Friday, June 28, 2013

Goodbye to you, Google Reader

Goodbye Google Reader


Well, it seems there's no going back now: Google Reader will be finito as of Monday, July 1st. I had hoped that Google would see the outpouring of disappointment and rescue it from the abyss, but no such luck. So, if you use Google Reader to read my blog and loads of others, I don't want you to wake up on Monday with nothing to read! Here's some alternative ways to read my blog...

Bloglovin
Feedly
Blog by email
RSS feed for the RSS Reader of your choice
Facebook
Twitter

Personally, I keep going back and forth between Feedly and Bloglovin', both seem to be good alternatives that are fairly easy to use.

Are you still on the fence about how you want to read blogs starting next week? This LifeHacker article gives you lots of different options as well as the pros and cons of each. Have a wonderful Friday and a great weekend everyone!
Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Chaos

It's been a super crazy couple of weeks in my neck of the woods. I feel like I've hardly sat at my sewing machine, save for a few stolen moments earlier this week when I whipped up the July block for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club. For those of you who hoped for an easier star after two really challenging ones, you're getting your wish! This month's star is a simple eight-template star, so we're going to take it easy this month!

July - Lucky Star block in progress

I'm missing sewing terribly, but unfortunately, I don't see things changing too much for at a few more weeks. After a frenzied, stressful week and a half of house hunting, we've found ourselves a wonderful new house and are now in the oh-so-enjoyable process of moving. I've been a purging machine this week, lining up bag after bag to donate to Goodwill and even more bags for the garbage man! It's sad to think of packing up my sewing room, but I'm really excited about our new house, so I'm hoping that excitement will carry me through the move. So, if you don't hear much from me over the next few weeks, know that I'm purging and packing and wishing I was sewing!

A new friend stopping by our new house
The new house also has a bonus feature: a deer family that lives nearby!
Friday, June 21, 2013

Paying it Forward: A starry, starry mini

I just finished up my last Pay It Forward (PIF) project, so combining that with the big destash I did on Instagram yesterday, I'm going to be spending the next day or so packing stuff for the post office. I'm excited to see what everyone thinks of their packages, I hope they'll enjoy them!

Starry, starry mini

This last project uses negative space as a main design element. I love quilts with lots of negative space, but I also love block-based quilts, but in looking through my work, I haven't really done many quilts with lots of negative space, so I really wanted to work on something small with lots of negative space. I've got another negative space project going at the moment, but I'll share some progress on that one next week.

Red star

Stars a big obsession for me right now (I think the Lucky Stars Block of the Month club is a big indicator of that!), and I'm pretty sure my PIF person that I made this for is a big fan of stars as well. I've been sorting through my fabric a lot these last few weeks, taking out pieces that I wanted to destash, and I came across a piece of Lizzy House's Constellations and inspiration struck. Floating stars! So I started working on some EPP stars, using different shapes, to place on a sea of Constellations.

Gold star

I'm really happy with how this turned out, from the simple but effective quilting to the matchy-matchy binding - I love that effect on minis - and I hope that it will be well loved. There are two simple hanging triangles on the back of the quilt so that it can be hung with ease.

Orange star

Quilt Stats
name: Starry, Starry
size: 18" x 22"
fabrics: from my scrap bin!
pattern: n/a, but used various EPP pieces from my favorite source, paperpieces.com, including the kite, hexagon, equilateral triangle, and 8-point diamond
quilting: various fmq designs around each star in 40 wt Aurifil in color #2725
binding: Lizzy House Constellations Stars in Black

Starry, starry mini - back

I hope you all have a great Friday and a fantastic weekend :)
Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Paying it Forward: Jacquie's Super Tote

One of the things I love about sewing is sewing up gifts for people, especially people who will appreciate such gifts. Before I left for Market, I had an uncontrollable urge to sew up a Super Tote, and in Instagramming the process, a quilty mentor of mine asked me to make her one. Of course I said yes!

Another cross-body Super Tote!

Jacquie Gering of Tallgrass Prairie Studios was one of the first modern quilt bloggers I ever followed. Her quilts have always been such an inspiration to me, encouraging me to set aside my Type A personality and try improv piecing and to continually try new things. She's one of those quilters whose style is instantly recognizable - you just know when you see one of Jacquie's quilts, and I really admire how clear her style is. She's such an engaging person, she really motivates you and makes you want to tell a story with your quilts. If you haven't seen her amazing book with Katie Pedersen, Quilting Modern: Techniques and Projects for Improvisational Quilts, you really need to check it out. It's a fantastic resource for modern techniques as well as lots of quilty eye candy - it's definitely one of the most well-worn and loved quilting books on my bookshelf.

Jacquie mid-trunk-show at PMQG meeting in May

Jacquie's favorite color is orange, so while I was in Portland, I picked up a great Comma asterisk print for her Super Tote as well as a great dark wash denim to use for the main body of the bag. I thought the denim would be a good all-around fabric to use, and would contrast nicely with the Comma print.

Fabric Depot - shopping for denim!

Sewing this bag up the second time around definitely was faster than the first time, since I had a measurable amount of confidence that I knew what I was doing, although the first time didn't take too long either. I changed up the strap again, creating a long cross-body strap, and I also changed the interior pockets to a smaller pocket on both sides of the bag, just the right size for a cell phone or wallet. This bag is definitely large, so I've found that smaller pockets make it easier to find things. I used a fun aqua zipper for a pop of color against the Hope Valley lining. I hope Jacquie enjoys it - I've found that my Super Tote has become my favorite everyday bag!

A fun aqua zip for Jacquie's Super Tote

I'm sending off this lovely bag today, and have just one more Pay It Forward project to finish up this week to wrap up this project. I've really enjoyed this process and will definitely do it again.
Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day!

It's the third Sunday of June, and that means it's a day to honor our dads for all that they do in our lives. Father's Day is a little bit bittersweet for me, now that my dad is gone, but I try to think about the good times and all of the things I learned from him. And one of the things I learned from him is what a good dad does, and I think it really helped me to find my husband and know that he was the man for me. There's that old saying about how women marry their fathers, and to some extent, I think it's kind of true. My husband has the same even temperament that my father did, even when I'm driving him crazy. He's an optimist, a comedian, but more important than all of that, he's a wonderful father. He always says that I'm teaching our son all that he knows, but he really deserves just as much of the credit, if not more.

Best dad!


In my little family, we like to spoil my husband on Father's Day. The last few Father's Days have been especially challenging, because one of the ways I like to spoil him is with food. When he was found to have a dairy allergy a few years ago, that really put a dent in my baking plans, but I've gotten better at non-dairy baking and I think this year I might have knocked it out of the park...

Cookie dough cheesecake for dad


Oh yes, those are cookie dough cheesecake bars. Non-dairy ones even! And compared to most baked goods, they're fairly healthful. Best of all, they taste good. That's my main complaint with lots of the non-dairy stuff, but these are darned tasty. They need to set a bit longer, as the filling looks a bit soft, but I'm sure they'll be perfect by the time we have them after dinner.

We're also cooking up some french toast this morning, adapting a recipe from Mother's Bistro in Portland. Remember how I loved their French toast when I was in Portland? My munchkin and I are making that this morning, just with various non-dairy milks in lieu of the whipping cream and half-and-half called for in the recipe. If you need a go-to French toast recipe, you need the Mother's Bistro cookbook, called Mother's Best: Comfort Food That Takes You Home Again. And there's way more than just French toast in there! It's a beautiful cookbook, lots of great, mouthwatering photographs and really authentic recipes. Thumbs up!

I hope you've got a great day planned, and that your dad or husband is going to have a wonderful day today. Happy Father's Day everyone!
Tuesday, June 11, 2013

This just got really real...

Guys, my book is officially available for pre-order on Amazon ! Wowza, this whole writing-a-book-thing just got really real!

Becoming a Confident Quilter - my book, due out September 2013

Amazon also has a few sneak peeks of the quilts that are in the book as well, which is extra fun to see since I haven't seen them in so long. I actually sat down last night and looked through a lot of the photos I took while I worked on the book, and they just made me smile. Like this photo, taken when I was working on the scrap quilt in my book (preview photo up on Amazon !) - this whole quilt makes me smile, but just going through the photos and seeing the quilts come together made me feel really proud of how hard I worked, how much of me I put into this book.


And after many requests, I've also listed my book for pre-order in my Pattern Shop. All books purchased through my Pattern Shop will be autographed, and should be shipped out on or around September 10th, via USPS Priority Mail.

Here's hoping I manage to get some sewing time in today - summer is already beginning to steal my sewing mojo a bit. Have a fantastic day!
Monday, June 10, 2013

Paying it forward: An EPP pouch

Thanks for all the well wishes for my broken fridge last week - they worked! The fridge is now back up and running, which is a wonderful thing. And the other big news from the last week is that my munchkin is now a preschool graduate, ready to start kindergarten in the fall. Oh my goodness.

Today is the first official day of summer for us, and one of my big goals this summer, other than big family fun, is to work through my Pay-It-Forward list, slowly but surely. Back in January, there was a little meme floating around on Instagram and Facebook, where people asked for 5 volunteers to sign up and agree to receive a small gift sometime during the year, in exchange for offering the same opportunity to 5 people of their own. I've got five great people to craft for, and so far, I've made some pouches and some divided baskets, and today I'm wrapping up another gift, a pouch with some EPP applique.

PIF EPP Pouch - front view

I really enjoy doing English Paper Piecing these days, and this pouch is actually an EPP starter kit for one of my pay-it-forward peeps. I made a simple pouch, using some black yarn dyed Essex and some beautiful charms of Laura Gunn's newest collection, Edges, for Michael Miller. I used an EPP block pattern I picked up a while back, Octagon Variation #2, and appliqued it using clear thread to the front of the pouch.

PIF EPP Pouch - top view

Inside the pouch, there's some needles, thread, Wonder Clips , and of course some EPP paper pieces to get started with. I sure hope that the recipient will enjoy some EPP thanks to these goodies!

PIF EPP Pouch - side view
Monday, June 3, 2013

A little something sweet

It's the last week of school here at my house, and that means it's time for a little gift for my munchkin's preschool teachers. I made them some simple drawstring bags, using Happy-Go-Lucky. Such an easy gift to whip up!

Teacher gifts

Then, I decided to fill them up with one of my favorite cookie recipes, peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. Seriously, these are the best cookies! Since I'm on my new healthy journey, I didn't have any (wow, that was seriously hard!), but I do know that whenever I make these cookies for people, they eat up every last one and rave about them. They're Brown Eyed Baker's Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies, and I highly recommend them. My munchkin also made a nice thank you card to stick inside of each bag, and I printed up a copy of the recipe so the teachers can bake some whenever they'd like.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies for the teachers!

It's bittersweet to be wrapping up the school year already - the munchkin will be graduating from preschool this week, and this fall, he'll start kindergarten. Where did the time go?!?! I get all choked up just thinking about him in a cap and gown this week. I'm going to need to stock up on tissues!

A sweet surprise inside

While this is shaping up to be an exciting week, it sure started with a bang...a bad one. Our fridge went on the fritz last night, so I spent my evening fretting about all the groceries going bad and how much the repair was going to cost, rather than sewing like I had planned. I'm crossing my fingers that my handy husband is able to fix the darned fridge today without much effort or dough, but we'll see. Here's hoping that the week gets better today! Have a good day!

The fridge is bare :(
Saturday, June 1, 2013

A summertime star for the Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club

Good morning and happy Saturday, everyone! I hope you have some fun plans for the weekend. :)

As it's the first of the month, it's time to share this month's Lucky Stars Block of the Month pattern: the Sunlight Star...

June Lucky Stars BOM - The Sunlight Star

Emails have gone out at this time to all Lucky Stars BOM club members. If you're not already a member and would like to be one, you can join right here, and you'll receive all past block patterns in addition to the remaining patterns for the year. Have a great day!
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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a very busy nine year old boy and a one year old baby girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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