A few of my favorite things...

I've really missed watching the yearly airing of "The Sound of Music" the last several holiday seasons. Either it hasn't been on, or I've just been missing it! In any case, I was really excited to watch the new production of "The Sound of Music" last night on NBC. I'm a sucker for a musical, having grown up in musical theater, and "The Sound of Music" is one of those classics that I can't resist. I enjoyed watching the new production - I'm not a huge country music fan, but I thought Carrie Underwood did a fine job, though she's no Julie Andrews, and she managed to nail one of my favorite songs from the show, "My Favorite Things." Humming that song while brushing my teeth last night, it dawned on me that this is the perfect time of year to jot down a few of my favorite things, just in case Santa needs a few ideas for quilty items to stick in my stocking or under the tree...

Creative Grids rulers - one of my favorite things

Creative Grids rulers - You really can't go wrong with these rulers. They grip your fabric so nicely, and the lines are really crisp. I sure would love to get a 6 1/2" Quilting Ruler, as I have most of the larger square sizes and I already have my most favorite ruler size, the 6 1/2" x 24 1/2".

Aurifil - one of my favorite things

Aurifil - Santa, every quilter needs some Aurifil in her life! I'm a huge fan of the 50 wt (orange cone) for pretty much all things quilty. It would be fun to get a few fun colors of thread in one's stocking!

Graph paper notebooks - one of my favorite things

Graph paper - While I love using EQ, I do still love graph paper, and graph paper notebooks are a lot of fun to have around for doodling.

Extra wound bobbins - one of my favorite things

Extra bobbins - I've been meaning to buy some extra bobbins for my Juki since I bought the darned thing, and I keep forgetting, so they sure would be nice.

505 Basting Spray - one of my favorite things

505 Basting Spray - Can't live without this stuff. I actually tried to pin baste a quilt earlier this year, because I was low on spray, thinking it couldn't be that bad and that surely I could do it. Um, no. I gave up and went out and bought a can of spray baste!

Seam Fix seam ripper - one of my favorite things


Seam Fix - I love a good seam ripper, and I think I've found my most favorite one to date, the Seam Fix . It's a seam ripper that has a bit of an eraser-like feature to it, to help grab all those tiny fiddly pieces of thread that you leave behind when you rip out a seam. It's fantastic, but seam rippers don't last forever, Santa. Plus, you know how prone I am to losing things! A backup would be good.

Heat Press batting tape - one of my favorite things
 
Batting Tape - Santa, you've seen me baste quilts - there's always leftover batting, right? I love using batting tape to fuse leftover chunks together into a big piece of Franken-batting! This stuff comes on a pretty big roll, but it goes quickly, so an extra roll or two would be handy. Just steer clear of the black rolls, because I've never used black batting, okay?

Tell me, friends, what are some of your favorite small quilty things? Are there any notions that you just cannot live without that you love to tell others about? When I teach, talking about notions is one of my favorite things to do after class, to compare notes and to learn about other notions I might never have tried otherwise, like that Seam Fix seam ripper.  And don't forget, today is the last day of the 2013/2014 combo deal for the Lucky Stars BOM!! I hope you have a great Friday and a wonderful weekend!

Divided Basket Headquarters

It's starting to feel a little bit like a sweatshop in my sewing room - I've been working on a lot of the same thing the last week, which is a bit unlike me. I'm trying to plow through my end-of-the-year preschool teacher gifts as well as some of the recipients on my Pay It Forward list.

All three together

I love Anna's great Divided Basket pattern. Have you made one yet? I highly recommend it, Anna's patterns are so easy to follow. I've officially made four of these baskets now, and I love each one dearly. I guess that's what happens when you use fabric you love. :)

Divided basket assembly line

The first one I made was for Marla, as a part of a post Stash Bash swap, using some of Ellen Luckett Baker's first line for Kokka, Stamped. I really love the colors in this one, and I was so pleased with how easily the whole thing came together. Seriously, I think the fabric and interfacing cutting took more longer than the actual sewing!

Basket for Marla


Then I decided to cut into some of my favorite Ruby Star Sparkle by Melody Miller for a PIF (pay-it-forward) gift. I only had a half-yard, so on the back side of the basket, the phones are upside down, but I think it's kind of endearing that way.

Melody Miller divided basket

I wanted to do one more PIF (pay-it-forward) gift basket, so I pulled out a stack of Anna Maria Horner fabrics, and grabbed the one on top, a cut from Innocent Crush. As soon as I picked up the stack, I knew who this basket would be for (but I'm not telling yet!!). Because Innocent Crush is a quilting weight fabric instead of a canvas or home dec fabric, like the pattern suggests, I used two layers of interfacing for extra stability - Pellon Fusible Fleece, as the pattern calls for, and a layer of Pellon Craft Fuse, another fusible that I tend to use a lot of. It worked out quite well, so I will definitely do that again if I use a quilting cotton for this pattern.

AMH divided basket

The last basket I worked on put some new fabric to use - a cheater Kokka patchwork fabric I got in Portland at Bolt. I saw Susan, the owner of The Quilt Asylum, walking around with this bolt, and she was generous enough to let me have a half-yard off of it. The lining is an Aneela Hoey print from Sew Stitchy, which I thought would make a cute lining for this divided basket. It would make a great scrap basket, don't you think? I've decided now I definitely need to make one for me if I wind up giving this adorable one away.

Kokka patchwork divided basket


What about you? Do you like to sew the same project again and again? Have a great Wednesday!

Happy birthday my friend :)

My best friend is having a birthday this weekend.  I knew exactly what I wanted to make for her birthday, but what I didn't account for was that my munchkin saw it when I finished it up.  He is the worst surprise-giver, secret-keeper ever.  Mother's Day this year wound up being a day early, because he couldn't hold in the surprise of what he had made for me with his dad.  I figured if I didn't hurry up and give my gift to Cindy, he was totally going to spill the beans, so this year, she got her present a bit early.

Cindy's birthday miniquilt  - side view

Cindy is in the process of writing a book of her own, so I wanted to give her a shelf with her own book on it.  She and I both love the art of writing, and I'm so excited for her and proud of her writing so far.  I know that she will finish this book and it will be on shelves one day, and I can't wait to see that day come.  So, in an effort to keep her inspired and show her how much I believe in her, I decided to make her a bookshelf miniquilt, using her favorite color green, along with some blues for accent and contrast.

The quote at the bottom of the mini is from Carol Burnett (believe it or not!)...

"Words, once they are written, have a life of their own."


Cindy's birthday miniquilt

I love that!!  When I found it, I knew it was a quote she would appreciate, and I really enjoyed stitching it on here for her.  I just wish I'd used a darker embroidery thread!!  It's a bit easier to read in person, I swear!

Cindy was super excited when I gave her this mini, which made me super happy.  She's going to hang it in the room where she does her writing, which is super perfect.

Happy early birthday, Cindy!  (again!)

ETA - If you love this mini and haven't seen it before, I wrote a tutorial on how to make one of your own a while back, which you can find right here.

Circle of Friendship Pillow

It's funny, sometimes out of sadness comes real beauty.  When I learned that a dear friend of mine was moving for a great job opportunity, I was sad.  She's been a good friend to me, and to my family, and while I'm sad to see her go, I'm excited about this new phase of her life for her.  As I often do when I feel intensely about something, I took to my sketchbook, and sketched out what I was feeling.  Believe it or not, I kept sketching color wheels.  I wanted to make something for her, to brighten her new temporary living space while she works out the details of uprooting and moving her family and life to a new city.  I've spent a lot of time in hotels in my life, and while for a few days, they can be a welcome change of pace, I can imagine that day after day, it can get a bit...well...lonely.  Enter this pillow.

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As I worked on my Bottled Rainbows blocks, I realized there was no way I was going to make much of a dent in my scraps.  My scraps are now wonderfully organized by color, which is fantastic, but there's still lots of them, so I started to play with them.  I wound up with a pretty good sized chunk of lime green fabrics, and I decided to cut a dresden leaf from them, using my Fat Cats dresden ruler.

The importance of play

Then, I did some quick math and realized that I could totally do a color wheel with dresden leaves, if I did two of each color, for a total of 12 leaves.  Then, I got to work, and pieced a bunch of random scraps together, and it started to look like a color wheel, slowly but surely.  I cannot find the right words to tell you how much fun it was to just play and cut and let my fingers wander.

color wheel in progress

When it came to finishing this pillow and quilting it, I went super simple with some random straight-line quilting.  I traced the lines I wanted on the muslin backing side of my quilt sandwich, and went to town.  It was a lot of fun, actually, although I normally get bored with straight-line quilting.  I really like the effect it has here.


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I hope that this pillow will bring some cheer to my friend in her new journey.  I know it brought some cheer to me while I was working on it and it absolutely re-energized me creatively.

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I'm going to enter this pillow in Stitched in Color's fantastic Blogger's Pillow Party.  If you're interested in making a pillow, this is a fantastic place to look for inspiration!!

Blogger's Pillow Party

Stacked Robot twin quilts

First off, thank you all for your birthday wishes for my little munchkin!  He had a wonderful birthday, was super proud to announce to everyone who asked that he was indeed 3, and made out like a bandit.  We had a huge family gathering at my house to celebrate and he had a fantastic time.  The new quilt has made it to his bed and seems to be quite snuggly.


There's another new pair of twins in the world receiving some quilts from me - two cute little boys, Cameron and Hunter.  Needless to say, I've got no shortage of cute fabrics for little boys, including a ton of leftover fabric from the twin quilt I made last year for my son's big boy bed, so I raided my stash, paired it with some Kona solids, went to town, and came up with my 4th and 5th quilt finishes of the year.  Must keep the momentum going...


These quilts were incredibly easy to piece together, I went with a simple stacked coin-style quilt, using different sized coins and extra wide sashing strips.  Some of the coins were fussy cut, but most were actual scraps from the twin sized quilt.  This quilt was made 110% from my stash, which was a nice surprise.  It's so nice to have things organized and be able to shop at home!



I tried to give the quilts a little bit of unique personality, though I worry that I didn't make them unique and different enough from each other.  The backs are totally different, however, thanks to some super bright Kona solids I used.  I'm really feeling solids at the moment, I totally see an all-solid quilt in my future.


Quilt Stats
Name(s): Stacked Robots for Cameron and Hunter
Size: 52" x 56" (each)
Fabrics: David Walker's Robots collection, as well as some random Heather Bailey's Bijoux, Lizzy House's Castle Peeps, and Moda Marble Dots for the binding
Quilting: All-over meandering stipple


I'm linking up today with Fabric Tuesday over at QuiltStory.  Hop on over to see some other recent fabric finishes!

She's got a ticket to ride...

My niece is going to be one super happy girl when she opens her birthday presents from me.  She lives far, far away, unfortunately, so I won't get to see that moment of joy, but here's hoping that my sister will take pictures, because I suspect there may be squealing involved...

Katie recently received a hand-me-down gift from my mother, the doll cradle my sister and I shared (okay, fought over) when we were growing up.  I figured it was only appropriate for me to make a doll to go with!  I dug out my drool-covered copy of Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love and found the perfect doll for Katie, a pattern named Patchwork Penny.  And bonus, it had a pattern for a matching little doll quilt!


I had a Cabbage Patch doll that I adored as a little girl, and one of the things I liked best was that she looked like me.  Not that I liked Barbie any less for her blonde hair and blue eyes, but I liked having a doll with dark hair and dark eyes like me.  So, I chose to make Penny look as much like Katie as I could.



As always, Hillary's pattern was super easy to follow, but it did lead to cursing, as usual.  I am just not a very confident hand stitcher, especially when it comes to ladder stitching.  Oh well.  I did my best.  I really enjoyed making the wig of yarn and stitching it onto the doll, though I dreaded that step of the process and put it off for a good day before trying it.


My husband thought this adorable little doll quilt was a placemat gone awry (he thought it was sized oddly for a placemat).  Seriously.  He redeemed himself slightly, though - he picked out the binding from my stash for this one, though, which I think is a nice touch.  This is indeed the little quilt that I spray basted last week, and FMQ'd with the loopy design, and I really like how it looks, all finished up.


I really love how this birthday gift came together, and I can't wait to hear from Katie and see what she thinks. Happy (almost) birthday, sweet girl!

I'm linking up with {Sew} Modern Mondays over at Canoe Ridge Creations, make sure to check it out!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

I'm also linking up to Fabric Tuesday this week.  I can't wait to see what Heather and Megan have cooking this week.  Have you heard about their upcoming Block Party?  Make sure to check it out, there are some seriously awesome prizes involved!


Fresh Poppy Design

Some traditional placemats with a splash of modern design

My mother is admittedly not a fan of modern fabrics.  She's been fabric shopping with me a few times, and she always points out the things she doesn't like, rather than the things she does like, so it's always tough to figure out what she actually does like.  If you ask her what she likes, her response is always something to the effect of, "Oh, you know, I've shown you a thousand times."  Sure, Mom.

Well, I pegged her pretty well at Christmas when I made her a second mug rug, using the fabrics from A Breath of Avignon by American Jane.  She loved it.  I still have quite the stockpile of fabric from that line, so when she asked for placemats, I figured that would be a good choice.


I got a really awesome sewing book for Christmas, from my mother actually - Dare to Be Square Quilting by Boo Davis.   There's a ton of fun patterns, one of which is for charm bracelet style placemats.  I decided to switch it up a little bit and practice some of my patchwork skills rather than use a simple solid center fabric for the charms, and I really like how that part turned out.  I'm not a huge fan of my choice of binding, but I used what was in my stash.  I really wish I had just used the red.  My mom's plates are blue, though, and I know she's a big fan of this print, so here's hoping she likes them!


And I'm linking up with Megan's new Monday linky, check it out!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations