Exploding Star and interview in MQU!

Good morning everyone, happy Monday to you! I hope you had a great weekend. I must say, I did indeed have a great weekend, capped off my some super happy mail that was delivered to me on Saturday - the summer 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited with my name on the cover. Seriously?! Yep, that's my name all right. Wow. Granted, that's not my quilt, but gosh, to see my name on a magazine cover is just beyond astounding to me.

The summer 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited features an interview with me, which was a lot of fun to do, as well as several photos of some of my favorite quilts, and one of my favorite photos of the munchkin, working away in EQ on a sick day a few months ago. He was super excited when I showed him the picture of him in a real, live magazine.

There's also a pattern from me in the magazine, called Exploding Star. Exploding Star is (shocker) a paper-pieced star pattern that uses several different templates to create the exploding effect. I sewed this one up in assorted solids from Modern Solids II by Alissa Haight Carlton, and I love the sparkling effect they give to the piecing.

The quilting on this mini is done in several different coordinating shades of 50 wt Aurifil, my go-to free-motion quilting thread. There's several different styles of fmq throughout the quilt, in the different areas, which was a lot of fun to do. I also did some "faux" straight line quilting, where I use my free-motion foot and outline certain areas of the quilt. My relationship with my walking foot is a bit lackluster, so I rarely use it - instead I do straight-ish line quilting with the free-motion foot, which is way more comfortable for me.

This issue should be hitting your local Barnes & Nobles and Jo-Anns and such in the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for it. There's some really fun patterns inside, including a fun pixelated guitar pattern by Penny Barnes. Have a great day!

Quilt Stats
name: Exploding Star
pattern: by yours truly, available in the Summer 2014 issue of Modern Quilts Unlimited
fabrics: assorted solids from In the Beginning's Modern Solids II
quilting: linear L's, zig zags, pulleys, wishbones, and faux straight-line quilting all in assorted coordinating shades of Aurifil 50 wt cotton thread


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!

Spring Quilt Market 2013: Odds and Ends

Quilty people are the best people, aren't they? Every time I get to go to something like Quilt Market or Stash Bash or what-have-you, I'm reminded of this. Everyone was so kind and welcoming! I got to place lots of names with faces and I got to see lots of great people I'm lucky to call friends in Portland.

On Friday, I got to sit in on the Portland Modern Quilt Guild's regular meeting, which had a presentation on the new MQG membership model by Alissa Haight Carlton as well as an amazing trunk show by Jacquie Gering. I adore Jacquie, and being the tall girl I am, she asked me to help Jen hold her quilts, which was so amazing. Being up close and personal with those quilts was just incredible. And hearing Jacquie speak about her quilts, gosh... I'm not sure I can put into words how hearing her speak and share her passion made me feel. Suffice it to say, it was something I won't forget for quite some time.

Alissa and Jacquie at PMQG meeting

And I can't forget to mention Jamie...she lives in the Portland area and was kind enough to drive some of us about here and there. Her sense of direction caused quite a bit of laughter, the kind of laughter that nearly brings you to tears. I will never look at a bike lane quite the same way again, Jamie!! Thanks for the rides!

It was such a kick picking up my nametag and attaching a sneak peek of my book cover to it! It was positively surreal to talk to people and have them ask about my book. It made me kind of swallow my fear of talking about myself, and I had some great conversations with people as a result of that beautiful little conversation starter.

My nametag :)

Speaking of my inability to talk about myself, there's something kind of big I've been up to that I haven't really shared here on my blog yet. Since the end of January, I've been on a bit of journey. A journey to become a healthier, fitter me. I've never been a thin person, other than when I was a young child. I've always been heavier, in part due to my love of baking and also because I've always despised exercising. But something happened to me in January. I decided I wanted to make a change. I didn't like what I saw in the mirror and the way that I felt. I've half-heartedly dieted over the years, but there's something different about this change I've been making. It's not a diet. It's a lifestyle change, as cheesy as it sounds. I'm not just changing the way I eat for now, I'm doing it forever. And it feels good. I started doing Weight Watchers first, and after seeing some good results in the first eight weeks, I added in some exercise, starting with the 30 Day Shred. I spent 29 days doing the 30 Day Shred, and now I'm doing the Hip Hop Abs video series, and having a shocking amount of fun with it. It doesn't feel like work when I constantly see the scale moving and feel my body changing. I'm usually a pretty private person, but sharing my successes and seeing the success and accountability of others on IG using the #sweatnsew hashtag is really inspiring and keeps me going. I'm talking about you, Terri and Becky! My journey is not yet over, but I'm halfway to my goal, which is a great feeling.

This whole change in me made going to Market a really interesting experience - lots of people noticed that I looked different, which was both flattering and mildly mortifying at the same time. Sometimes I even have a hard time seeing a change in myself, so I thought I'd dig up some pictures from last Market to compare to pictures from this Market. Left side is last year, 40 pounds heavier, and right side is this year, with the lovely Cindy of Live a Colorful Life. Don't you love her gorgeous Little Folks raincoat?!?!

Side by side - last Market and this Market
left: Spring Market 2012
right: Spring Market 2013 with Cindy/Live a Colorful Life

So, this is my last Spring Market post for this year. Next week, I'm planning to get back into my sewing room and start making a dent in my ridiculous wip list, starting with end-of-the-year teacher gifts! Are you making teacher gifts this year? What are you making? I'm still undecided, and running out of time! Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

Sew Thinky Thursday: My sewing history

Have you seen the new linky party, Sew Thinky Thursday? My friend Emily, of Mommy's Nap Time, has started a new linky party that encourages thought and reflection on your sewing journey, and this is her first week, so I wanted to make sure to participate to support her on this fun new creation. I like to think and reflect, and I don't do it nearly as often as I'd like, so here goes.

This week's question: When did you start sewing? Tell us a bit about your sewing history. When did you realize you were hooked?

Me, around age 7, with one of my favorite dolls and a doll quilt my aunt Jeannie made
My first attempts at sewing were in my early girlhood, and I failed miserably. My mother wasn't much of a sewist, but my aunt was. She was a quilter, and lived very far away, so I didn't really have an adult to teach me. I had doll clothes and quilts that my aunt had made me (like the one in the picture) to admire and I tried to teach myself from books at the library. I think these early failures have something to do with my healing distaste for hand-sewing, as these were hand-sewing attempts. The good news is I have almost gotten over my allergy of hand-sewing, at this point. As I approached my teen years, I learned to cross-stitch, and enjoyed that for a while, until I decided it was dorky and boring, so I quit doing that and spent my energy being a moody, journaling teenager instead.

My kiddo, shortly after I started sewing, with his homemade Cat in the Hat hat
After my son was born and I became a stay-at-home mom, I needed an outlet. I needed something to do, something to feel proud about, something to exercise my creativity. All of my adult life, I'd been a workaholic, the kind of person who was proud of their work and got a lot of enjoyment from it, so I felt like I needed something that could take the place of that hole in my life, though I enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom a great deal. I was wandering around Jo-Ann's one day, looking for something to do, and I stumbled into the sewing machine center, and wound up walking out with a sewing machine, a rotary cutting mat, a rotary cutter and so forth. I checked out books from the library, and tried a handful of projects from those books, from a notebook cover to receiving blankets and a Cat in the Hat hat, and it wasn't until I made my first quilt that I really felt hooked. I felt like it was something that was fun for me to do, that took thought and effort, that made me feel like I was something more than just a mom. In short, it was awesome.

After that first quilt, from which I learned all kinds of things to NOT do when quilting, I trucked right on, starting another quilt, learning more from it, and then another, and another, and eventually starting my blog, and to this day, there isn't a day that goes by without my thinking about sewing or doing actual sewing. It's a part of my life now that I can't imagine my life without. When I meet people, I identify myself as a mom and a quilter. It's a huge part of my identity. Sewing really changed my life for the better. It's led me to being more social than I've been in years, brought a kind of joy that was lacking in my life, and has afforded me opportunities I couldn't possibly have dreamed of when I first started.

Tampa Modern Quilt Guild - January Meeting 2013
photo of me by Katie Ringo of Katie's Quilting Corner; at January Tampa MQG  meeting
Want to join in the thinking and sharing fun? Link up your post with Mommy's Nap Time every Thursday. I'm looking forward to linking up and learning more about other blogging quilters. Happy Thursday - and stay tuned for a new tutorial tomorrow!

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 :)


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...


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!


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 :)

Five hundred, twenty-five thousand, six hundred minutes of me

Holy cow, I cannot believe it is officially my first blogiversary today.  It doesn't feel like an entire year has passed since I created this little blog, but the day has indeed come.  I actually almost forgot - I happened to click the "oldest" button on the Edit Posts page in Blogger, and saw the date of my first post, and just about fell off my chair.  Really?   Has it been a year???

It's been a wild first year, but I have to say, I can't imagine my life without this blog now.  I've "met" so many wonderful people through my blog, learned so many new things, and enjoyed every minute of it.  I feel like I've grown so much over this last year and tackled so many things I never thought I'd be able to do, from making 28 quilts to writing tutorials to hosting two quilt-alongs to participating in super cool Flickr swaps.  Thank you to everyone who visits my blog, leaves me comments, and all of you who have inspired me over this last year in this virtual world of quilting.  I am having so much fun!  Here's a few of my favorite highlights over this last year:

1. Finished warm/cool quilt - the fence shot, 2. Kaleidoscope quilt - front view, 3. Finished another bookshelf mini - for a tutorial!, 4. Finished Modern Crosses Baby quilt, 5. Hooty Supernova - finished!, 6. Tristan's quilt, 7. A blue block for Angela, 8. do.Good.Stitches September Bliss blocks, 9. For Jules, 10. String Me Along - Beth's block, 11. Megan's Mini - Rainbow Crossing, 12. Cathedral Windows UGH Pillow, 13. Finished PTS pillow!, 14. Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #1, 15. A trio of holiday pillows, 16. Modern Crosses baby finished back, 17. MHC Drunk Love quilt - finished, 18. Megan's X block for {Sew} Beautiful, 19. Summer Sampler: Kansas Dust Bowl block, 20. My first arty quilt shot, 21. Off to the airport we go!, 22. Bottled Rainbows top - complete!, 23. Stringy Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend, 24. Mom's birthday pillow, 25. A Legion of Dots quilt - front angle, 26. Circle of Friendship pillow - 2, 27. Sewing Summit nametag - done!, 28. Finished January Block - {Sew} Beautiful Bee, 29. Finished Tetris-inspired mug rug, 30. DSCN5693, 31. 100 Quilts for Kids quilt top, 32. A finished diamond pillow!, 33. Finished Summer Sampler blocks!, 34. Stained glass HSTs, 35. Spiderweb close-up #2, 36. Hooty Supernova - Plus back

And what's an anniversary without a present???  To thank you all for being a part of my blog over this last year, I've got a lovely Cosmo Cricket Circa 1934 layer cake up for grabs, thanks to the lovely Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics who is generously celebrating with me today.  Isn't it adorable?  I love Cosmo Cricket, and Circa 1934 is a super unique new line for Moda.  Personally, I'm a big fan of the reds in this collection, and the black prints are super fun, too.

To enter, simply leave me a comment, tell me what you'd like to see on my blog over the next year.  Another quilt-along?  More patterns?  More process posts?   Talk to me!  :)   I will draw a winner with Mr. Random's help on Monday night, 9/26/11, at 11:59 p.m. EST.  Good luck and have an awesome weekend!

NOTE: This giveaway is now closed.

What a year it's been...

Just a year ago today, I started my very first quilt, thanks to a budding fabric addiction.  It's a really shoddy quilt, looking back on it, but it was definitely the start of something big for me.  Previous to this quilt, I had sewn a few receiving blankets and some burp cloths.  I had always thought quilting was pretty awesome, thanks to my amazing aunt who has quilted for most of her life, but had never thought I could do it myself.  My mother attempted to teach me to sew as a kid, but it didn't really stick.  I cross-stitched for a while, but eventually gave up after getting frustrated by the tedious patterns.

I bought a sewing machine at the beginning of 2010 on a whim, and slowly began gathering fabrics.  What for?  I didn't really know right away.  I started reading everything I could about sewing, and started some small sewing projects here and there, like some simple flannel blankets, burp cloths, and even a simple sling bag.

I picked up Amy Karol's Bend-the-Rules Sewing book at the library and I found a super simple strip quilt pattern, and I felt compelled to try it.  I had no idea what I was doing, barely knew how to measure and cut fabric, it's amazing the quilt was even a rectangle.  I used store-bought binding, which I haven't done since, and totally fudged my way through mitering the corners.  So, like I said, it's a little shoddy, but it's my first quilt, and it made me a quilter.  This little quilt stoked a fire in me that has kept me quilting for the last year.

It's kind of hard to believe I've only been doing this for a year, I feel like it'e been a part of my life forever now.  I feel so lucky to have found a hobby that I enjoy so much that brings such joy to me.  Happy quiltaversary to me, I'm so glad I found quilting and then found all of you wonderful people to share it with.  Your comments and feedback really make my day and it's so nice to find others who share my passion.  I hope you all have a wonderful day!  :)