Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Threaded Mess

True confession: I am an extremely. big. slob.

When it comes to sewing...

I tend to cut, piece, and trim with reckless abandon...
I dump my scraps in big cheese ball containers until they get so full that I'm forced to go through them and organize...
I toss pretty much everything in a pile...
I do keep my shelves and drawers fairly organized but once it's out of the drawer or off the shelf there's no telling where it will end up...
As messy as I am, I can usually find just about anything I'm looking for. In fact, I have a harder time finding things when I clean up because I forget where I put things for "safe keeping". I do eventually clean up when things start falling over or get in the way of whatever project I am working on.

All this is just further proof of why I consider myself a Threaded Mess...

Happy Quilting

Monday, November 28, 2011

Liz is Having Twins

My big (sorority) sister Liz and her husband Norm (aka Jum) are expecting twins!


To celebrate the occasion, Liz's friends and family threw her a shower and I was invited. I went down to stay with Liz the night before so I was there to help out with some of the food preparation, setup, and to take poorly lit pictures.

I was so excited to learn that they are having little girls and that their nursery will be in pinks and purples. I used the nursery color scheme as a theme for the entire gift.

I packaged Liz's gift in a pink and purple book tote from Barnes and Noble with a big pink bow:
Inside the bag were two classic tales, Peter Pan and The Secret Garden, and two little quilts for two sweet, little girls.
I know the blue throws things off a bit but I think the girls will love Wendy's adventure. Also there were no coordinating Barnes and Noble leather-bound classic books in pink that were the same size as Secret Garden. Such is life.

I decided to make the twins some patchwork car seat quilts since Liz's mom was making all the bedding for the nursery. I made one more purple and one more pink but a couple of prints appear in both quilts:
The backs are the same solid pinks and purples as you see bordering the squares on the front. I used this technique for the 2.5" squares as practice for the larger quilt I plan to make someday soon. I think Liz really liked them, but I am hoping the twins will grow to love them!

Happy Quilting

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Oak Grove Silent Auction 2011

This year I decided to make a more simple quilt appropriate for a child or baby rather than a more traditional and sophisticated quilt like last year.

I am hoping the Oak Grove parents will LOVE splurging on this beauty:
quilt modeled zombie style by my MIL Ann

I used my all time favorite Amy Butler print, Honeycomb in aqua, for the backing and this cool yellow and yellow-orange print I found at my local Hancok Fabrics for the binding. It reminds me of Sashiko stitching and I love the unexpected touch of yellow! The quilt finished at around 42"x54" which I think will be a perfect size for a kiddo to snuggle under.

I hope it finds a nice home later this month when it is auctioned off at my mom's school.

Happy Quilting

UPDATE: This quilt wasn't the big hit I was hoping for. I'm a little upset about it. My mom thinks it's just the economy but I am more inclined to think that people don't understand the value of a well made quilt vs. a 'blanket'. She ended up buying the quilt for $40 and I am 'buying' it back from her by making her something custom for her house.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


As some of you all may have deduced from some of my previous posts, my husband and I became pregnant with our first baby a few months ago. Sadly, we miscarried in September. This is the biggest tragedy our marriage has faced so far. We were heartbroken, but our faith in God and the love and support from our friends and family helped us through.

When I came across the quote above, it really struck a chord with me. Most people I see on a day to day basis don't know about the weight that is sitting on my heart, or that I am taking a 'fake it 'till you make it' approach with my smile. At the same time, the same could be true for the people I see day to day. We all carry burdens in some way or another.

Holidays are always tough for me because I think about the loved ones who are no longer with me and and all my hopes for the previous year that haven't come true yet. I fear this year will be much the same. I'll be thinking of our loss, of how my belly isn't growing because of the baby I carry, how we're not picking out things for the nursery...

As a way to ease my own grief, this holiday season I am going to try to focus on what I am thankful for, and start hoping for next year. 

I am thankful for my husband. He is such an amazing partner in life, dedicated to providing for our family, so appreciative and supportive of everything I do, and so loving. He's my best friend.

I am thankful that God has put so many wonderful family members and friends in our lives who knew just what to say and do to ease our grieving hearts. 

I am thankful for my relationship with my family and with my husband's family. Love abounds.

I am thankful for my church community, both in Northern Virginia and South West Virginia. We are rich in prayers. Going to church every Sunday has really strengthened our marriage and enriched our lives. 

I am thankful for the doctors and nurses who provided me with medical care throughout our pregnancy, miscarriage, and aftercare. There's no doubt in my mind that they did everything they could for us. They were even able to tell us that we were pregnant with a baby boy. All along we were thinking it was a baby girl and had even named her Allison Grace. When we found out the news we decided to change his name to Alexander Gabriel. A strong name for a baby in Heaven.

I am thankful for quilting and that I am able to give back to my community through my hobby. I don't think I ever had a 'you are called' moment like some people do. Still, I feel like quilting both heals me and that I am able to help/heal/love others in my own way by donating my work to charities or giving quilted gifts to friends and family.

I am thankful for 'enough'. Enough money in the bank, enough food in the pantry. I have a roof over my head, a job that pays the bills, a car that gets me from A to B. Not everyone can say that.

I am thankful I live not just in a house, but a home. There is a difference. My home with my husband is filled with the wags and loving licks of our sweet black lab Lucy, has comfy places to rest, displays artwork made for us, or I made, or my husband and I picked out together, has rooms and things for entertaining our friends and family, a kitchen to cook together in, and spaces to create and play in.

I am thankful for this prayer as it has helped me through many a tough spot:
God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

--Reinhold Niebuhr
I am thankful for the blog world as it is an outlet to share my life and be a part of others. I doubt I would have met so many wonderful people and learned so many wonderful things otherwise. Thank you for stopping by to read here and for your comments you've left me. Today is a particularly heavy sharing day for me, but I hope you all won't mind. I have some great posts in the works and they are almost all quilt related. I promise.

I  hope I can continue to be thankful for all the blessings in my life. I hope that one day soon my husband and I will be blessed with another baby. I hope I can continue being a good wife, daughter, sister, friend.

I hope that I have enough strength to overcome whatever battles the next year brings.

I hope I'm kind to everyone I meet.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Quilt Blocks for do. Good Stitches

I was a little behind on my blocks for do. Good Stitches but thankfully everyone was understanding.

These blocks are going to Lindsay (more info here) for September:
And these are on their way to Kat (more info here) for October:
Now I just have to make my November blocks and I will be all caught up!

Happy Quilting

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Postage Stamp Quilt

Awhile back I fell in love with this little number by my friend from afar, Heather:

my postage stamp!  :)
That lady has a way with blues, greens, and browns that makes me melt. I can't tell you how many projects of hers I've added to my favorites, but this quilt in particular spoke to me. I thought the color palate would be perfect for our family room and a much needed step away from the girly quilts I tend to make.

I comment on Heather's blog and flickr photos a lot and we've chatted many times about good books we've read. I decided that we were on friendly enough terms for me to contact her to see if she would be willing to swap with me, some pre-cut patchwork squares in above palate for some money. Instead, she suggested I make her a couple of circle of geese blocks. I was oh so happy to make that trade!

This block was a challenge for me since I'd only tried it once before under the expert tutelage of 'Grandma', my quilty friend Sabrina's grandmother. I ended up piecing one of my blocks on the wrong side but I got the fundamentals.
Circle of Geese

Heather asked for blue geese on a neutral background. I decided to go with aqua and turquoise blues on Kona Medium Gray:
For Heather
She approved so I went for it! Once I made the first corner, the rest were pretty easy. I did go ahead and make templates, cut, and number my pieces. I wasn't too careful about it and gave myself extra room but it was still very helpful to have the right shapes for each piece and to have everything cut out ahead of time. Since the first corner I made on the first block was a little off, I ended up making her 3 instead:
You can see my numbers on some of the blocks but I washed them before I sent them off. Which was a mistake. Big. So big, in fact, that I decided to send her a bonus item since I didn't have time to make more blocks:
Yep. She got that pretty little quilted book cover. I had to. It matched. Sorry Hollie!

You can see Heather's pictures of what I sent her on her blog. They are better than my pictures. Make sure to check back with her so you can see what she ends up making with the blocks I sent!

In exchange for my blocks and the bonus book cover, Heather sent me a bag full of wonderful little 2.5" squares for me to combine with fabrics from my stash and make my own Postage Stamp quilt. Of course, being me, I immediately sorted all of the squares by print and color:
And then by tone:
Now they live in this bag while I cut fabrics from my stash:
Which I am slowly but surely doing whenever I can steal some time away from all the other things I am catching up on.
Believe it or not, I've almost gotten through that entire stack!

Happy Quilting

ps - I think it's time to lint roll my design wall. See all those strings?

Friday, November 18, 2011

Quilt for Jade

Our next quilt with Journey4Acure was designed by Amie for Jade. Amie has a daughter right around the same age as Jade so she was able to help Amie pick out a block and color scheme. We used this tutorial to make orange and pink Rolling Stone blocks:

I am really looking forward to seeing this as a finished quilt but for now I'll have to wait since it's my fault Amie didn't get her blocks on time. I'm slowly but surely catching up...

For some reason I'm having trouble uploading pictures on blogger. Anyone else?

Happy Quilting

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quilt for Aiden

The NOVA Modern Quilt Guild has started a new charity project in our area with Journey4Acure. Their organization is devoted to raising funds to advance research efforts and development of a cure for pediatric cancer, while creating broader awareness about the realities of pediatric cancer and providing support networks & valuable resources for families facing their own journeys. I took that straight from their website because I couldn't have said it better.

Our guild is teaming up with their organization to make a special quilt for a boy or girl each month. We're doing this almost exactly like my do.Good Stitches charity bee except in addition to committed quilters and stitchers, we also open up the quilt to anyone in the guild who can't commit full time but wants to participate in that month's quilt.

For our first quilt in September, going to baby Aiden, Kari asked us to make blue and green wonky cross blocks using the directions by Elizabeth Hartman for SewMama Sew.

The tutorial calls for 4 blocks sewn together but Kari also had us make an extra couple of blocks so she could mix them in with blocks made by the other ladies. I'm pretty fond of my blocks:
To finish off the blocks, Kari added some white sashing and some fancy piecing for the back.
The icing on the cake is the beautiful label Kristy designed and Amie customized for the back of the quilt.
This beautiful quilt will be off to cheer up its owner later this month.

Happy Quilting

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Quilting Bucket List

The lovely peeps at Gen Q have revealed their quilting bucket lists today and I was inspired to put some of my own goals in writing too. In no particular order, the following are goals I would like to accomplish in my lifetime...

1) Attend a week long quilting retreat. So far I've only been on weekend retreats and it seems like a significant portion of my time is wasted while I'm setting up or breaking down my stuff. It wouldn't have to be fancy or formal, though a cruise would be super sweet.

2) Make a queen sized 1" English paper pieced hexagon quilt. This is actually in progress now but I am well aware it may take me several years to finish.
Tutorial on my method coming soonish
3) Buy a fancy sewing machine. Right now I sew with a 15 year old Bernina 1260 and it works very well considering. However, it doesn't have any fancy features, is heavy, and is pretty loud compared to the newer models. I have been eying the Bernina Aurora 440QEs but it's out of my budget at the moment.

4) Teach a class. I have demonstrated my English paper piecing method at a quilt show, retreat, and at my house for my modern quilt guild members, but I consider those less formal. I would really like to teach a class at a quilt shop or quilt show where people pay to take it and I teach them something that's worth their money.

5) Make some quilts to hang on my own walls. I have made 3 wall quilts for other people during flickr swaps but I haven't made anything like that for my own home. I would really like to make some wall quilts to match this one given to me in the For the Love of Solids flickr swap:
For the Love of Solids [a modern swap] - wall quilt - complete.

6) Design a fabric line. Even if my fabric is only ever on Spoonflower, I want to go through the process of designing the patterns, infusing a color palate, printing the fabric, and using it in a project.

7) Be published in an in-print magazine or book. This may not actually be as elusive as I think it is, but it seems like you have to be pretty fancy to be published in print. Editors must be looking for projects that are editorial and unique, in just the right colors, well photographed, and with well done instructions. I don't think I'm there yet. 

8) Make clothes for my own children. I've made a few pillowcase dresses and other little things for my nieces and appliqued a few things for my nephews but I think it would be wonderful to do these things for my own babies. For now, we're praying for God's blessings.

9) Sell a quilt to a stranger. So far, I have sold quilts to friends and family members to give to others as gifts. I would really love to sell my quilts online or at a craft show and have the satisfaction that complete strangers value my work.

10) Go to the Spring or Fall quilt market. What an adventure that would be! I would love to see new lines before they come out (and buy them), browse booths, go to Lizzy's cake party, meet my favorite designers, and see the industry from a different perspective.

I can already say that I've led a workshop in my guild, demonstrated at a quilt show, white gloved a quilt show, sold tickets for a guild raffle quilt, been to the Mid-Atlantic Quilt Festival in Hampton Virginia, founded and grown a quilt guild, made a quilt to be auctioned off for charity (actually 3), made preemie quilts, been to a quilt retreat, made a king sized quilt and many other smaller quilts, was featured on an e-zine, did some tutorials, sold some quilts to family/friends, made myself something to wear, started a blog, and so on. In just 3 years of quilting I feel I have accomplished a lot and I'm ready for more.

So what's on your bucket list?

Happy Quilting

Monday, November 7, 2011

Industrial Cottage Baby Sling Giveaway

I've been neglecting to post my winnings from another giveaway but I feel compelled to finally fess up. I was waiting to announce the good news along with some other good news but that didn't exactly happen the way I thought and prayed it would. We are still hopeful we will be blessed with another baby in the future, but for now, check out this adorable cutie pie (all photos are from The Industrial Cottage Inc):
Oh how I love that Anna Maria Horner print paired with those baby blues!

Industrial Cottage did a giveaway through Dear Lillie, one of my favorite blogs, and I was the lucky winner. For my winnings I selected the Gray and Sunny Yellow baby sling and it arrived made to order, just my size.

You can check out all of Molly's lovely slings in her Etsy shop and read more about what she does on her blog.

Many thanks to Molly for sponsoring the giveaway, many thanks to Jenni for hosting the giveaway, and many thanks to the Random Number generator for picking me!

Banner Day Giveaway Winner

This post is LONG overdue! I am so sorry for the delay Shea!

The lovely Shea of Empty Bobbin Sewing Studio generously did a giveaway for her banner pattern back in June and I was lucky enough to be one of the 3 winners. I had grand hopes of making a banner from the pattern and announcing my winnings that way, but one thing led to another in June and then July and so on. I still haven't made a banner yet but I uncovered my pattern recently below some junk on  my computer desk and immediately gasped in shock! How could I be so careless??

I hope Shea will forgive me and I hope she won't mind me stealing some pictures from her post since I don't have any of my own to share.

 I love her colorful versions!
I plan on making one or more which all together will say 'keep calm quilt on' to decorate my sewing room, but this pattern would work for just about anything including bridal showers, baby showers, baby/kid rooms, or the holidays.

I hope you'll check out her pattern at Pink Chalk Fabrics and other online retailers. Thanks again Shea!

Happy Quilting