Thursday, November 28

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the beach! It's a little chilly, but with this view, good company, and a cute quilted table runner, I really can't complain.



Happy Thanksgiving!




Wednesday, November 20

Donations

Mama J sent me these progress pics on her donations. She is making baby bereavement blankets. It is a very sad thing to think about, but a very sweet gesture.

One in pink:





And one in blue:


Mama J, they are beautiful.
I can't wait to start sewing up my donations! One paper down, two more to go, then its all about quilting!


Saturday, November 9

Upcoming Challenge

Hello everyone! I have a challenge for you coming soon...

With the holidays fast approaching, and after finding out that I will receive a very generous and amazing prize of a sewing machine, I decided I want to give back. I originally wanted to make some small quilts for the local hospital's NICU, but I think I will donate them to their Children's Hospital and let them give the quilts to those who need them most. 

I dug through my stash and came up with a several fabrics that are just itching to be used in baby quilts or kids' quilts. Here are a few (Please excuse the dim lighting, it's getting dark in here!)



So I have a proposition for you...

Starting in December, I am going to quilt my little heart out. I invite you to think about a local hospital in your area, or somewhere else that you think would love and need your handmade quilts. If I can figure out Blogger (I'm new to this thing) I would love to let people link up. Suggestions are always appreciated! 

I know this is an incredibly busy time for everyone so I'm not expecting a huge turnout, but I'm going to do it anyways. If you want to join the fun, but also want to start NOW, please do! If you don't want to join, I still encourage everyone to do something kind for someone else this holiday season.

Thank you for considering the challenge!


Friday, November 8

Oh My Goodness!!

I am completely beside myself right now.. I actually won the BQF Baby Lock Melody sewing machine! I'm pretty sure I should be fined for the amount of exclamation marks I have used in the past couple of hours.. !!!

If you still haven't gone to view all of the amazing quilts at the Bloggers' Quilt Festival, please do. There are so many beautiful creations and everyone has been so nice. Thank you to everyone who visited, left your kind words, and voted for my quilt. This was my first entry in any kind of quilting contest/festival and I was a tad nervous about it, but sometimes it's good to push our boundaries. I will definitely be participating in the next one!

I don't have any new quilting pics to share right now, so I will leave you with this for now: two of my favorite girls. They thank you too :)


!!! :)


Tuesday, November 5

BQF & More

Have you gone to the Bloggers' Quilt Festival yet? It's so great! I have lost count of how much time I've spent looking through the different categories and going to everyone's blogs. My entry is #85 in the baby quilt category, and I'm already plotting for the next festival!

There are some awesome prizes too, including a Baby Lock Melody sewing machine! What would I do with a new sewing machine? Well, I could certainly use it to finish these babies:

The Butterfly Quilt- They have been waiting patiently for antennas, batting, and some loving.



DWR- Still needs to be quilted. The top has been completely done for months now, I've just been avoiding it.. It will be done by the end of November, I promise!


And my Wish List? That is full of scrappy endeavors, a Valentine Quilt, and some ideas that have been rolling around in my mind for awhile including a quilt for my grandma. Here are some of my fabrics for it. Ignore the green, I've ruled it out. I'm adding neutrals and a slight hint of purple instead. It will probably end up being a birthday gift, I don't foresee finishing it by Christmas!


I currently have a Baby Lock Design Pro, not as many functions as the Melody but it has been great to work with. Mama J found it on sale after the local middle school was upgrading their machines. It was quite the step up from my cheap, plastic, mini machine I used for the Auburn Quilt!

Let's see.. What else would I do with a new sewing machine? Attempt more free-motion quilting, turn some of my sketches into quilts, and maybe someday make another DWR... Maybe.



Wednesday, October 30

Chicks & Umbrellas for the Blogger's Quilt Festival

I stumbled across the Blogger's Quilt Festival today and decided that Chicks and Umbrellas will enter the Baby Quilt category.  There are some amazing quilts linked up to this festival, so definitely go and check them out!  I've been drooling over them since I hopped onto this page!

Here is Chicks and Umbrellas, a baby quilt that I finished last month.



Quilt recap: I started this as a way to practice sewing curves, and used scraps and leftover squares from a charm pack.  I created a template on some cardboard by cutting out a square and using a drawing compass to cut out the rounded corner.


The quilt top came together pretty quickly after that.  I sewed the pieces together on my Baby Lock, sandwiched it with batting and a turquoise backing, then hand quilted swirls onto each of the circles.



I alternated with teal and red thread, which isn't really that noticeable unless you look closely at the back.  The picture above is teal thread, the bottom is red.


Every time that I got sick of looking at my other WIPs, of doing graduate homework (paper writing is sooo much fun, right?), or sat down to watch tv at night, I would pull this out and work on the hand stitching.



You know those fabrics that sit in your stash and no matter what you do they just never disappear?  The ones that you have already used for a project, or two or three, and are just sick of looking at them?? Even after I completed Chicks and Umbrellas, I still had some of them hiding in my stash taunting me!  I gave one leftover away and the rest are at the bottom of my scrap bin so I don't have to look at them...


I just love these little chicks. Can you see the faces in the binding?



Even the puppy approves.


Monday, October 28

Draft Busters

It's getting colder outside, and unfortunately the trend is creeping inside as well! My windows let in some of the cold air, so I finally decided to pretty-up the situation. This is the old, boring, aesthetically unappealing version:


Even Princess is unimpressed.

Better solution? Draft Busters!
First, I measured my windows for the length of my fabric (about 40-41 inches). I cut the width at 10 inches, but it just depends on how wide you want them or how big your window sills are. Whatever width you cut them, plan for it to be smaller on the sill as 1/2 inch will be in the seams, and the filling will puff it out a bit.


Iron those babies out, fold them in half length-wise (see below) with the wrong sides facing out, and stitch around two sides (one of the ends, and the long edge). Leave the other end open for now.


Turn your tube of fabric inside out, or.. right side out I guess.. Then stuff with fiber fill. 
Hint: If you only pull half of the tube through like the picture below, it is much easier to stuff that fiber fill down into the end.


And voila! Much cuter. I picked neutral striped fabric so it would match the rug and pillow in my sewing area/Princess' lounge. 

The nice lady helping me at the fabric store suggested filling my draft busters with cat litter instead. Now, I've never worked with, or owned, cat litter so I have no idea how that would go. All I could imagine, though, was curious, destructive puppies tearing it apart and spreading it all over my apartment.... If you decide to try it, let me know how it works for you.


Princess can sleep peacefully now.


Thursday, October 17

Puppy Kisses

honestly meant to quilt, I really did. I also meant to post pictures about said quilting, but life decided to get a little more awesome instead.

First, we celebrated the marriage of my best friend and her husband. Yayy!! It was a great wedding. The ceremony was relatively short but sweet, which was perfect. It made me laugh, it almost made me cry, and my broken shoe held together until the reception. Success! Also, the bridesmaids carried lanterns with the lake and setting sun in the background. I can't wait to see how pretty the pictures are! Next, we celebrated a family wedding and got to see several wonderful relatives that we hadn't seen since our own wedding.

Last, but definitely not least, we adopted a new sister for Princess! This little baby was so sweet and playful that we just had to take her home from the shelter. Who could have abandoned this sweet little thing? I keep smiling at that little puppy tummy.


She's going to grow up to be one big girl! As far as quilting is concerned, I can share two things...

1) I found this fabric panel on clearance. Remember Princess' quiltThis panel is also by M'Liss and will be the back of Aly's quilt that I will make once she stops chewing on her blankets. That might take awhile. It will look better after some ironing. ;)


2) Here are a few unfinished hexagons for my Supersized Hexie baby quilt. They aren't sewn together yet, I'm trying to get the borders on all of them first. I love those green birds and the Tula Pink swirls though! I think it will be great after some quilting to tone down the green.


Now please excuse me while I go steal some puppy kisses. :)

Sunday, October 6

Trial & Error

I'm still working on my zigzag quilt and I'll be sharing soon, I promise! I took some time off from the quilt to attempt a sailboat. Ignore the puckering and uneven seams... I was trying to modify the original pattern to add my own touch, but I got a little sidetracked with lining up poorly planned squares and forgot what I was doing. Next time I will be planning out my measurements a little better... 


So, clearly its not perfect, but I love the colors and the idea. I couldn't resist adding the pirate flag from some Halloween fabric I found. I think the next ship I make will be bigger, though. Once I figure out my modified design, I'll be making a crib sized quilt with waves and pirate ships! My wish list keeps growing. Here is my current quilting situation...

WIPs:
1. Aqua/Blue ZigZags
2. DWR

Forgotten Quilt Tops That Need Some Lovin':
1. The Butterflies
2. The 2nd Auburn Quilt

Quilty Wish List:
1. Big Hexies
2. Valentine Quilt
3. Pirate Baby Quilt
4. Red, White & Blue

...Looks like I have a lot of sewing to do... 

Tuesday, October 1

A Quilt for a Princess

The Princess Quilt is done! Princess is already enjoying it on her bed.


This was my first attempt at free-motion quilting, and it went ok... I kind of like how free it is, but I kind of dislike how easily the fabric slips away from me. I think I just needs some more practice. I ended up buying my free-motion foot on sale and used this video to make it fit better on my machine.

Here is a close up of the design.


After some test runs, I ran into several problems. I quilted a row, then realized the back was a hot mess. After ripping it all out, lamenting about wasting so much thread, buying some bigger needles, and adjusting the bobbin tension, I was finally able to finish this baby. 


And the back... Isn't that M'Liss fabric panel cute?! The puppy princess was perfect, and I don't even think that Princess will mind the cats in the castle windows. 


It's still nowhere near perfect, but its good enough for a first attempt! Besides, like I have said before, puppies are pretty forgiving. They just like to cuddle with their quilts!


I already hear some muffled barks from her puppy dreams. :)


Friday, September 27

Sketchy Math & Rice

Mama J sent me a link to this Wild Rice Risotto recipe and I decided to try it last night... Yum! My family keeps me well stocked with wild rice, and I usually default to making wild rice bread or a soup. Last night, I made this risotto and substituted green onion. I also used some precooked, frozen rice that I made probably a month ago, so I omitted most of the water and added some chicken bouillon. I cooked up a couple spicy sausages and sautéed a yellow squash to put on the side. Tonight, hubby even asked if we had any leftover rice and was disappointed we didn't. SUCCESS! If you have some wild rice in need of a recipe, give it a try!

Today, I spent some much needed time on the newest chevron quilt. I did some math before I started and counted up my squares... Here they are:


There are 16 different fabrics for the zigzags, and 14 rectangles per color. With 2 rectangles sewn together to make the squares, that gives me 7 squares per row. 7 x 16 = 112 squares on the windowsill!


After some TLC, there are now 15 diagonal strips.

I was thinking there were more aquas until I looked at it all laid out again, but I think it's still going to be really fun. Perhaps it will get some aqua backing... It will all come together eventually!

Wednesday, September 25

Slow Progress

I have done ZERO quilting in the past two weeks. I do have a couple projects in the works that I haven't shared, though. First, I am working on another Chevron quilt for a good friend. Remember Lacey's quilt? Same concept, but bigger. A lot of these strips in the pic are actually the backs of the fabrics. (Can't show too much in case she's reading!) There are lots of blues, aquas, whites, and a splash of dark coral. This is slowly working into the quilt I envisioned.


Next on my list of quilts to finish is the infamous Double Wedding Ring quilt. This is my first, and possibly only, DWR. Sooo many curves! I'm trying not to show too much until I finish it, so here is a little peek.


I also need to finish Princess' quilt. I started quilting it a couple weeks ago, but my machine and I had a huge fight. I wanted to free-motion quilt it, but the machine wanted to create a giant jumbled mess. I was so excited my design was working, until I realized something had gone horribly wrong on the back. My trusty seam-ripper got quite a workout. Here is the front in all its safety-pinned-glory.


All it needs now is some quilting, a binding, and some puppy loving. Here is my rough sketch of what the quilting design will be. It will be my first attempt at free-motion! Well... Second if you count the disaster...


Despite having 3 works in progress, I still can't stop my brain from plotting new quilts that must be made. Towards the top of my wish list is a Big Hexie Quilt with adorable prints in yellows, greens, neutrals, and a hint of leftover pinks. I also sketched out a Valentine Quilt that I'm just itching to try, but that can wait a few months. I suppose I should work on that vintage breadbox at some point too...
What's on your project wish list?

Sunday, September 22

Mandarin Orange Jello Cheesecake

If you're looking for a good, fairly low fat dessert then try this! If you prefer other fruits to mandarin oranges, just switch out the fruit and flavored gelatin. One great alternative is raspberries with raspberry flavored gelatin. Mmm...

Ingredients
1 graham cracker crust
1 can (11 oz) mandarin oranges
3/4 cup cottage cheese
2 boxes (3 oz each) orange flavored gelatin




Preparation

1. Blend 3/4 cups cottage cheese in food processor or blender till smooth-ish.
 

2. Prepare 1 package of orange gelatin/jello according to box instructions, but only using 1/2 cup boiling water and 1/2 cup cold water. Once gelatin is dissolved, mix in cottage cheese until well blended. Pour mixture into a graham cracker crust. (I keep cheating and using store bought crusts.)




3. Refrigerate and let set. Once set, drain your can of mandarin oranges and place the pieces on top of jello mixture like this:



4. Make second box of orange jello the same way (minus the cottage cheese). If you are using a homemade crust that is larger, you might need to add more water. Use a ladle or spoon to transfer the liquid jello on top of mandarin oranges. You might have extra jello.
 

5. Refrigerate and let it set. It's best when you let it chill for at least an hour to really solidify as much as possible, but if you can't wait then its still edible! :)

6. Top off your slices of Mandarin Orange Jello Cheesecake with some whipped topping, sit back, and enjoy!