Monday, April 29, 2013

The Continuation of a Wall Hanging

I spent more time in my sewing "nook" over the weekend than I had anticipated. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate so Backyard Bible Club was postponed until this coming Saturday... Praying for a dry Saturday at this point!

While I did quilt a bit more than I had anticipated, I still don't feel like I really accomplished anything. I stared at a pile of fabric for several hours, cut a bit here and there, and still struggled to come up with something I liked for the next block in my Philippians 4:8 Wall Hanging.

I mentioned last week that I had chosen Urban Mod by AGF because I wanted to bring more yellow into my living room. I tried adding Kona Canary into a couple of the blocks. I am not sure if I like how the blocks turned out. The yellow seems too bright, but using my color card it seems to work the best with the yellows in the prints.

The Fabrics I Am Using

Kona Canary Seems To Work

Afraid that the yellow comes off as too bright... 

 Second block using the yellow... 

 Really like this block, but afraid it doesn't blend well with the others, it might be too gray/blue... But I really like how it turned out. 

I did layout all of the completed blocks and tried to come up with an arrangement that allows for the yellow to possibly blend a bit more. The blocks are currently different sizes and shapes so I will have to work that out. I still have two other blocks to work on, and then I will sash them together. My hope is that I will be able to make everything blend well with the sashing. I still haven't decided whether or not that blending should involve adding more yellow, or not.  

All of my completed blocks pinned up on my design wall, not in any order/arrangement. 

I did complete a couple more Farmer's Wife blocks, but I would blog more about that later in the week.

Linking up with Let's Get Acquainted by Plum and June - hosted this week by Kirsten @ Gemini 

Friday, April 26, 2013

Farmer's Wife Blocks 1 & 2

I did not accomplish much in the way of sewing/quilting this week. I knew it was going to be busy, but I did have hopes...

I order the Farmer's Wife Quilt Sampler book on a whim almost a year ago... And I still hadn't had a chance to do anything with it. I read the letters here and there, and looked at the quilt squares in the book, but that is it.

The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: Letters from 1920s Farm Wives and the 111 Blocks They Inspired

One of my biggest dilemma's was that I wasn't sure about the fabric. I didn't want to go scrappy, I wanted a fun fabric, yet classic fabric/colors that I would love for a long time... I have actually never made a quilt for myself, and I think this one will be mine when it is finally finished.

After I bought a few fat quarters of PB&J by BasicGray I started to feel like that just might be the fabric for this quilt. I did some shopping around to see what kind of prices I could get on a bundle of PB&J and I found an amazing deal at Knotted Thread.

I ordered a Fat Eighth Bundle, as well as a few 1/2 yard pieces of my favorite prints. It was a great price to start with ($44 for 40 fat eighths!) and then I got 15% off my entire order by using the coupon code from Rachel @ Stitched in Color. It was a very pleasant experience, I actually forgot to use the coupon code, and then emailed Jennifer at Knotted Thread and told her, so she refunded me the 15%, and she only charges what shipping actually costs! I got the fabric in two business days!

As soon as I got the fabric I couldn't resist diving in. I selected the fabric I would use for the first two blocks. I printed the templates and I got to work.

Fabric for Block 1

Fabric for Block 2

Block #1

Block #2

I am not used to working with templates instead of typical fabric cutting instructions, so that will take some getting used to. I realize that in the quilting blogosphere there has been a quilt along that was hosted by Fussy Cut, There is now a Farmer's Wife 2013 Discussion group on Flickr and Ellie @ Craft Sew Create is hosting a Farmer's Wife Friday Linky Party where you can link up and show off your latest Farmer's Wife Blocks! I am linking up with her today. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

This Week's Projects... Catching Up on SkillBuilder BOM and Improv Wall Hanging

This week will be a rather busy week, and I am not sure how much quilting/sewing I will actually accomplish.
Instead of a regular Summer Vacation Bible School our church is hosting Back Yard Bible Clubs in various neighborhoods in our community, these clubs will take place 4 different Saturdays throughout the year... The first one is this coming Saturday and we are hosting one in our backyard! Yikes, we haven't had enough "Spring" to really get our yard in order! Hopefully this week will be beautiful and I will get a lot accomplished in the yard and the house... And of course we are all praying for dry weather Friday/Saturday... We shall see.

As for quilting projects...

Last Thursday the April Skill Builders BOM from Alyssa @ Pile of Fabric was released, I hadn't finished March's (actually I hadn't started on them ;) last Thursday. I was really excited about the April blocks, but I absolutely wasn't going to start on April without doing March, so Friday I got to work on those blocks.

Block #5 wasn't bad at all, I whipped that one out in no time and I actually liked it. I have had some motivation issues with the Skill Builders BOM because I don't really like the fabric I am using for it. I am determined to use scraps, and most of these scraps are from a bunch of baby quilts I made when I first started quilting and while I love the fabrics in and of themselves, I just don't like them for this project.

Block #6 wasn't difficult in and of itself, but it was very time consuming for me. Just cutting out all of the HSTs and QSTs took me quite sometime. With this Skill Builders BOM I am not accepting "just okay." I am using this BOM to learn some foundational skills that I never learned when teaching myself to quilt, so I am determine to do things "right." 

I like the way block #6 turned out as well. I used coordinating scraps, from Clementine by My Three Sisters (I believe). 

So here is a picture of all 6 of my completed Skill Builder BOMs... I plan to "Quilt As You Go," but haven't gotten to that point yet. 

Like I said I was very excited about the April BOMs so as soon as I finished Block #6 I got right to work on Block #7. If I thought Block #6 was time consuming, well I hadn't met Block #7 yet :) 

It is a beautiful block using Traditional Paper Piecing Hexagons. Yes, I am hand stitching all 56 of them, and I love it. I did go with Alyssa's recommendation and ordered the pre-cut foundations. These pre-cut hexagons were definitely worth $5 I spent on them! I had to cut out 56 3 inch squares of fabric, and then glue all of them to the foundations, then trim the edges, then glue and fold the edges over each of the foundations before I could begin stitching them. 

Once I started getting all of those little hexies laid out, I really wanted to throw Block #7 to the wind, and start making flowers. Oh they make the most adorable little flowers, and I have wanted to work with hexies for so long, and just haven't had the time... But I didn't. 

There are all my little hexagons laid out, my block isn't as dramatic as Alyssa's because of the color combinations/prints I chose, but it is still cute. 

My hand stitching was not great at first, but after about 3 hexies, I started getting the hang of it, and I am really loving it. For those of you who are doing the Skill Builders BOM, yes I started piecing my rows/columns in a different order than the tutorial instructs. I am assuming it is going to be fine in the end. I just started piecing my color specific rows/chains, instead of in columns. 

Yesterday afternoon I put the hexies aside for a bit, since I had time to be in my sewing nook, and started working on my Improv Philippians 4:8 Wall Hanging. It was hard to get back into it at first, but after a bit I really started enjoying it and I love the way the second block is coming along!

I only finished two sides, but coming up with an idea I like is sometimes the hardest part. 

Side by side with the first finished block.

Obviously some spacing issues, but these are the other burlap "centers" that I will be using as part of this wall hanging. 

My big design/color dilemma is that I chose the fabric - Urban Mod by AGF because of the yellow, and wanting to bring more yellow into our living room... And well I keep using Kona Olive instead of instead of the Kona Canary because it is just so bright, and I am scared of that bright yellow. I am going to have to figure out a way to bring some of that yellow into this, while not allowing it to overpower the whole quilt. 

Any thoughts?

Linking up with Lets Get Acquainted by Plum and June, hosted this week by Kristy @ Quiet Play

If you love paper piecing (or are interested in it) you have to take a look at Kristy's blog, Quiet Play. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Nominated for a Liebster Award

I was nominated by Amy @ Cloud CouCou Crafts for the Liebster Blog Award.

I don't really know much about the Liebster Blog Award, I understand that it is given to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. I believe the award is generally awarded by other Liebster award nominees. 

Below are some of the rules I found. 

  • Post eleven facts about yourself.
  • Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
  • Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
  • Go to their page and tell them.
  • Remember, no tag backs. 
Okay, so here goes 11 Random Facts About Me:

  1. I am Texan (born there and lived there much of my life)
  2. I have also lived in Mexico, Costa Rica, Cameroon (Africa), Equatorial Guinea (Africa), Oklahoma, Michigan, Wisconsin, and now Missouri.
  3. I have a bachelors degree in Plant and Soil Sciences/Agronomy (Grain Crops), but have never used it.
  4. I miss West Africa and have always assumed I will move back there some day.
  5. My family rescued and rehabilitated an orphaned gorilla when I was a teenager, (we tried the same with a chimpanzee, but he came to us with polio and after 4 months of round the clock care he died).
  6. I eat chips and salsa almost every day (that is usually lunch)... and my little boys tattle on me to my husband who doesn't approve of my sparse and random eating habits. 
  7. I used to randomly buy clothes for a future baby girl, that we never had, I gave them all away after the birth of my second son... But now I look for any excuse to make quilts, dresses, bows, etc for baby girls, and I buy very "girly" fabric with no specific project in mind and stash it. 
  8. I love my life and where we live, and the only thing I would change would be to live closer to my sister.
  9. I enjoy shooting guns. 
  10. Over the years, I have gone through phases of obsession with many different types of workouts including Pilates, Zumba, running, and now Kickboxing (I LOVE IT and get a nasty attitude if I miss my class for any reason).
  11. Since getting more into quilting... I have gotten so far behind on scrap booking, and I know I need to do something about it, but I just want to cut fabric and put it back together again as something even more beautiful. 

Amy @ Cloud CouCou Crafts Questions For Me:

Why did you start blogging? 

I started blogging because I have friends who kept asking about my quilting and other crafts. I wanted to share my pictures with them, but I also wanted to describe/explain the "projects" a bit more. So I decided to blog them.

What’s your pet peeve?

Whining... Complaining about stuff, instead of doing something about.

City or countryside?

I think I would always choose countryside over city.

What’s your favorite film?

Honestly, I am not much of a movie person. I enjoy watching a movie once, but generally never watched one twice. I would have to say Anne of Green Gables has always been a favorite of mine.

If you could invite 3 people to a dinner party who would they be?

I am not sure if this means people who are famous/historical, or something of that nature, or just people in general. I am going with Historical/Famous.

Martin Luther
Elizabeth Elliot

What’s you favourite fabric line?

Fresh Air by Chez Moi

Who’s your favourite author?

Beth Moore

Morning person or night owl?


Do you have any goals for the year?

Do more fun things with my boys.

Where did you last go on holiday?

Branson, MO

Favorite word?


My Questions for the Blogs I selected:

  1. Favorite Vacation/Holiday Location
  2. Favorite Restaurant/place to eat out
  3. Favorite piece of furniture/art/decoration in your home
  4. Would you rather cook for guests or go out to a restaurant
  5. Last book you read
  6. Beach or Mountains
  7. Least liked household chore
  8. Favorite dessert
  9. Favorite Flower
  10. Favorite Breakfast Cereal
  11. Tea or Coffee
Blogs I nominated:

Okay that was a lot of work... But thanks Amy for nominating me and I hope all of the blogs that I nominate are able to score some new followers and a PR boost! 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Very Small Finish and Ongoing WIPs

On Sunday afternoon I finally finished up the second PB&J Pillow to go with the table runner. I really like the way that it turned out. 

I used burlap for the back, just like the other one, but I went ahead and bound this one. It looks nice and neat. 

I have not accomplished anything this week in the way of quilting. Although I was able to get back to work on the appliqued onesies that I really must finish ASAP.

 I finished up one set I was working on. I had to do the 9 month and the 1 year onesies. They are now complete and need to be given to the baby very quickly since he will be 9 months old before I know it!

I now have 6 more to go for my nephew! I think I spend more time trying to find the right template and printing or drawing them out, than I actually spend appliqueing the fabric onto the onesie. 

Of course I have my ongoing WIPs... I haven't gone anywhere with my Philippians 4:8 Wall Hanging or my SkillBuilders BOM since I posted my last WIP. BUT I haven't picked up any new projects, trying to stay focused and finish up what I have already started. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Timber and Leaf Baby Quilt

A little over a week ago I was asked to take a meal to a friend that recently had her fifth baby. I of course was thrilled to do that, but I knew I had to bring a gift as well. Since it was baby #5 there wasn't a baby shower, so I hadn't given a gift to the baby.

I won a giveaway about a month ago from Krista @ Sew What's Cooking, it was six Fat Quarters of Timber and Leaf by Sarah Watts. I knew that fabric was just perfect for a baby quilt, so I pulled a coordinating gray solid and started cutting fabric.

Since I had less than a week to start and finish the quilt, I decided I had better keep it simple... And I am glad I did, last week was busy at work due to last minute finished on the company's taxes.

I cut 5.5 inch squares of the Timber and Leaf and Gray. I sewed them into 9 patches, arranged with alternating the gray. So that when I cut the 9 patches in quarters I would have gray rectangles on two sides and print squares on the corner.

I cut 2.5 inch strips of the print and made a narrow border. The top was quick and easy. Although in my haste I made several piecing mistakes and had to take apart two rows! 

I had the perfect piece of silvery gray minky dot fabric to back the quilt with. I love backing baby quilts with minky! 

Then to quilt... I probably should have just quickly "stitched in the ditch" and finished the quilt and been done with it, but what's the fun in that??? I had seen a few quilts recently with a "woodgrain" design and decided that Timber and Leaf would be the perfect medium for "woodgrain." Of course, I am a novice Free Motion Quilter and I was a bit nervous, not only was this a gift, it was a gift that had to be finished ASAP. 
I drew out my design idea on paper, then I made a sample quilt "sandwich" and practiced a little bit and decided okay, I will dive in. 

It actually went really well at first, but then I am not sure what I did, but I realized that my tension was completely off, and I had a mess. So I had to rip out several lines of stitching, grab my quilt sandwich again and work on getting the tension right. Getting the tension right was the most difficult part of the whole thing, and each time I changed the bobbin (had to do that 4 times), the tension would get off again. I don't know what was happening. When it was finished, there were a few lines that I didn't really like, but the rest looked pretty good!

Here is an up close pic of the stitching... I used gray thread (Gutterman), I would definitely like to try using Aurifil in the very near future. 

I bound it with gray fabric. Overall I like the way it turned out. I love the back, I think the minky really accentuated the "woodgrain" design. 

The back

The Front

I was able to give it away on Friday with the meal (Creamy Enchiladas Verdes, Mexican Rice, and Beans) I brought over... And as usual the minky backing is a big hit, not just with the baby, but ALL of his siblings! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Joining Q2 of Finish-A-Long 2013... My Goals.

she can quilt

I did not join Quarter 1 of Finish-A-Long 2013, but I have decided that I will go ahead and join Quarter 2 of FAL 2013. Basically I am going to show you all of my UFO's (Unfinished Projects) that I would like to complete this quarter and at the end of it we will see how I did :-)

This was a quilt kit I purchased on a whim a few years ago. I didn't start working on it for about a year after I purchased the kit, and then I realized that several of the fabrics in the kit were not cut to right size. Unfortunately, the LQS that I bought it from was in a town far away that I visited when I was traveling. Taking it back and discussing it with them was not possible. I had to make modifications. The top is almost finished, just one more border, then to back, quilt, and bind. This is a true UFO! I have actually been working on it here and there for over 2 years. Obviously it is not a difficult project, just didn't have a specific use for it so other projects took priority over it.

All of my other UFO's I have recently blogged about, and will be familiar to my usual readers.

PB&J Chevron Pillow Face - Need to actually make it a pillow.

Philippians 4:8 Burlap and Urban Mod Wall Hanging - Need to complete all of the other blocks, put them together, back, quilt, and bind... Still have a lot to go on this one!

Appliqued Onesies - Still need to complete about 8 of these with different numbers and animals. 

Timber and Leaf Baby Quilt - Top finished, still need to back, quilt, and bind. I plan to finish this ASAP and will do a blog post about it. 

Honestly all of the above projects could be completed within a couple of weeks, if I didn't constantly find other projects that seem more appealing in that moment. I see new fabric that I fall in love with and I can't get it out of my head, so I get it and then I want to play with it! 

Best of luck to all of the others who are joining Q2 of FAL 2013! I hope you finish lots of UFO's! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Multiple Projects and Not a Lot of Finishes!

PB&J Table Runner and Pillow on my Front Porch

Last week was a whirlwind! Whew, we survived! I did manage to fit in some sewing, although I didn't finish everything I had hoped... And I added a new project, that needs to be finished by Friday. I typically don't work on multiple projects at once, but somehow I have managed to get about 5 or 6 projects going at once... we shall see how this pans out.

I finished the PB&J Table Runner. It looks cute on my coffee and does add a bit of color. I backed it with Kona Pond even though that doesn't match, and I really don't like backing things with fabric that doesn't match the front... BUT with a table runner I figure it doesn't really matter that much. I bound it with Kona Olive.

I decided to free motion quilt it. That was fun. I sort of meandered with loops, I don't know what this is called. It turned out nice. In the three stars I did some flowers, that was my first attempt at that. I practiced on a couple of little "quilt squares" I made, and my practice flowers turned out much better than the ones actually on the table runner, but I think they work.

I also made a coordinating pillow. The pillow was fun, but I spent too much time on it. I had a bunch of corner pieces from making the stars on the table runner, so I used those tiny pieces to make a square on the front of the pillow. Since I was just sewing them together without much thought, there were a couple of times I had to rip out seems and start over, because something didn't match up just right. I used Kona Olive as a border. I used a bit more PB&J to make a binding/edge. From the picture you can see that I haven't yet folded the binding over and hand stitched it to hide the seam. I am actually debating about this. I kind of like how what was to be the binding has now formed an edge or ruffle around the pillow. Also, I backed the pillow with burlap, yes, burlap (I stabilized it with muslin first) and I don't mind the raw edges on the back. Who knows, after seeing it in my living room for a few days I may decide to fold the binding over and stitch it.

 Bits and Pieces used to make Pillow

Burlap Back of Pillow

I free motion quilted the pillow front. Some loopy meandering on the colorful square, and then scrolled around the border, putting flowers in each corner. If I include the table runner, this is only my third attempt at FMQ so I think it is coming along fairly well.

I then took the 1/2 inch strips that I had trimmed from the charm pack squares for the table runner and I started piecing those together. I used the "ticker tape" method that Rachel at Stitched in Color explains. I used a glue stick to adhere the strips of fabric to a background of Kona White in a Chevron design. I then used a narrow zig zag stitch to permanently sew the fabric to the background. I stitched around each raw edge to ensure minimal fraying, although this pillow isn't going to be "washable" since I plan to back it with burlap as well.

Honestly when I decided to make matching pillows to go along with the table runner.  I thought I was just going to whip out a couple of simple cushions, but since I decided to use small scraps and get rather detailed and picky about placement, this turned into a long and drawn out process.

I have only finished the front of this pillow, because while working on the pillow, another project was dropped into my lap. I decided I really needed to make a baby quilt for a friend that recently had a baby boy. I thought about making appliqued onesies, embellished burp cloths, something along those lines... But I recently won 6 fat quarters of Timber and Leaf from Krista @ Sew Whats Cooking and I thought  what a perfect use for that fabric!

Saturday I spent some of the day cutting and sewing together blocks for a baby quilt. I need to finish the quilt by Friday... Its simple and I only need a few hours, but time is precious these days!

Over the weekend I did make 2 fleece tie blankets as well, so that took up some of my sewing time. My poor little 4 year old has been asking for one of those for at least a year now, and Joann's had fleece on sale so I finally made him one. I also made one for the dogs. They aren't allowed on my upstairs furniture (their little nails scratch the leather), so I wanted them to have something soft to lay on, and whenever someone pulls out a fleece blanker they lay on it right away, so I thought they should have one of their own.

I still have those appliqued onesies I need to get finished. I have my Skill Builder BOMs and I really want to start working on the Virtual Quilting Bee that Amy @ Diary of a Quilter is hosting. I also have the wall hanging I started a couple of weeks ago, still on my design wall, but nothing else accomplished.

Today I am linking up with Plum and June with Let's Get Acquainted Monday hosted by Nat at Made in Home.

Plum and June