Thursday, December 31, 2009

Turn the Page

My calendar loving son has been fascinated with the approach of year-end, especially since it is also marks the last page in his beloved wall calendar. Santa made sure to bring him a new calendar for 2010, but we spent the last few hours of 2009 reviewing the old calendar and flipping through photo files on the computer to remember some of our great activities this year.

I won't give a play by play - but here's a bit of our year in review. What a great time!
Happy New Year everyone!

Rock on!

Testing a Theory - SUCCESS

***THIS WORKS!*** Try it if you like,
but in the meantime stay tuned for some more PDF tutorials!

I am trying to figure out the best way to post tutorials on my blog without people having to print out the entire post and use up lots of paper. The link below is a PDF - it's not a real thorough tutorial but I just thought I would grab one I had already started.

Tutorial Link Test

If you can access this PDF - please comment here and let me know. It may open the doors to lots of possibilities.


Monday, December 28, 2009

Turtle of the Day - "turtle"

This little guy actually belongs to The Munchkin - he was a Christmas present from Gramma and Grandpa. He was given the name "turtle" because there is an online component to this line of plush and I would not let the Munchkin name the turtle after himself for safety reasons - so he decided just plain old "turtle"was the best name.

He is a finger puppet - and has been on the Munchkin's finger for each nap and bedtime since Christmas morning - then he came down to hang out on the floor while I was pinning up the wedding quilt.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The gift is in the eye of the receiver

This holiday season I had two different people ask me what I wanted - and I don't think they expected the answer I gave them.

One was my brother - "what do you want for Christmas" he asked.
"old shirts" - I said - "old shirts I can take apart for the shirting fabric for a quilt project I have in mind."

He may have thought it was crazy - but this is what was under my tree:

Boy do I love my brother! There were four shirts rolled up in this little bundle!

The next bundle was a "thank you" gift from our bride and groom from Japan. Toshi offered to bring me something from Japan... and I sent him a link to a fabric store that carried Japanese style fabric and said "if you can find something like this..."

Well - they did - and then some!!! WOW!

The bundle before I opened it - even the furoshiki is great fabric!

The contents all stacked up.

The smaller fabrics - probably about 1/2 yard each.

The larger pieces -I think about 1 yard each.

Most of these are cottons - but have a nice texture to them like a homespun or a "raw silk".
Now to find the right projects for these!!! Hmm.....

Thanks everyone for thinking outside the box!!!!


It's finished! (except for the label) - the last stitches went in around 3:00 this afternoon - it took a trip through the washer (with a Shout color catcher just in case) and dryer - and was still warm when I gave it to the bride and groom to be.

Hubby is holding it for me - you can just see his toes peeking out and he had his arms up above his 6'2" height - so it is a nice size - not huge but transportable back to Japan with them.

We had fun talking about the different fabrics in it and how they are connected to different parts of the family.

I am thinking of calling this one "Omedetai" - which translates to "Happy Event."

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Post-Christmas project

This year my sewing did not end with Christmas... and not because I had unfinished Christmas presents (I did - but not worrying about them right now)... but because I have a wedding quilt in progress for a wedding on the 29th.

8 years ago I was the coordinator for a foreign exchange student from Japan - language training, work experiences and living with a host family were all part of the program - but we had an additional little bonus because Hubby's parents ended up serving as Toshi's host family, so he became not only my student, but also my "little brother." It was a busy and fun filled 6 months - during which we purchased our first home and moved -Toshi even lent a hand during early renovation projects.

We have not seen Toshi since, but a few months ago he called Mom and said something along the lines of "guess what? I am engaged and we'd like to come to visit after Christmas and oh - while we are there we would like to have our wedding in your town." Their flight comes in tonight - and the wedding is Tuesday evening - they head to NYC for a bit of a honeymoon the next day and then back to Japan.

So of COURSE they had to have a wedding quilt!!

Thanks to the wonderful Red Rover pattern from Mary Quilts, I was able to raid my stash of reds and white/creams and put together a fun top that has fabrics from here and there in the family in it. The backing is one I picked up over the summer during a shopping trip with Shellie that reminds me of Japanese summer kimono fabrics.

Being sick the past 2 weeks really slowed me down - and led to a lot of spun patches and unsewing and resewing - but as of this afternoon it is all sandwiched and awaiting the machine quilting (diagonals).

The photo above is the initial block layout before the rows were assembled.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Quilt with No Name

The package has arrived -so I can post this now.

This is the quilt I made for Jill - using Lyn Brown's awesome, easy to follow pattern (for the most part) and Moda Wonderland fabric. It took part of a layer cake and a handful of fat quarters, plus some white-on-white from my stash, and a cool chocolate brown from the As You Witch fabric stash (it was the binding on that quilt and will also be the binding on this quilt in addition to the little squares.)

This was a VERY fun pattern to work with - and when I went from the D9P blocks to the HST blocks, it was like a little "adventure" every time I pressed the triangle back and saw what the cutting had given me underneath. I changed it up a bit by doing the piano key border, but was trying to use up my FQ's and layer cake slices as much as possible without buying extra yardage. It does look VERY busy in the photo -and it is a pretty busy top -but live and in person you can really see the colors and patterns coming together.

And after my fiasco with Hancock Fabrics this is the backing fabric I chose. The brown binding really picks up the dark magenta/brown outlines of the dots, and although it is hard to see in this photo combo, the teals really work together, too. I thought Wonderland would be such a hard fabric to match - and it was - but this works!

I can't wait to see how it looks all layered and bound, and after Jill has been able to work her quilting magic on it!!!

Quilt with No Name? I thought of one - and googled it - and when my computer censored it I thought perhaps that it was not such a good name after all - so now I am trying to come up with a different one but nothing has called out to me yet.

La Dolce Vita

It's not fun being sick -but when I can be a winner at the same time it makes me feel a little better! I am not sure if I get to choose which fabric from this line gets to be mine -but I am especially fond of this one.

Life is sweet!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Love my Maggies

In the midst of everything else I have been working on - I have managed to put together more than a few more Maggie bags - and I have a few more planned as last minute little gifties (The Munchkin's teachers will all be getting them).

These go together so fast - and are pretty flexible to play with.

On the two long ones - I wanted "Maggies" that would work as pencil cases for my nephews. So I pulled out a new unsharpened pencil to use as a guide, and cut them that long, plus a little for the seam. The one underneath is made from the leg of a pair of old jeans, and the railroad one is from yardage I had. Both have the same striped lining.

The plastic clip I had has a very wide base to it - so I stitched two pieces of grosgrain ribbon together to make a wide piece, and used that. Not perfect - but it did the trick.

The butterfly one is from a leftover layer cake square of Moda Wonderland - and has a coordinating fabric inside. One of the tiny green ones was gifted with the larger one as a set.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another sneak peek...

Look who was hiding behind the surprise quilt while I was taking a picture of it? Not the best picture - but it's cropped down pretty small so as to not give away too much!

The good news -I am shipping the quilt off THIS WEEK - so as soon as the package arrives I will be able to post a full size shot!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

School Tote Redux

Well - the school bag for the Munchkin just did not work out as I had planned. Although it looked cool - and the concept of recycling Daddy's jeans into the Munchkin's messenger bag was really fun - the reality is that he rarely wore it as a messenger bag. It was normally being carried by an adult in and out of preschool -which does not work well with a messenger bag strap - the denim was too soft to have much "standupability" so the bag was floppy - and then for some reason the front flap started to fray out at the top seam.

So, while promising the Munchkin that he would still have the planet fabric with the rocket on it, I took a pair of scissors to the bag and began to refashion it.

I had a bit of the space fabric left, but little else. I took out the lining and cut that into useable rectangles, redid the flap into a patch pocket, made some straps, scrounged a lining fabric from my stash - and this is the new result:

It still holds his folder and sneakers for school, is easier for him and the adults around him to carry, and is much less bulky to store on the off days.

I still want to do something with the denim - but for now the rocket flies on.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Baskets and More Baskets

I have been playing with this basket pattern for over a year now - and still am loving it. I've given a lot as gifts, and just recently I made up about 60 for a craft show -they were very popular - not to mention fun and quick to make and great scrap busters.

I did have a special request though -for a similar basket but with the dimensions to hold paper napkins.

I am not going to rewrite the tutorial that Pink Penguin did such a great job on - I am just going to give you alternate dimensions.

Sides: 2 pieces at 13.5 x 3.5 (this fits a 6x6 napkin just right -the basket "flares out" a bit as it goes up unless you have a really stiff batting or put interfacing in it) (these can be solid fabric or pieced to these dimensions. I used novelty fabrics, so did not calculate out what it would be doing it "patchwork)

Bottom: 1 piece at 13.5 x 9

Lining: 1 piece at 13.5 x 15

Batting: 1 piece a bit larger than 13.5 x 15

I used the same handle length - but used grosgrain ribbon instead of making them out of fabric.


Fabric Roller Coaster

Earlier this fall I was putting together a quilt top out of the Moda Wonderland fabric line. I was working with fat quarters and a layer cake and was rather pleased with how the top turned out (it's a surprise -so I can't show it to you yet)

So perhaps you can imagine my excitement in finding one of the fabrics ON SALE on Hancock's website last month. The price was right -and I quickly ordered enough to do the backing of this quilt, plus some for pillowcases. I added in a yard of another fabric to qualify for the free shipping promotion, and then I was all set.. or so I thought.

My first warning should have been that the fabric was not just "on sale" - it was "on clearance"- and I am learning now that with Moda... when it's gone, it's gone.

So when the single extra yard arrived, and not my backing fabric, I quickly checked my order status and saw "backordered" - which I pretty much took to mean I was not getting it... ever.

Now Hancock's has a clearly stated backorder policy:

"How are backorders charged?
All items backordered are not charged until the item has been received and shipped from our warehouse. There are no additional shipping charges on backorders. If an item remains on backorder for over 60 days you will be notified. We will also notify you with an expected ship date.

If an item is backorder cancelled what can I expect?
This message appears on the invoice in the unfortunate event that a backordered item will no longer be available. Often times we are left with this as the only option due to the manufacturer’s decision to not re-print certain fabrics. All charges accrued in this event will be promptly reimbursed. "

60 days - wow. I did not have 60 days as I wanted to get this quilt finished up for Christmas. So I went out and found an alternative backing fabric.

Still, however, I was curious and kept going back to my order status with Hancocks. So imagine my surprise when suddenly it changed from "backordered" to "in warehouse" and "item scannned"... and then - yesterday - to "shipped". Woo hoo - I thought!

But without a shipping confirmation or tracking number I had no way to know when this order would arrive... so I contacted "customer service"...

... and this is the response I received:

"I apologize for the inconvenience and that the notice was not received. The following items have been discontinued by the manufacturer and we will not be able to ship the backorder.
29.88 12/14 Item Canceled
Please let us know if you would like to arrange a substitution for the discontinued item.

Um - item canceled? Then why does my order status still say "shipped" instead of "backorder canceled"??????????????

I guess in some world those two terms mean the same thing? Just glad I was able to find a backing fabric that works well - and somehow I don't think I will be ordering again from them any time soon.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Quilt Contest Entry

I entered a quilt into a little contest. It's just one of those "submit a picture of your quilt and blog readers will vote on the ones they like.

I entered Gingerboys - it's not the best picture of it, but it was all about Christmas Traditions, so it was a fitting entry. It is in the large quilt category, but really is not huge.

Take a look - there are some wonderful photos submitted!

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Barn Quilts of NY

Need a 2010 Calendar? Click on the photo above to link to a wonderful giveaway (and great blog) and see some great Barn Quilts from New York State.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Speaking of food...

This is what has been baking in our house the past few days. It will get paired with some stitched creations as a small Christmas gift for a variety of people - provided it does not get nibbled to nothingness first.

Mmmm - smells SOOO good!