Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one with lots of color

I'm so happy to finally share a sneak peek one of my recent finishes with you, my Springtime Hues quilt, which will be in the 9th issue of Fat Quarterly, the Kids & Teens issue.  If you don't already subscribe, this is going to be a great issue to pick up, because it is chock full of new patterns, including one from me!  A little birdie told me that this issue should be out very, very soon!

Springtime Hues quilt - in issue 9 of Fat Quarterly

In other news, I managed to conquer the vacation laundry and get behind use my machine on some projects I can actually share for a change!  Here's what I've got going...

NY Beauty Mini - Almost done!  I finished piecing the tiny (read: evil) HST border and then added one more border for good measure.  I think I'm done with the top at this point, just need to work on the backing and figure out how I'm going to quilt it.  I think I'm going to be going with some straight lines, in some kind of echo formation.

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My Precious QAL Pillow - I've got three more blocks done, now just three more to go.  I'm really loving how these blocks are coming together, and I want to pair them with a fun pindot border for the finished pillow, just need to hunt in the stash for the right one.

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Patchwork Wheel scrap quilt - Still going, just at a snail's pace ;)  I got as far as making some HSTs this week, though I haven't pressed or trimmed them just yet.

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My next quilt pattern - In the works!  Pressing and cutting is moving right along!  Thanks for the outpouring of folks willing to test the pattern, I really appreciate it.  You should be receiving an email from me shortly if you have not already heard from me.

Wonderful Bella goodness
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May Stash Trad block for Felicity - Felicity picked a churn dash block for her turn this month in our Stash Trad bee, playing with values a bit and using bright colors.  This is going to be a fun one to work on!

Oh, and I almost forgot - my Star Crossed Stitch quilt is featured over on QuiltStory today!


What are you stitching up this week?  Write it up and share it over at Lee's WiP Wednesday linky!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced
Monday, April 23, 2012

Happy, happy stacks of fabric

It was a good weekend in my neck of the woods, in spite of the off-and-on rainy weather.  We got started on some spring cleaning, I conquered the laundry, and I finished reading a good book from the library. And I even managed to do some fabric shopping :)  On Saturday, I trekked over to the local quilt shop and couldn't resist picking up a couple of strong stash builders, including two fat quarters of Annie's Seed Catalogue print from Holly Holderman's Annie's Farm Stand collection for Lakehouse Dry Goods.  I also really dig those two herringbone prints, they would make awesome binding!

This weekend's loot
L-R top row: Caroline Gavin Spring Street Sketchbook Flowers in Green, Stella Dot in in Navy Blue, Caroline Gavin Spring Street Leaves in Gold, and Northcott Groovin 

L-R bottom row: MM Ta Dot, Maude Asbury Calypso Kite Tails Orange, The Quilted Fish's Apple of My Eye in Green, The Quilted Fish's Apple of My Eye Herringbone in Red, and two fat quarters of Annie's Farm Stand seed catalogue print in black

I've gotten some really fun fabric mail over the last week, including a special package from the fabulously productive and talented Thomas Knauer, who's third line for Andover Fabrics, Savanna Bop, will be shipping later this spring.  These prints are bright, fun, and perfect for a sweet quilt.  I pulled a couple of other fabrics from my stash to go with and I'm brainstorming on what I want to make with them.  I suspect there might just be some paper piecing in store for these fun fabrics.

Thank you Thomas!

I was also lucky enough to receive an advance charm pack of Lotta Jansotter's next line of fabric for Windham Fabrics, Bella, which is just as gorgeous, if not more so than her first collection, Echo!  I instantly knew what I wanted to do with these beauties, so I went straight to my sketch book and went to town.  Next thing I knew, I was pulling together some stash prints to pair with this fabulous charm pack for my next quilt pattern.  Speaking of which, are you interested in testing my new pattern?  Let me know in the comments or shoot me an email!  

Lotta's Bella!


Wonderful Bella goodness

What did you do this weekend?  Happy Monday!
Thursday, April 19, 2012

Lots of magical memories

As cheesy as it sounds, even going to Disney World as an adult feels pretty darned magical.  We took my munchkin on a family vacation to the house of mouse over the last week and have returned home exhausted, but happy.  It was so much fun, I wish my husband had been able to get more time off of work so we could have stayed longer!

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Seeing all the sights and sounds of Disney with a four-year-old is really special.  His eyes would light up when he would see a character that he knew, especially those that didn't have big, heavy costumes and could actually talk with him.  He was even a bit shy with several of the princesses that he met, which was just adorable.  

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He loved all the rides we went on, with one exception - the Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin ride scared the crap out of him the first time around, but he later demanded to try again and loved it the second time.  I think his favorite ride was probably the Toy Story Mania ride at Hollywood Studios, which really was a blast.  When you wait through the line, all of the toys in Andy's room are people-sized, so you feel like a toy, and much like watching "Toy Story," you see lots of toys you had when you were growing up, which is a lot of fun, too.

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The Electrical Light Parade at the Magic Kingdom was quite possibly his favorite part of the entire trip.  Between the music that seemingly dates back to the first time I saw the parade many years ago and the familiar characters, he had a huge grin on his face the whole time, and so the grown-ups in our family.

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The Tomorrowland Speedway at Magic Kingdom was probably a close second to the Toy Story Mania ride - especially because the munchkin could actually steer the little car, which ran on a track so even with his limited steering skills, no one would get hurt.  A grown-up had to ride with him to reach the gas pedal, but he had so much fun driving!

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Fantasyland was definitely a lot of fun for all of us, especially my mom, who rode on the Dumbo ride with the munchkin.  He loved controlling how high Dumbo flew!

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My mom treated the munchkin to his very own set of ears.  He picked out a pair of Sorcerer Mickey ears and wore them for most of the trip.  He loves the Sorcerer's Apprentice story and made a beeline for these ears, then proceeded to try on every other pair of ears we could find, to make sure he liked these best.  I have to say, there are so many more kinds of ears than I remember when I was a kid!  R2-D2 ears!  Woody the Cowboy ears!  Pluto ears!  Very funny to watch the kiddo try all of them on :)

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It feels so good to be home and sleeping in my own bed again, but we had such a good time on this trip.  Definitely a magical trip, and definitely one I'll remember for a long time to come.  I missed you all, and I hope to get back in the sewing groove this weekend after I conquer the humongous pile of laundry glaring at me as I type this!    Wish me luck!  
Wednesday, April 11, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one with the packing

It's an exciting week over here, between announcing that I'll be teaching at Sewing Summit and preparing for our family's first vacation to Disney World this weekend!!!  I think I am actually more excited about taking the munchkin to Disney World than I ever was going there myself as a kid.  I cannot wait to see the look on his face when he sees the Magic Kingdom, I am so looking forward to it!  I did manage to pull myself away from the excitement of gearing up for vacation to do a bit of sewing I can actually share for a change, but I don't expect to see my machine a whole lot this week.  Here's what I've got going this week...

Finished:
Mod Mosaic block for Brooke

Mod Mosaic block for Brooke


Still going:
Patchwork Wheel scrappy blocks - Up to three blocks now!  Still a bazillion to go if I want to make this big enough to fit on my bed eventually, but there's no rush here at all.  Just having fun with it :)

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NY Beauty mini - Still auditioning borders.  I busted out a pack of Thangles I got for my birthday and used them to create a zillion 3/4" HSTs.  Not really a zillion, just 160 of them because when I counted how many each strip made, I was apparently suffering from some serious brain fog...rather than each strip making 5 HSTs (by my count), they made 10.  So I wound up with twice as many as I wanted, but that's okay.  I'll find a way to put them to use.  Anyway, I laid out the HSTs in a flying geese-like formation, and I think I might just be digging it.  We'll see, I'm going to leave this up until after I get back from my vacation next week and see what I think then.

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My Precious QAL pillow - A while back, Tamiko posted a gorgeous simple paper piecing pattern on her blog that she used to make a beautiful pillow in the Pillow Talk Swap.  I pinned it, and thought about using it as a bee block, but I just didn't think I had enough super special awesome fabrics to use in the center of the blocks. Lo and behold, Tamiko sent me a gorgeous little scrap bundle from her very own stash (thank you!!!) and when I saw Kelly starting up the My Precious QAL, for all of us fabric hoarders, I knew it was time to make myself a little something with the fabric Tamiko sent as well as my own hoarded stash.  I've made three of these little blocks so far, and anticipate making at least another 6, if not more.  I'm having a lot of fun so far, taking a scrappy approach to the blocks.

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What are you working on this week?  Write it up and share it over at Freshly Pieced!
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Psst...I'm teaching!

So, the cat's officially out of the bag...


I'm teaching at Sewing Summit!!!  Yippee!  I'll be team teaching an advanced piecing class focusing on paper and foundation piecing with the wonderfully talented Lee from Freshly Pieced.  I'm so looking forward to making paper piecing and foundation piecing less scary, because it really can be fun and create gorgeous precise blocks!

It's funny, this teaching gig makes me think of my old working days, as I spent a lot of time teaching physicians and researchers how to use PowerPoint and other audiovisual tools for presentations and lectures, so it's kind of wild to think of myself teaching about something I'm so passionate about.  I am so looking forward to getting to meet all of you who are attending Sewing Summit this year and to have another fun weekend with my wonderful gal pals.  I know the tickets for Sewing Summit are currently sold out, but you can learn more about the wait list at the Sewing Summit site, if you're interested. I so hope to see some of you there!
Monday, April 9, 2012

A little weekend sewing

A little weekend sewing led to a finished bee block for Brooke.  She's working on a Mod Mosaic quilt, and each of our blocks uses a gradated color scheme.  My color was green, and I think I may have gone a bit overboard in both adding from my stash as well as in emphasizing the gradation.  I had fun working on it, but I'm worried I didn't do a good job following direction here.  I hope you like it, Brooke!!  If not, I'll try again!  :)

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I also managed to make a boatload of tiny HSTs (thank you, Thangles!) that I'm thinking of using to border my NY Beauty mini. Still pondering on this one...

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Hope you all had a good weekend!  Happy Monday!
Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tag, I'm it!

Happy Easter to you and your wonderful families today :)

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I checked my email after our family egg hunt and found a little note from Cindy of Hyacinth Quilt Designs.  Do you know Cindy?  You should :)  She's the wonderful quilter behind the wildly popular Garden Fence block tutorial, and she is such a sweet person.  I made a Garden Fence quilt, using Cindy's tutorial, last year using Tula Pink's gorgeous Prince Charming fabrics.

Alex's Garden Prince quilt

Cindy got tagged by some blog friends recently and tagged me in return, asking me 8 fun questions...here goes...

1. If you're not quilting, what are you most likely doing?
Reading...or maybe baking.  I used to spend as much time reading as I now do quilting, it was my first real hobby to speak of.  It's shocking to me that I now own more fabric than I do books, since my book collection was always something that seemed overflowing and humongous to me.  I do definitely still read, but these days I mostly read e-books on my Kindle.  Baking is another fun hobby of me, that I've been doing my whole life.  I love the precision of baking, whereas cooking is way less fun to me.  I have a mean sweet tooth :)

Mmmm...cake


2. Do you buy fabric with a specific project in mind or "just because"?
Rarely.  I tend to buy fabric I love, regardless of whether or not I have a project in mind for it.  I usually purchase fabrics in half-yard or yard increments, depending on the price, when I'm buying frivolously.  This could explain why my fabric collection is starting to outgrow its current space...

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3. How many quilting projects do you have going at once?
I'm usually a multitasker, flitting between several ongoing projects, but lately, I've been trying to tame that habit a little bit.  In the past, I'd try to juggle as many as ten different projects, but I'm trying to prioritize my time better, rather than spending 30 minutes trying to decide which project to work on.  Sometimes I really wish I were the kind of quilter who could work on just one project at a time - maybe I'd be less messy that way!

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4. How many completed quilts do you own?
Um...I had to go count them :)  I've given many of the quilts I've made as gifts and also some to charity, but I currently own 11 of my quilts, including 3 that belong to my son.

5. How do you use your quilts, or are they stored away somewhere?
I rarely feel cold.  I mean, I live in Florida, and even in the winter, it's never really all that cold here.  I tend to keep our air conditioning cooler at night, as I like to snuggle under my big warm/cool quilt on my bed at night, and my husband is always griping that it's cold, so he often will snuggle under a quilt on the couch.  When my mother visits, she sleeps under a few quilts.  I definitely put my quilts to use.  They also make great forts!

6. What is your favorite food?
My all-time favorite food in the world is my mother's fried chicken with biscuits and gravy.  So down-home and tasty, it's the kind of meal that just says "home" to me.

7. What is your current favorite color combination?
Such a tough one!!  Um...I'd have to say teal, gold, and aqua.  It's funny, before I started quilting, I was a bit of a color snob.  There were colors I would often say I just didn't like, but now, it's almost as though I appreciate color more than I used to.  There really isn't a single color I think I would say that I don't like, but if you looked at my fabric collection, it would be super easy to see what color I like best, and that's blue.

penciled brights

8. Where do you get your ideas and/or inspiration?
All over the place.  I take pictures all the time, sometimes of plants where I see beautiful color combinations, or of fences or tile where I see a pattern that interests me.  I've been inspired by pieces of furniture, fabrics, credit card commercials, you name it.  Inspiration is everywhere, you just have to look.  :)

This was fun!!!  Now I get to tag some people, too...hmm...
Kelly from kelbysews (who's starting a fun new quilt-along - check it out!)
Jess from Sew Crafty Jess
Kati from From the Blue Chair
Kim from My Go-Go Life

Here's my questions:
1. Do you have other hobbies other than quilting?
2. What's the smallest size scrap you save when quilting?
3. How many of your quilts do you actually own?
4. Are you a pre-washer, or do you wash your fabrics after the quilt is finished?
5. What do you do while you sew?  Listen to music?  Watch TV?  Enjoy the silence?
6. How many blogs do you read?
7. What is your favorite food?
8. Are you a morning person or a night person?

I hope you're all having a wonderful Sunday :)
Friday, April 6, 2012

Sometimes you need a muffin

It's been a rough couple of days here in the Not Betsy household, between coming down with a monster of a cold and finding out that our six-year-old air conditioning unit needs to be replaced.  So, I did what I always do in tough times...bake.

Yes, I love to sew, it's my most favorite thing in the world to do right now, but baking was my first love.  I've been baking since I was a little girl, under the tutelage of my mother, who learned from her mother, and so on.  In our family, baked goods have always been something special; never something that came from a box, always something that was made from scratch.  I can remember when I learned that the way we baked in our family was not exactly the norm; my best friend's mother suggested that we make brownies during a sleepover when I was 8, and she pulled out a red box of Betty Crocker brownie mix from the pantry.  That was probably the moment I turned into a baking snob.  I'm kidding...mostly ;)  I'm just the kind of dork who enjoys baking from scratch.


Here in Florida, it's blueberry season.  Our local blueberry farm opened up for picking last week and we trucked over there on the weekend and picked ourselves 6 pounds of gorgeous blueberries.  We've been going there since the munchkin was barely walking, and he's become quite the blueberry aficionado over the years.  Now, the munchkin would be a blueberry-a-tarian, if we would let him, but us grown-ups prefer our blueberries tarted up a bit.  Enter my blueberry muffins...

I've been making blueberry muffins since I was a little girl, but it wasn't until the last two years that I had to tinker with the classic family recipe.  See, my husband is painfully allergic to all forms of dairy, so he has to steer clear of milk and butter - you know, the good stuff.  And my family blueberry recipe called for milk, as well as butter, to create a rich muffin.  Thankfully, through some trial and error, I've reformulated the recipe to not only taste fabulous but also to not contain one ounce of dairy.  Do yourself a favor and make these muffins this weekend, even if you can only find frozen blueberries - trust me, you will be a happy camper :)

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Blueberry Lemon Muffins

Makes 24 muffins


2 cups all-purpose, unbleached flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
Zest of one large lemon
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup milk (I used soy here, but regular milk works well here too)
1 T apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare two standard sized 12-cup muffin trays either with Pam or muffin liners.

2. Add sugar, oil, milk, and vinegar to one large bowl and whisk until well combined.  In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients and lemon zest with a fork.

3. Dump your dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix gently.  Don't overmix - you'll create tough muffins.  A few streaks of flour are okay here.

4. Add your blueberries and fold gently into the batter, again being careful not to overmix.

5. Fill muffin liners/cups approximately halfway full and bake in your preheated oven for 20-22 minutes.  Allow muffins to sit in tray for five minutes after they come out of the oven, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling, although these muffins taste fantastic when they're warm!  They also freeze well.

Happy Friday to you all, I hope you have a great weekend!
Wednesday, April 4, 2012

WiP Wednesday: The one where I try to get back in the saddle

It's amazing how quickly something can stop being a habit after being a habit for so long.  The last couple of weeks, I've fallen off the WiP Wednesday horse, but today, I'm trying to climb back on and get back in the swing of blogging again.  I think the last couple of weeks, I've been grasping at straws of what to blog about, as I work on some behind-the-scenes projects that I can't share for a while, but I've decided that regardless of what I'm working on, I can still write.  When I first started blogging, I found so much enjoyment just in writing, and somewhere along the way, I think I got a little bit off-centered with my writing, focusing so much more on finishing projects than on enjoying the process and writing about the process.  Speaking of progress...here's what I've got going on this week:

New York Beauty swap - I've moved these blocks around a few times, and I just can't seem to decide how I want to finish this one up, so I decided to make a few more blocks to see if that helps me out.  I decided that I wanted to make a mini, and use some tiny quarter blocks in the corners of the mini, so I shrunk the templates by 50%, and attempted to make a corner block that failed miserably.

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The tiny paper piecing was a cinch, but I was totally defeated by the tiny curves.   Just not enough fabric to work with!  So, I'm heading back to the drawing board, trying to figure out what kind of border to add to this mini to make it pop.  Maybe I'll freehand some other kind of paper pieced border, we'll see.

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Brooke's block for {Sew} Beautiful - Brooke has asked for Mod Mosaic blocks, using a gradated color plan she shared on her blog.  I think this is going to be really stunning.  My color pack is green, so I'll be working from yellow to green to green-blue in my block.

The munchkin's new quilt - The munchkin announced at lunch a few weeks ago that his quilts are too big.  That he wants one he can snuggle up with like his Grammy blanket, a ratty old blue fleece blanket my mother gave him.  He has asked that it be a superhero quilt, with lots of blue (still going strong as his favorite color!), but that's about as far as I've gotten with him.   So far, I've pulled together these fabrics, working from a Batman-inspired color scheme.

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Patchwork Wheel scrap quilt - I know I said I was going to wait on this, but my one Patchwork Wheel block looked kind of lonely, so I decided to make a few friends for it :)  I love how simple this block is to make, and how cool is looks when you start putting blocks together.

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And last but not least, I can share one tiny (and I do mean tiny!) snippet of a project I've finished up that I'm hoping you'll see in a few months.

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Now, you know the drill - write up what you're working on and share it over at Lee's for WiP Wednesday.  Scoot on over there to see lots of other great bloggers and what they're up to this week.
Monday, April 2, 2012

A New York state of mind

Hard to believe it's April already, isn't it?  Did you see Amy's fab post yesterday?  If not, hop on over there and check it out.  Totally awesome. :)

No April Fools' pranks at my house this weekend, just a nice visit with my mother and a bit of sewing.  Not too long ago, I received a gorgeous bundle of Oakshott shot cotton fabrics.  I had no idea what I was going to use them for at first, but I knew I was looking forward to trying them out.

Oakshott Shot Cottons - SOOOO gorgeous in person
 
I stared at them for a while, and this weekend, I felt compelled to whack into them and start using them.  My friend Amy asked me to join in a small New York Beauty swap between friends, and I just had a feeling that these shot cottons would be gorgeous as part of a New York Beauty mini or pillow.

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As I paper pieced my little heart out with these beauties, I marveled at just how gorgeous they were.  Practically iridescent, these fabrics changed colors every time I moved the fabric, almost shimmering in the light.  Not only that, they're super soft.

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It's been a while since I've done intense paper piecing, but I've had fun so far, working on these little quarter blocks.  I'm not quite sure how many more blocks I'm going to do just yet, but I'm playing around with the layout, trying to decide what I like best.

NY Beauty in progress



The other highlight of my weekend was seeing my dear husband tackling the crazy invasion of pollen and leaves in our front yard.  I've never seen so much pollen in our yard in all the years we've lived here; it feels as if our huge oak tree has an endless supply this year!  I sure hope we've seen the worst of it by now.

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The mailman also made my day this weekend - I got some gorgeous bee blocks in the mail from my friends in the {Sew} Beautiful bee.  For my turn last month, I asked them to make up one of three blocks I designed, strictly using squares of different sizes, to create a quilt I'm calling Squaretastic for now.  I will be sharing tutorials with you guys for the three Squaretastic blocks at some point, as soon as I find some time to make some blocks of my own.

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All in all, definitely a good weekend.  What did you do this weekend?  Did you do some sewing?  Happy Monday!
 hello

Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy six year old boy and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?

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