I have read. I am not a very lucky person in this regard so I didn't think enything would come of it but figured I would try anyways. Well guess what?! I WON!

I received a notification today that I am the winner of a $25 gift card from the Missouri Star Quilt Company from their recent giveaway on YouTube!

Hmmmm.....what to buy?.....

Maybe an Amy Butler Love charm pack and a Kona Solid Pastel charm pack to go with it so I can try out a pinwheel quilt? Or some Bella Solids in White, Dolce charm pack, or Jane Just Wants to have Fun charm pack. I am a little obsessed with charm packs right now but I haven't bit the bullet to actually buy some yet. I have put them in my shopping cart several times but I never seem to make it to check-out.

Maybe I'll get a Binding Tool too so I can finish binding my quilts better...

Yay for winning! Hopefully I'll have enough followers to do a giveaway someday. Thanks for being my first Hollie!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Weekend with the Nephews and Dads

I spent the weekend in Rocky Mount, Roanoke, and Smith Mountain Lake to spend time with my family. It was my nephew's 5th birthday and of course Father's Day weekend. We spent Saturday afternoon at the pool for Coleman's birthday party. He and his cousin Skylar's birthdays are only a few days apart so they had a joint birthday party. I was able to use our new flip video camera and water-tight case to take some shots of everyone playing in the pool. It was great getting to spend a little time with family and spend some time with all my dads. Happy Father's day to all you dads out there!

We spent that evening down at my parents lake house to have dinner. My step-dad Wayne had me work on a project for him to help with his sleep apnea. His doctor suggested that until he can be fitted with a CPAP that he sew a pocket onto the back of a t-shirt, put a tennis ball in it, and secure inside (button, velcro, snap, etc) to keep him from rolling onto his back at night. I took a tennis ball and estimated how big the pocket should be. I waaaayyyyy over estimated this figure but I guess if he ever needed to put a second ball in there or a larger ball he would have some room so I am not too worried about it. I took one of his t-shirts and traced a square along the bottom so I could use the hemmed edge as the top of my pocket. I then cut my rectangle out through both layers of the fabric and then used one of my rectangles as a template to cut from the rest of the shirt. I ended up getting 5 rectangles but I am sure I could have gotten 6 if I had adjusted the size of my template a little because I was just a little shy for the last rectangle.

I got some pictures of my sisters' quilts so I will put them up as soon as I can upload them which I think turned out pretty well despite my amateur attempts at artsy photos. I was also able to get Matt's brother and sister's quilts when I visited his parents on my way out of Roanoke on Sunday.

Leslie's Strata Flower Quilt:

Alissa's Split Rail Fence:

 Maura's Strata Squares Quilt:

 Mark's Strata Diamonds Quilt

Matt couldn't come with me because he had an early hockey game on Saturday. He scored a "hat trick" (3 goals in 1 game) so that was awesome but I missed him and I missed Lucy. It was good to come home to my Lovie and Boo!

Last but not least, I am working on a project for a family friend who is setting up a scholarship at Virginia Tech in honor of her husband who passed away a few years ago. One of the ways she is trying to raise money is through a silent auction so I am going to make something to donate. Any ideas of what I should do?

Friday, June 18, 2010

Rainbow Around the Block

I was checking out different blogs today and stumbled on Ana Maria Horner's blog. I haven't bought any of her books yet but I have purchased some of the fabric she designed. She is leading efforts to donate quilt blocks for families who lost their homes and belongings during the flooding that happened in Middle Tennessee in May 2010. I think this is a really neat idea and I am going to try to make a few blocks to donate. If you are interested you should check out her blog or her page for the Rainbow Around the Block donation effort.

My First Model

When I first started sewing I had grand ideas of making children's clothing to sell online or in a boutique. Since I work full time and only craft on the side, it really isn't possible for me to sew full time. Plus, I am just starting out and I have a lot to learn before I can "go pro". Before I came to this realization, I asked a friend if I could use his daughter to model my clothes and take pictures. I don't have children of my own yet and my niece and nephews are 1-4 hours away. I paid him with one of my dresses and his wife seemed to be really happy about that so I think this arrangement worked out for everyone. I was cleaning up files on my computer tonight and came across my pictures from that day. So here are a few photos from that picturesque day in Fairfax, VA:

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Process Pledge


I officially took The Process Pledge today. I think I am doing an ok job of explaining what I did for each of my projects but you can leave a comment if you want more info on something and as part of the pledge I promise to TRY to post more about what's going on in my head when I am working on a project or thinking about working on a project.

Howdy Neighbor

Matt and I recently bought a townhouse. I know...we're crazy. The right time for us just happened to coincide with us planning for a wedding/honeymoon, me changing groups within my company, and me doing a lot of DIY projects for the wedding and wedding attendants. I will post about these projects once I get some pictures...

With all the commotion, we didn't really get a chance to introduce ourselves to our neighbors. One of our neighbors was kind enough to make us some welcome-to-the-neighborhood sweets but couldn't give them to us because we were gone for our wedding/honeymoon. I didn't want to waste the opportunity to reciprocate the hospitality so I decided I would make her a little something for her home. I decided to go with coasters but I have never made them before so I just sort of winged it. I know there are probably patterns out there but I am really bad about following directions! So here's what I did:

Step 1: Operation Find Turtle Fabric
I will admit that in the short period of time that I have been sewing (about 2 years now) I have accumulated a great deal of fabric. I finally pulled everything back out of the storage containers I used for the move and couldn't believe my eyes. I have no idea where I used to put it all! My neighbor has a turtle so my first idea was to make coasters with turtles on them. I actually have a fabric that I bought to make something for my friend's little nephew but never got around to doing. I thought this would be too easy and decided instead that I could cut turtles made from different fabrics that would look something like this:

My problem was that I didn't have fabrics that matched that also had enough contrast to give me the look I thought I was going for. I mulled my idea some more while having a delicious rum and coke and suddenly realized that I didn't need to literally make turtles...I could make essence of turtles! I already had several green Amy Butler strips leftover from a project I did for my sister out and knew from working on the wedding attendant quilts (I used Bali Pops which are basically jelly rolls) that I could sew the strips together and then cut squares from my "rail fence". My second idea looked something like this except with awesome Amy Butler Midwest Modern green fabrics:

I went with a bright green leftover from the I Do quilt I made for Matt on the back of the coaster which didn't really match perfectly but I decided to go for it rather than go and buy more fabric. I ended up getting 6 5x5 squares from my rail fence. Here's where it gets a little fishy...

Step 2: Operation What the Heck do I Fill this Thing With?
I am still not sure I made the right choice but hopefully I can get some feedback from my neighbor to see how these hold up. I decided to use this thick stuff called Peltex by Pellon that I had leftover from making place mats from my kitchen. I didn't really like this stuff for the place mats because it was too thick and when you bend Peltex it looks wrinkled but I thought for a coaster the rigidity and thickness would be nice. I also cut some poly/cotton batting leftover from the black, red, and white quilt I made my dad and step-mom for Christmas to go on the side that will face up so that any wrinkles from bending the coasters wouldn't show as much and to give the coasters more dimension after I quilted them.

I cut the Peltex and the batting 4.5x4.5 so that I would have a quarter of an inch on each side of my square for a seam. Having now completed this project I realize that this really wasn't enough room to close the coaster on the 4th side. If I do this again I will make 5x5.5 rectangles for my front and back fabric with 4.5x4.5 squares for the filling so that I have a little extra room to close the coaster the 4th side. Since I had already cut my fabric, ironed on the Peltex, and sewed the first coaster on 3 sides before I came to this conclusion I just decided to do the best with what I had and hand sew any funky spots. It was also at this point that I realized I wasn't paying attention to what the color of my bobbin thread would look like with my back fabric. My bobbin thread was a dark green color which really stands out from the bright green. If I was a better quilter this probably would be really neat but since I am not it The Peltex has 1 side with an adhesive similar to the iron-on interfacing you would use to applique something. It feels more gritty on the side with adhesive. I have this cool sheet made from (I think) Teflon for appliqueing so I used this over the the Peltex as I ironed it on to the back of my bottom fabric in case I accidentally started ironing the wrong side. This is what my fabric for the back of the coaster looked like:

Step 3: Sew it all Together...
So at this point I had my top fabric, my back fabric with Peltex attached, batting squares, and my new-to-me Bernina. Thanks to my new Aunt-in-Law Ginny I am now the proud owner of a BerninaBernina so I use it when I travel to sew somewhere. I put my coaster top fabric and back fabric right sides together and sewed them together on 3 sides using a 1/4 inch seam with the Peltex facing me so I could use it as a guide. I then put my batting square on top of my Peltex and flipped the coaster right-side-out so that the right sides of my top and back fabric were showing and the Peltex and batting were stuffed inside. Finally, I tucked the back piece of the fabric over the Peltex and batting on the inside of my coaster and folded the edge of the top fabric over so that the unfinished edge was on the inside too. I sewed a few stitches over from the edge of the coaster on all 4 sides starting with the open side. This allowed me to close my unfinished end and hide the fact that the end was unfinished because all 4 sides looked the same.

Step 4: If You Quilt Them They will be Quilted
I now had 6 coasters sewed on all 4 sides but I wanted to quilt them to give them extra texture and dimension and so that the fabric wouldn't look distorted when it gets wet from drinks. I decided to try a couple of different styles so I could pick a favorite for the next time I make them. I made 2 of each of these 3 styles:

I think my favorite is the lines going across the square for this project because I did them in the same direction as the strips on the top of the coaster. I also could have stippled them but I liked the idea of doing something very linear since the strips that make the top fabric are very linear.

Step 5: Take Pictures!
Shoot....where is my camera...found it! Quick upload to computer....failed attempt at making the photos look better (just got Photoshop Elements and have no clue how to use it yet)....ok here we go:

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Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Matt and Natalie Get Married!

Matt and I got married May 29th and we couldn't be happier! I am working on a special series of posts showing off the quilts I made for the wedding party with the help of my mother-in-law Ann, aunt-in-law Ginny, and their friend Donna. Ann made us a beautiful wedding quilt (see first and last picture) as a surprise so be looking for that as well. For now check out a few of the pictures from our special day...

I made the flower girl dress, the favors, the save the date cards and invitations (save the date and invitations not pictured) as well as lap quilts for all 10 attendants. Matt's dad made the cupcake stand that we used at the reception and Matt's mom made us the wedding start quilt. The Guest Book was purchased from Emerson Bindery (formerly UberArt) on Etsy. The cupcakes were made by one of the teachers at my mom's school and she also decorated the cupcake stand. The pearls are fresh water pearls from Hong Kong that my dad and step-mom gave me years ago, the diamond earrings are a gift from my grandmother Bia who is no longer with us, and the necklace is a handmade gift from my grandmother Pat. Our wedding had so many personal touches and it really was a magical day for us.

Thanks for letting me share!

Photos taken by 

Sam Dean

Amy Graybill (the portrait of me with my head tilted to the right after the vase with my flowers in it) 

Pat Marcum
(the picture of the necklace)

Uber Art
(the picture of the guest book closed)