Saturday, July 31, 2010

Love Pinwheels - Part 4

Last night I worked on creating some additional pinwheels for my Love Pinwheels quilt and I feel like I made a lot of progress!

I had some yardage left over from the Love fat quarter set I bought at Fabric.com with a coupon I found on RetailMeNot.com and some Bella Solid charms in white leftover from my purchase at the Missouri Star Quilt Company. The yardage I had leftover from each fat quarter was just enough to cut a 5" strip which I used to cut 4 5x5 charms and 2 2.5" strips leaving me a 2.5-3" strip and a little selvage piece. I think I am going to make myself a selvage pincushion with some of those scraps and save the larger pieces for an accent pillow in my guest bedroom

I've been using the Missouri Star Quilt Company tutorial on pinwheels for this project.. I got a lot of compliments on my pinwheels when I took a few in to my local quilt shop to get some additional yardage in white for the sashing.

Here are a couple of pictures of my latest:

Next I will add the borders in a coordinating Love print.

Happy Quilting!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Love Pinwheels - Part 3

I drew a picture of what my Love Pinwheels quilt is starting to look like but here are some photos of the real thing:


So here are my thoughts....
  • I think it needs to be bigger! I think I like it so much that I want it to go on my guest bedroom bed so it needs to be big enough for a full mattress
  • I like the way the white looks between the blocks so I am glad I went ahead and bought some kona solid white for the sashing
  • I think it might need a pinwheel boarder incorporated somehow
  • I think I am going to incorporate that long strip you see into the back of the quilt. I haven't done that for a back yet but I like the idea of making the quilt 2 sided
I am taking a little break on Saturday to use the spa gift certificate Matt gave me for my birthday but other than that I'll be sewing until I drop!

I'd love your thoughts on my thoughts, to hear any other ideas you might have, or hear about what you're working on right now!

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The NOVA Modern Quilt Guild

I just updated the home page with lots of information about Modern quilting so if you are interested go check it out. If you find yourself agreeing with the comments and "buzz", live in the Northern Virginia area (or surrounding area), and want to join just apply through the web! I'm going to give it a few more days to see if there's any interest in my area and if not I'm going to cancel the web page I created and figure something else out.

Happy Quilting!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me!

Last night Matt was so excited to start the day today that he said to me "I feel like a kid on the night before Christmas!" Why was my husband so excited? Because today is my birthday? Nope! He's excited because he's re-building his computer and his parts arrive tomorrow. Lucky for me he was also very excited to celebrate my birthday. He was so excited to give me my gift that he hid it in his nightstand and reached for it right after his alarm went off this morning. This year Matt gave me a gift certificate for a day at the spa including a facial, back massage, and spa manicure/pedicure and is taking me out to dinner at Macaroni Grill. What a treat right!? He's so good to me.

We then took Lucy for a nice long walk around the neighborhood together which is something we haven't done for a long time. We're going to try to get back in the habit of a long walk in the morning and the evening together with Lucy because all of us need the exercise.

To celebrate my birthday I brought in sour grape jelly bellies to share at work because I didn't have time to make cupcakes last night. Thankfully I won't go without them for my birthday this year because my brother Michael and his girlfriend Samantha are bringing me Georgetown Cupcakes Thursday night when they come over for dinner. They are also bringing some of the halibut they caught in Alaska recently. Do any of you know of a good recipe for halibut? My brother and his girlfriend can't come over because they have something else going on that they forgot they already committed to. Bummer!

The girls at Georgetown Cupcake are the stars of the TLC show "DC Cupcakes"! They inspire me because they quit their corporate jobs to do something they love and have been really successful. I would love to do that someday...just quit my job, stay home with the kids we will have someday, and do something quilting/sewing/crafting related instead of task plans, mock-ups, requirements, testing, peer reviews, meetings, analysis, documentation, spreadsheets, etc.




What would you do if you could quit your day job?

Happy Quilting!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Back from the Beach

Hey friends!

It's been awhile....

I've been at the beach with family and friends all weekend soaking up the sun, spending time with the babies in the family which renewed my desire to have children in the near future, and just taking a break from my normal life which is nice to do sometimes.

I got to spend a lot of time with my brother Michael and his girlfriend Samantha, I got to swim and play in the sun, I started working on a hand-sewing project, and I FINALLY successfully got my nephew Benjamin to go to sleep. Ben is 9 months and even though I have tried many, many times this was the first time I didn't have to give someone else a try. I don't remember it being that hard with his brother Coleman.

My hand sewing project deserves a post of it's own because it's that neat but I'm pretty tired tonight so I'm just going to have to make this short and sweet.

I have the hexi-bug! I read several modern quilting blogs and many of them have been bitten as well. I have enjoyed looking at their projects so much that I decided I would give it a try as well. I am using  the English paper piecing method and doing this all by hand. I am hoping to make a cool accent pillow for my girly guest room. This was the perfect project to bring with me in the car and to the beach because each hexagon required a small amount of fabric, had lots of room for error, and is something I can pick up and put down easily.


a. Template made from heat resistant Mylar. I used "c" to trace the hexagon onto the Mylar and then used a ruler to trace 1/4 inch allowance
b. Finished hexagons. The paper pieces were placed against the "wrong" side of the fabric and the edges were basted down over the paper pieces using the 1/4 inch seam allowance I left myself
c. My 1" hexagon paper pieces (one large pack of 600 was $30)
d. My unfinished hexagons cut from scraps I had laying around from different projects
e. 3 hexagons hand sewn together. The paper will stay in until I have hand sewn all of the hexagons together

I taught myself the "quilter's knot" for this project which reminds me of the fisherman's knot my dad tried to teach me a long time ago. I used 50 weight 100% cotton thread in white. most of the fabric is Amy Butler but I have a little Tina Givens in there and some of the pinks I used in Leslie's Loves Pink

The paper pieces were a bit on the expensive side so I am going to look around to see if I can find a Cricut cartridge that has a hexagon.

I am honored and humbled that 8 of you have decided to follow my blog using Google Connect. I am not sure how many more of you are out there who use an RSS reader. If you're out there, let me know! I'd love to hear your comments or suggestions.

Happy Quilting!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Lovie and Boo - Christmas in July

I've been working hard tonight to list some new cover button jewelry in my shop Lovie and Boo on Etsy. I've decided that it's time to celebrate Christmas in July! As a special incentive to my blog readers I will include a free pair of matching earrings for any bracelet bought between now and August. Just mention that you read my blog in the notes to seller at checkout. Here are a few pictures of the Christmas in July bracelets:









I also have some other really cool bracelets, earrings, rings, and cover buttons listed so go check them out!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Quilt Just For Me - Part 2

I have been looking around for quilt patterns that make me happy and that represent my style for my Quilt Just For Me. I think I've found something that is totally "me"! Katie of Katie Made has a great tutorial available for download from scribed. You can find it from her blog and it's free to download from Scribd if you have an account. I am going to try to only use fabrics from my stash. I may end up getting some solid fabric for the bases because I like that look but all of the strips will definitely be from my stash.



You can check what other versions of these blocks look like on these websites:

Sew I Was Thinking
{Bee Mod} Quilting Bee Flikr group
Tallgrass Prairie Studio
Quiltville
Little Red Hen
Whipup

Projects and Love Pinwheel Quilt - Part 2

I now have PLENTY of fabric to make some of the projects I've had in mind and then some. Enough fabric to last me a long, long, lonnnnnnng time. What's on my list you ask?
  • Make myself a skirt or two
  • Re-fashion some t-shirts with ruffles, rosettes, applique, etc so they are a little more exciting
  • Make baby quilts for my nephews and nieces
  • New cover button jewelry for my Etsy shop Lovie and Boo
  • A quilt for myself (you should too!)
  • Coordinating outfits for my nieces
  • Coordinating outfits for my brother's girlfriend's nieces
  • Burp cloths
  • Decorate my sewing room
  • Wrist rest and mouse pad for my computer
  • Throw pillows for my family room sofa and love seat
  • Euro shams and a throw pillow to match the quilt Ann made me for graduation for our boyish guest room
  • Euro shams, throw pillows, and a quilt to go in my girly guest room
  • Throw pillows for my rec room sofa
  • Make wall art for the girly guest room
  • More blocks for Rainbow Around the Block
Since this a quilting blog I will share with you all some brainstorming ideas I have been tossing around in my head for my pinwheel quilt. I used an Amy Butler Love charm pack and a Bella Solid charm pack in Snow to make the pinwheels and then bordered each pinwheel square with 2.5" strips of Amy Butler Love. I used every fabric in the line (the quilting fabric weight) once in the pinwheel and once around the pinwheel. Each square is a little different. I had 2 boxes left over and some scraps from my strips which I combined in one long strip to put on the back of the quilt.

I originally set out to make a lap quilt because I can do the basting and the quilting myself very easily at that size. The problem is, I think it's going to be too busy unless I do some sort of intervention. Here's the idea of what it's going to look like now:


I am thinking that if I add some sashing between those squares in 1 color (like the snow color I used in the pinwheel) that it would tie the quilt together better and it wouldn't look as busy. What do you think? Any other ideas

Monday, July 19, 2010

Save Money! Chip Chip Cheerio!

I have done absolutely nothing to do with actual quilting and I feel a little guilty about that. I have been doing plenty of shopping though...for myself. I'm not supposed to be because my birthday is next Monday but I couldn't resist the awesome sale going at Fabric.com on Westminster fabrics. $2.49 a yard is rare for high quality fabric like that (normally goes for $9.99 a yard plus shipping). Get at least $35 worth to get the free shipping, use one of the coupon codes at Retail Me Not and save yourself even more money. You're welcome.

I bought 69.5 yards of fabric including yardage by designers Lizzy House (not part of the Westminster sale but still on sale), Valori Wells, Jennifer Pagnelli, Tina Givens, and Free Spirit.

69.5yards x $9.99 = $694.31 (omg don't worry I didn't spend that much)

As you already know, I bought my fabric at a discount and with the super awesome sale and the discount code I only spent $148.48. TOTAL! That's a savings of $545.83!!!!! That's almost 80% off!!!!!

I don't always get such good deals though. In fact, I just recently decided I L.O.V.E. the Red Letter Day line by Lizzy House and paid a premium to snatch up a yard of whatever I could. I managed to snag some of the ducks, trees, and stripes prints but only found one yard of the orange and white color wave of the pearl bracelet print. I would have loved to find that print in every color wave. It makes me really happy. Sadly, I was a little late hopping onto this bandwagon so it's really hard to find (and expensive).

Now I have to use all of that fabric! 

Good luck shopping and Happy Quilting!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I Do Part 3

I am so excited to tell you that my I Do quilt top is DONE! It is a monstrosity. It is almost twice the size of my design board and puddles at the bottom even though I have hung it as high as I can reach. Matt loves it because "it should give us plenty of cover to snuggle under". I love my husband!

Here are some photos of what I could take:


I have really enjoyed this project. It's modern, it's vibrant, it shows off the fabric I selected, it was relatively easy to put together, and even though it's taken me a long time start to finish I probably could have done it in a lot less time if it was my only project. You can buy the pattern here at Cherry House Quilts. I'm not sure about where to send you for the fabric but I purchased most of it online at Fabric Depot and Hancocks of Paducah.

I would LOVE to buy the new Cherri House book City Quilts but it is my birthday on the 26th and I try not to buy anything for myself during my birthday month. I have of course cheated and bought some Lizzy House Red Letter Day fabric. I wish I could have found more but this line seems to be out of production. So sad! If you know of any stores still selling it please let me know!

I hope you're weekend is starting off great! Leave a comment and let me know what projects you're working on right now. I'd love to hear about them!

Happy Quilting!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Rainbow Around the Block Part 3

Hello fans and followers!

I just wanted to give a quick update about Rainbow Around the Block. As you know, I made a few blocks to donate back in June to help out with this project. Anna Maria Horner and her kids made a movie! Check it out:



Now I am inspired to go make some more blocks! What are you working on this weekend?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Gracyn is Going to be a Big Sister!

We just found out my brother and sister-in-law are having another little girl in November! My niece Gracyn turns 2 this December. I am not sure if she knows what is going on but she's very interested in taking care of her baby dolls right now so I think she will be a great Big Sister when the time comes. I am so excited because this gives me an excuse to make some cute baby stuff! Here is Gracyn playing in a dress I made her from Amy Butler Lotus fabrics:

video

And a picture of her in a pinafore I made from IKEA kid fabric


Happy Sewing and Quilting!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The VT Quilt is Finished!

It is done. 

The Breakdown:
*100% Cotton batiks
*Combination of oranges and maroons (VT colors)
*Square blocks made from 6 strip rails
*Blocks were cut using a square ruler turned 45 degrees so that the corners line up between the 3rd and 4th strip
*Blocks were pieced to make a diamond effect
*Backing is maroon with orange and green leaves with gold outline
*Quilted with variegated orange, gold, and maroon thread on top and maroon on the bottom
*Quilting design is 4 petal flowers that echo 3 times with curved lines connecting the flowers
*Binding is the same as the backing

If you haven't been following my blog for this entire project you can check out my older posts for more information:

Making the rails and blocks
Arranging the blocks
Quilt top
Basting and quilting
Finished quilting and trimming
Binding

If you want to make make a quilt like this you will need around 60-72 strips measuring 2.5"x45" (jelly roll size). The actual width of your strip may vary a bit but you want to use the full width of the fabric from selvage to selvage, whatever that may be. Combine a random assortment of 6 strips sewn together on their longest side to create your "rail".

When I first tried this technique (sewing long strips together) with Alissa's Cuddle Nursing Cover my rails started to curve which was really frustrating. I originally planned to do a quilt of all strips but I had to scrap that plan and do a split rail fence instead. I have found the best way to avoid this happening is to alternate the direction I sew the strips together. I think the best way to explain this is a video demonstration so I will try to do that soon. If you have questions in the meantime please send me a message or leave a comment and I will try to explain better.

The number of rails you need may vary a little because you will sometimes get 4 blocks per strips and sometimes only get 3. Press all of the seams flat in 1 direction. I used a combination of a jelly roll for continuity and fabrics from my stash for variance. That may sound strange but adding a few coordinating fabrics outside of a fabric line really adds interest to the quilt.

Cut your blocks using an 8" square ruler (go back to that linked post and check out my illustration). You need 35 blocks to follow my quilt exactly but this will change depending on what size block you use and the size you want your finished quilt to be. I used a square ruler rather than trying to use a straight edge because there's less room for error. As always, be VERY careful not to get your fingers caught in your rotary cutter. I always double and triple check that my ruler hasn't moved as I am cutting.

Arrange your blocks so that they make a diamond design. Don't worry if your seams don't line up perfectly. It is inevitable but that's ok! Do try and keep as straight a 1/4" seam allowance as possible but don't stress out too much. The success of this quilt is not dependent on your ability to do this perfectly. You will sew 7 rows 5 blocks across. Make a quilt sandwich by basting the backing layer, batting, and top together (I use safety pins), quilt, bind, and you'll have yourself a quilt!

Variations:
  • Honestly I think this quilt would look better if it was symmetrical but that's just me. To achieve symmetry with this pattern you would need an even number of rows and columns. I wanted to make this a lap quilt that could be draped over a chair or folded on the back of a couch for snuggling. A 4 column 6 row quilt was too small with my size block and a 6 column 8 row quilt was too big for my size block. Adjust the size of the block, add borders to the outside, or adjust the overall size of the quilt if you want symmetry. 
  • You could arrange the blocks in groupings of 4 with some sashing between each grouping
  • You could mix in some large blocks cut from one piece of fabric
  • You could use smaller strips (you will use more of them for each rail). I didn't have any problem using strips as small as 1" for Maura's Strata Blocks quilt but if you are having trouble with this, you might want to consider paper piecing. Film in the fridge has a great tutorial for using smaller scraps of fabric to achieve a similar look.
  • You could use larger strips (you will use less of them for each rail)


    Here are some pictures of the VT Quilt for your enjoyment. I put every ounce of love and friendship I feel for my friend and her family into this quilt. My hope is that the lucky silent auction bidder enjoys using it as much as I have enjoyed making it and sharing it with you. 

    You can't really tell from that first picture but I added my initials and the year to the bottom left corner (very poorly I might add). I'm still debating on whether or not to add a label to the back. What do you think?

    I'd love to see your version of what I am calling "Strata Diamonds"! Join the Flickr group and upload your own photos. 


    Happy Quilting!

    ps- My block cutting technique does leave you with a pile of scraps. For Mark's strata diamond quilt I used these scraps to create a border. I am going to use the VT Quilt scraps for something else but I haven't decided what that something is yet. Any ideas? 

    UPDATE: The VT quilt was very popular at the silent auction! The quilt sold for $150. I hope the new owners love it!

    Tuesday, July 13, 2010

    The NOVA Modern Quilt Guild - It's Official

    Well, I officially started a web page for The NOVA Modern Quilt Guild!

    My goal is to get enough people interested to have our first guild planning meeting. From there we can get to know each other a little better, decide on the roles our officers will play in the guild, vote on officers, discuss our goals as a guild, and discuss how we will interact with our community.

    I am going to need a lot of help getting this guild up and running so if you are in the Northern Virginia area and are interested in being a founding member or officer of the NOVAMQG leave a comment or send me an email at threadedmess(at)gmail(dot)com letting me know why you consider yourself to be a modern quilter, how you hope to participate in the guild, and your favorite local quilting shop

    Happy Quilting!

    Monday, July 12, 2010

    A Quilt Just For Me

    Since December 2008 when I started quilting and sewing I have made.....

    Quilted Projects
    Leslie Loves Pink
    Alissa's Nursing Cuddle Cover
    Laurie's Lady Bug
    Alissa's Split Rail Fence
    Leslie's Strata Flowers 
    Maura's Strata Squares
    Samantha's Anything Goes
    Mary's Strata Diamonds
    Nick's Color Block Split Rail Fence
    Mark's Strata Diamonds
    Tommy's Lake Shore
    Michael's Tackle Box
    Pete's Crossword Puzzle
    Kate's Scrappy Turtle Coasters
    Laurie's Black and White Quilted Book Cover
    Keith's Manly Quilted Book Cover
    Pat's Purple Quilted Book Cover
    Gloria's Zen Quilted Coffee Cozy
    Babette's Quilted Coffee Cozy
    Anne's Quilted Coffee Cozy
    Susan's Quilted Coffee Cozy 

    Sewing Projects
    A fleece blanket for my mom
    4 Red and Black batik place mat
    3 pinafores for family
    3 pillowcase dresses for family
    2 pairs of baby shoes
    Appliqued onesies for family
    Hair bows
    Flower girl dress
    Dress for my brother's girlfriend's niece
    All sorts of stuff for my Etsy shop Lovie and Boo
    Rainbow Around the Block blocks 

    Works in Progress
    VT Quilt (Silent Action work in progress)  UPDATE: Finished!
    Matt's I Do top (work in progress)


    I have made quilts, covers, cozies, clothing, shoes, hair accessories, broaches, started an Etsy Store where I sell cover button jewelry -- all for other people.  I'm probably forgetting some things but the point is, I haven't made anything just for me! The closest i have come to something for myself is a batik project made from 3 layer cakes (this thing is HUGE), a shirt that came out devastatingly ugly, a skirt with a similar result, my garter belt for my wedding (I didn't have time to do it properly so it was hot-glued together), and my pinwheel project that is still hanging in piles on my design board.  I love making things for others but at some point I've got to enjoy all that hard work right?

    Today Megan at The Bitchy Stitcher posted some teaser photos of her next project: a quilt for herself! I checked it out and I am hooked. I am going to finish up my works in progress, finish up the other two that I have already started (they don't really count because I started them before I found out about this movement), and start a quilt JUST FOR ME!!


    Now the question is: Do I buy more fabric or use what I have? Decisions, decisions....

    NOVA Modern Quilt Guild

    Interestingly enough....the closest modern quilt guild in my area is the D.C. Modern Quilt Guild. So guess what? I am going to try starting a NOVA chapter! Am I crazy? Probably...but if it works out I will be so excited!

    I would love to start a Northern VA group centered in the Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County area. I would like to set this up as The NOVA Modern Quilt Guild. There is a D.C. Modern Quilt Guild and I see that someone was interested in a Fredricksburg Modern Quilt Guild on The Modern Quilt Guild website but I think this area is big enough that we could benefit from having all 3 guilds. I am hoping there are others in my area who are interested!

    If you live in the greater Northern VA area and are interested in being a founding member of the NOVA Modern Quilt Guild please contact me through my blog or leave a comment.  We will need guild leaders and members to get things started and place to meet.

    Happy Quilting!


    UPDATE: Thanks to Patchwork Penguin I'm going to add some more information for those of you who are interested. 


    What is Modern Quilting? 

    There has been a lot of discussion on what is considered a "modern" quilt these days. Some people feel like it is just really, REALLY, REALLY traditional quilting. I have seen a lot of traditional quilt blocks and techniques being updated in a fresh, fun way with modern fabrics and color combinations (check out Anna Maria Horner's blog) and I have seen a lot of "rules" being thrown out the window (check out Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs). I would suggest checking out the "About Us" page on The Modern Quilt Guild page for more information. They describe it much better than I can.


    Why do I consider myself a "Modern" quilter? 
    For me, it's more about attitude towards quilting and style choice. I find myself drawn to clean lined designs like Cherry House Quilts with more simple color palates and patterns that show off the fabric rather than show off my ability to make something from really tiny pieces of fabric (ok--there's some skill issues involved in that, as in: I don't have the skills necessary yet but I'm working on it). I find myself oohing and ahhing over Lizzy House, Heather Bailey, Amy Butler and Joel Dewberry fabrics who take a "modern" approach to colors and patterns. I'm interested in starting a chapter in the NOVA area because I don't know anyone like me quilting in this area yet and I would like to!


    I hope this answers some questions but if not, leave a comment and I will add some more!

    Another VT Quilt Update

    I finally got to sit down and work on the VT quilt tonight. Unfortunately my grand plan of adding more quilting didn't work out. I'm not even going to show you a picture. Luckily I was able to take out most if not all of my offensive stitching and didn't damage the quilt.

    I cut it really close (haha...pun) with my plan to use the scraps from the backing for the binding. I literally had less than 5 inches of fabric leftover. Yikes.

    So the binding is on, I've pressed it, I have hem clips all around the edges because I like seeing a pile of "progress" as I hand stitch the binding to the back, and I'm ready to go.

    Here are some pictures because everyone loves pictures:


    Happy Quilting!

    Sunday, July 11, 2010

    I'm Sick and Tired of These Mother F*ing Ants in this Mother F*ing House!

    Matt inspired the title of this blog post. Think Samuel Jackson and Snakes on a Plane.  Why?

    After a pleasant day of resting, watching the Harry Potter marathon, and Fellowship of the Ring at Matt's request, we retired to our bed for a good night sleep. To our utter dismay, our bathroom was CRAWLING with ANTS!! Up until this point we had seen a few ants in the kitchen but we naively thought that could be solved by setting out a few ant traps. We. Were. WRONG.

    Little did we know, the ants somehow made their way into a hole about the size of pin head in the ceiling of our kitchen pantry, through the insulation, through the sub-flooring, through the carpet, and into our bathroom. Gross.

    Home Owners: 0   |   Ants: 1

    So instead of spending the morning quilting like I WANT to, Husband and I will be committing genocide on the ant population currently living in our home. We will be trying every method we can find for killing them until we find something that works. Poor little ants have no clue what's coming to them.

    ps- we are NOT messy people. Based on the frequency we receive pest control mail I am guessing we inherited this problem from the previous owners. They should have to disclose that in the contract in my opinion.

    UPDATE:

    Home Owners: 1   |   Ants:1

    Saturday, July 10, 2010

    It's in my Mouth and that's not a Good Thing...

    FYI....Lily, that cute adorable little puggle (beagle+pug) puppy playing with my Lucy....keeps farting.


    I can taste them. I know...it's disgusting.


    It's hard to be upset when she's so sweetly sleeping with her head on my leg.


    By the way, I am still in pjs laying on the couch wasting the day and night away watching a Harry Potter marathon on TV. Most who know me personally already know this but I battle with bouts of lethargy, feeling run down, feverish chills, feeling sick, muscle pain, joint pain, fatigue, etc. These symptoms led to me getting a full panel of blood work a while back with a surprising outcome: I have a vitamin D deficiency. At the time of diagnosis I was on the borderline of "severe" and "your-bones-are-going-to-start-getting-all-messed-up-and-junk" (said in the voice of the talking pothole from the Geico commercial). I went through 2 rounds of heavy duty vitamin D pills to get me to a semi-normal level. Apparently I just have trouble absorbing vitamin D because I still struggle with maintaining a healthy level in my body even with supplements. I heard that taking vitamin D can make you burn more easily. Confirmed. I have been spending a lot more time in the sun lately so I stopped taking supplements for now. Today I find myself back on the couch feeling sick once again. Blast you vitamin D! Sorry for no real quilting updates...maybe tomorrow.

    On a more quilting related note, check out my last update on my VT quilt. Do you think it needs more quilting? I'm leaning towards yes. It's times like these when I really wish my MIL lived closer so she could come over, have a glass of wine, and tell me what she thinks. I miss her.

    Wingardium Leviosa

    OMG Harry Potter Marathon on ABC Family with production clips from The Deathly Hallows!

    There goes any chance at being productive today....

    I will be sitting on the couch in front of the TV all day, using commercial breaks as an opportunity to go to the bathroom or get a fresh Cherry Coke Zero, and watching my dog Lucy play with her friend Lily. I might also try and get a few thank you notes done.

    I will post a video of Lucy and Lily playing later. I have no idea where the USB cable is for our flip therefore I am waiting for Matt to get home and find it for me. He's off gallivanting with his hockey buddies at a stick-and-puck.

    UPDATE: I must really be in a Harry Potter haze because the flip does not need a cable to plug into the computer. Here's a video of the puppies playing:


















    It looks a bit violent to me but they seem to enjoy it. The little one is a bit scrappy isn't she? She's definitely the instigator lol. Yes that's a box I still haven't unpacked from when we moved into our townhouse in March. Yes that's half of an old towel serving as a "rug" in front of my back door. Yes those are chair cushions; they are for the bistro table and chairs in my backyard. I don't want them to get bleached out! No those are not DVDs; they are books because I CAN read despite my apparent inability to follow pattern instructions. Just look at the puppies playing. Aren't they cute? So cute! Forget about all of that other stuff.

    I hope you are enjoying your Saturday doing whatever you may be doing!

    I Finished Quilting the VT Quilt...Now it's Time for Bed

    So--my choice in quilting didn't end up being exactly like I planned...it actually looks pretty strange up close. From far away not so bad, but up close it's one hot mess. Oh well--I was trying something new other than stippling. Ok ok, it doesn't look THAT bad and Matt thinks it looks "really cool". I am giving myself an "E" for effort and calling it a night so I can go to bed and rest my eyes. Tomorrow I will see if I have enough fabric to make a binding from the leftovers from my quilt backing. For now here are some more pics:

    Goodnight!

    Friday, July 9, 2010

    VT Quilt Pictures

    I guess I didn't sleep very well last night because I woke up so tired. I know I am not going to get very much done tonight so I thought I would preemptively post pictures of the quilt before I take it down from my design wall and make an attempt at quilting it some more.





    I decided to try something a little different than just my standard stippling. The quilting is a 4 petal flower that echos 3 times right now but I am going to connect all of the flowers somehow....I guess I will figure that out tonight. I've been really inspired lately to try something different from my standard stippling because I've been reading Leah Day's 365 Days of Free Motion Quilting Filler Designs blog. You rock Leah. You totally rock. If you haven't checked her site out, "do it".



    Happy Quilting!

    VT Quilt Update

    Last night I put all of my quilt top blocks together and was shocked to find that I still had a couple of hours left before I needed to force myself to go to bed.

    One thing you should know about me: on my best days I am a night owl. I will go to bed around 12 or 1230, read for an hour or so, and then turn my lights off. On my worst of days, I stay up until 230 or 3 quilting and when I get to bed I am still mind stippling a quilt or rearranging blocks on my design board. To have even a chance at going to sleep I have to read something to "reset" my brain. I made the enormous mistake of reading the Twilight books (I actually love the books but they are so ADDICTIVE) and on several occasions stayed up all night reading. I have since learned to read books I am capable of putting down at night, and to save the good ones for weekends and vacations. 

    So back to the quilt top. I decided to go ahead and make my "quilt sandwich" since I had extra time. To make a long story short and keep myself from rambling (hopefully) I couldn't find any tape. Agh! So I decided I would use my ironing board, iron, safety pins, and these clasp thingies I got a long time ago to put my layers together and baste. I also couldn't find my clasp thingies.  I think this is going to end poorly.

    I don't have any pictures right now because 1230 came along and all I could do was look over at my camera just out of reach from where I was sitting and back at my quilt pinned to my design board several times. I decided rather than take a picture I would call it a day and work on it some more this weekend after work.

    On a side note, I just finished reading the funniest tutorial on quilt binding ever! Megan....you are hilarious. I needed a good laugh today. Thank you!

    Thursday, July 8, 2010

    How to Resize an Embedded Video

    I was recently inspired to share a trick on embedding and resizing videos in blog posts and I thought I would share for anyone interested in doing the same. 

    Most of you are probably familiar with YouTube.com but if not, check it out. I have found all sorts of free video tutorials for quilting techniques, sewing clothing, editing photos, etc. I have noticed that sometimes embedded videos don't exactly fit in the "body" area of a blog web page and hang over into the sidebar or "gadget" area. This is based on the type of template you are using on your blog and the size of the tables the template is coded for.

    For example, this is the video the Missouri Star Quilt Company posted on YouTube to announce a giveaway which I won! However, the default size of the video exceeds the width of the content area of my blog. I would really like to re-design my blog so that I better utilize the space but that is a project for another day. For now, I just resize the embedded video! Here it is directly from YouTube:



    Wow...that's a big video! It totally covers up my sidebar area where you can see my previous posts, followers, flicker photos, etc. and I really don't want that so I am going to resize it. There are a couple of different ways to do this. You can copy the embed code directly from YouTube and paste it into the body of your post. When you do this you will see the HTML text and you can edit it from there. The code starts with something like this:

    object width="640" height="385"

    That little bit of code defines the size of the video but it's not the only culprit. Towards the end of that code you will see that the width and height are defined again. To change the size of the video you will need to change the values in both places. I changed this video so that the width is 400 and the height is 285:



    Much better right? You can play around with these numbers a bit and preview your post to see how it will look to get just the right size for your post on your blog. However, be careful to only replace the numbers in the code and to not remove any of the spaces or punctuation because they are both part of the HTML "language" and without them your code will be "broken". If you accidentally do this, delete the entire bit of code for the video (not the text you have written though--that should still be ok), paste a fresh version, and make your changes. Simple right?

    If you don't see the code text (you will probably see your embedded video there instead) there is another way to see and edit it. You'll notice as you are creating a Blogger post (I am not sure about other blogs) that there are two tabs above the area where you type: "Edit HTML" and "Compose". Blogger is set up to automatically start you on the Compose tab but as you write text, make certain words bold, change the font, etc. you are actually writing HTML. Blogger automatically "writes" the HTML for you as you type but you can see the HTML code at any time by clicking the Edit HTML tab. Click over to the Edit HTML tab, look for the section where your video is embedded, change the values from that screen, and then switch back over to the Compose tab. It's that easy!

    Hopefully this information will be helpful to you. I use Blogger but I know there are other blog hosting sites out there that are likely set up very differently. If you have a question about how to do this on the blog host you use just send me an email and I will do my best to help you figure it out.

    Now go out there and resize some embedded videos!

    UPDATE: I have checked this post out on a couple of different computers and realized that in some cases, the video doesn't "hang" over the content area. Instead, part of the video display is hidden. You can tell if this is the case if any of the 4 sides of the video aren't visible.

    Wednesday, July 7, 2010

    VT Quilt

    Here are a few photos of what I did tonight for the VT quilt tonight. It didn't photograph as well as it looks in person. That purple is really a maroon that matches the VT colors pretty well. The blocks still need to be sewn together but I think I made a lot of progress for one night! 


    One More Thing...

    Since my iron is out of commission and I don't have a replacement yet, I didn't really know what to do with myself last night. I decided to stop passive-aggressively avoiding Matt's I Do quilt borders and took my stitches between the blue border and the pink and purple border out. I took my time and was very careful and luckily nothing bad happened.

    The next step is to add some fabric to the pink and purple border strips so that they will accommodate the addition of the black border. I will sew the black border on and then add the longer pink and purple border back on.

    Finally, I will find a fabric for the back. This thing has gotten really big with the addition of borders so I am either going to have to piece something together or find something equally big. Have you ever used a bedding sheet for a quilt back before? I am intrigued by this idea but I don't have any experience with it personally.

    Someday I'll have Hate Comments Too!

    Today I announced my blog to my facebook friends. I am hoping that this will lead to more people reading my blog and potentially more followers. I have to be honest though...I feel a bit exposed.

    My fear is that someday, probably not anytime soon, my casual announcement to my facebook friends that I have a blog will lead to some random reader not liking something I have to say who will then leave a comment that will totally throw me off guard. Don't get me wrong...I would love to have readers and followers. I want you to do both! I want you to tell your friends and link to my pages and use the information I put up. Why else would I go to the trouble? But becoming that popular may also mean that I will potentially have "haters" too....I guess that's the price I can only hope I will pay.

    For example: The Bitchy Sticher's Speaking of Crack post

    If you read down to the comment section on that post you will see that Megan has reached a status level that has inevitably led to a "hater" comment. (see her comments from "Anonymous" but not "Anonymous Deborah")


    I think "Anonymous" must have been suffering from a Sneaky Hate Spiral. It's hard for me to imagine any other explanation for her sudden outburst of negativity. Why that post? Why that blog? To paraphrase Allie Brosh, the Sneaky Hate Spiral is a series of unfortunate annoyances and incidents exceeding the maximum threshold someone can handle that culminates in an irrational, random outburst of anger.

    (picture from Allie's post on Hyperbole and a Half)

    Allie describes this condition in humorous detail on her blog making me LOL several times. She has long surpassed the status level necessary to start receiving hater comments and (for the most part I think) beyond the point of caring.

    About this blog....

    This blog is a glorified journal. Sometimes it's about quilting, sewing, and/or crafting. Sometimes it's not.

    I'm not a professional writer and I don't claim to be. Is "crafter" a word? I think it is but the spelling checker tells me it's not. When I see letters in all caps, underlined, italicized, etc. I infer (if I am reading) or am attempting to convey (if I am writing) that word is meant to be "said" differently: loud, angry, excited, secretive, etc. The spelling checker may want me to type "OK" rather than "ok" but to me (and I would assume my generation)...."OK" and "ok" mean something different. We grew up using AOL instant messenger and text. We use what I like to call "geek speak":

    LOL = laughing out loud (or if it's my Aunt Marta it means "lots of love" -- but only for her!)
    ROFL = rolling on the floor laughing
    QQ = someone crying
    RTM = read the mannual

    I could go on but I won't. 

    I'm not a professional quilter. I have a million ideas in my head for my own artistic creations but little experience and few skills I can use to execute them. Until I have learned all I need to know about the basics, I am going to keep trying out tutorials and patterns created by others. I always try to give credit to the original creator or warn in advance that I am shooting from the hip, going it alone, making it up as I go, or some other way to say "I don't know what I am doing".

    I am human and I make mistakes. I'd love to know about them so I can correct them. Thank you in advance.

    I appreciate you reading my blog. I would love suggestions for improvement, comments, reassurance, anything! I would love to get to the point where I have readers/followers who interact with me through my blog and help me become a better quilter/blogger/person.

    I am hoping that Matt and I can someday reach a point financially where I can stay home with our kids and have a small business on the side where I make.....something. I don't know what that will end up being but I know if I keep trying new things out I will find something I am great at. When I do figure out what that something is, you will most certainly hear about it from me on my blog! I consider this glorified journal to be a long term investment in a potential outlet for marketing myself/my products. You've been warned.

    To wrap things up because I know this post is getting really long....I am not so vain that I expect everyone will like me and what I have to say, but I am naive and sensitive enough to hope that you will so if you don't, break it to me gently please! I would like to avoid Sneaky Hate Spiral comments if at all possible.

    And become a follower of my blog....That would make me really happy.

    Tuesday, July 6, 2010

    Wedding Wishes

    I have been cleaning up my computer to get rid of files I no longer need and came across a file named "Wedding Wishes". I remember writing it to give myself something to look at when I was getting too stressed out but I guess I didn't feel like it was finished so I didn't print it out and then forgot about it at some point. Here's what I wrote:
     
    "I hope our friends and family are safe as they travel to and from the wedding
    I hope our wedding represents the love that we feel for each other
    I hope every aspect of our life is an extension of our love for each other
    I hope I get blisters on my feet from too much dancing
    I hope my cheeks hurt from too much laughing
    I hope my eyes wrinkle from too much smiling
    I hope we not only love each other, but stay IN love with each other through all of life’s challenging and joyful moments
    I hope we grow closer each day in respect and love for one another and others
    I hope our wedding day is only one of many beautiful and memorable days in our life together"


    As far as I know, other than a towing incident that almost happened everyone was safe as they traveled to the wedding. I can absolutely say with confidence that the wedding represented the love we feel for each other. I didn't get blisters but I was VERY glad to take my shoes off once I got to the reception and I kept them off the whole evening. I probably would have gotten flip flops for the reception if I had a second chance. I definitely smiled and laughed a lot. Our wedding day was definitely filled with beautiful memories. It's been just over a month since Matt and I said "I do" and looking back, I wouldn't have changed a thing!  (other than the flip flops of course!)

    Monday, July 5, 2010

    WANTED: Quilting Iron

    I've been super busy this weekend quilting away on my pinwheel quilt and a special quilt to donate to a family friend who is raising money for a scholarship at Virginia Tech in her late husband's honor. It's pretty amazing how much I was actually able to do!

    My pinwheel blocks are all ready to be sewn together. I have a couple more inches on the top and bottom to play with so I'm going to have to decide what to do for a boarder.

    I started sewing my "rails" from a jelly roll pack and some strips cut from a couple of the batiks I had in my stash for the VT quilt. Although they looked a little off as strips, once I started sewing them together they started to look really good! I will be honest though...I did not know what I was going to make when I started sewing. I just started sewing the strips together, thought about how they looked, and decided on the fly what to do. So as I was sewing, 4 strips really looked too small. I knew I wanted to do something a bit fancier than just a split rail fence so I kept going but 5 didn't look like enough either. I sewed the 6th strip on and I finally felt like I had something beautiful and interesting. I have an 8" square ruler and used it to cut squares from my strip on an angle like so:

    Cutting at an angle like this will give me the option to assemble the blocks so that they give a diamond effect like so:

    I used this same technique for Mark's quilt I showed you in this post but this time I have enough strips to make enough squares to not have to worry about using the scraps from the diamonds. I will use those for another project. My blocks are 8" and will be 7.5" finished. I will do 5 blocks across and 7 blocks down and need a total of 35 blocks. I currently have 12 cut and have strips sewn together for another 32. I am saving 6 strips just in case I am not able to get what I am hoping to from the strips that are sewn together. If I don't have enough I will work in the last 6 strips so that everything still matches. Just as I was pressing the last set of strips, my iron stopped working. What a bummer! Leave me a comment if you have any suggestions for a good iron for quilting.

    I hope you  had a wonderful 4th of July!

    PS--these pictures were created with Tux Paint. There is no rotary cutter stamp but hopefully the scissors stamp is self explanatory. 

    Friday, July 2, 2010

    Love Pinwheels - Part 1

    I thought I would share a few pictures of what I have been up to tonight! I got my order from the Missouri Star Quilt Company which included an Amy Butler Love charm pack and Bella Solid white charm pack which I am going to use to make a pinwheel quilt. I know, I know...this is the same combination of fabrics used in the Missouri Star demo of the pinwheel technique but I llllooovvvvveeeeeddddd it sooooooo much and I am a sucker for Amy Butler fabrics anyways. I feel a bit unoriginal but I know I am going to love it when it's done and it will look beautiful in my girly guest room.

    So here are some pictures but pay no attention to the fact that my threads don't match, that there's all sorts of junk under my extension table, or that there's a Chinese takeout menu under there...

    Starting to sew the squares with the "right" sides together:


    I sewed until I got a 1/4" from the edge, left my needle down, and turned the corner:


    A couple of pictures of one of my squares sewn on all 4 sides. I probably didn't need to back stitch but it's habit:



    I just realized that I didn't take any pictures while cutting but that's probably for the best because I am very accident prone. Here are my triangles:


    I ironed all of the seams the same direction:


    Here are my squares ready to be made into pinwheels:


    I brought them to my sewing area and chain stitched them top to bottom:



    The look a bit like flags when they are chained stitched like this:



    I cut all of the now rectangles:


    Finally, I stacked my rectangles so I can continue tomorrow. I will press them and get them ready to be sewn into pinwheel squares:


    One last picture...My little "helper" was at it again. She kept trying to get under my table to lay down and I kept having to send her away because she was in the way of my pedal. She looks so pitiful!!


    I've decided that I am going to take off the pink and purple border so I can add the second black border. I know it's a waste of thread and will be time consuming but I also know that I will love it that much more when it's all done.