Starting off the new year in style

Happy New Year everyone!  Now it's time to start practicing writing 2012, because if you're anything like me, it'll be June before that starts to come naturally.  :)

Let's start the new year off in style, shall we?  How about a new quilt tutorial?  Hop on over to the Moda Bake Shop this morning to check out my latest contribution, the Modern Halves quilt, a super bright and fun pattern that would also be a fabulous scrapbuster.

I had so much fun working with these gorgeous fabrics!  Half Moon Modern is such a gorgeous collection, especially in person.  You can find yardage and bundles of Half Moon Modern at some of my favorite online quilt shops, including Pink Castle Fabrics and Fresh Squeezed Fabrics.

I'd love to hear what you think of my new quilt, hop on over to the Bake Shop to leave me a comment!  Happy New Year!

Playing catch-up

It actually feels like Christmas outside this morning at my house - or at the very least, it feels like winter.  It's in the upper 40's (which for south Florida is mighty cold!) and gusty, almost blustery.  Cheesy as it is, this cold weather makes me smile, makes me feel a little more festive.  I'm really excited for the holidays this year.  I think this is going to be a really special Christmas this year.  The munchkin is three-going-on-four and Christmas is super magical to him this year, so I've spent a good chunk of time this last week or so having holiday fun with him and the husband.

We saw Santa over the weekend, enjoyed a holiday parade and tree lighting, and even went to see a Symphony in Lights (a humongous Christmas tree that lit up in time with holiday music).  The munchkin saw a local dance crew perform a few excerpts from The Nutcracker as well, which he enjoyed immensely.  It's so fun to see how excited he gets about all of these holiday festivities.

Now that Christmas is only another 16 days away (OMG!!!!!!!!), I'm starting to feel the usual holiday rush.  The holy-cow-how-am-I-going-to-get-all-these-presents wrapped rush.  The how-many-Christmas-cookies-am-I-making rush.  I'm trying to keep my cool, because that's not the only deadline fast approaching - I've still got a mountain of sewing to do before Betsy 2.0 goes in for her yearly cleaning (in just ten days, eek!).  I'm making progress, though, and I think I will be able able to wrap things up in time.  Knock on wood.  :)

I got my Secret Santa Swap package to the post office last week, and I'm just crossing my fingers that my partner will get it by Christmas!  I sent off some fabulous holiday candy along with a copy of Block Party and a little Half Moon Modern mini that I made.

SS Swap goodies heading in the mail tomorrow!

I did finish making a successful pair of PJ pants for the munchkin, though I wrapped them before I thought to take a finished picture - this is a photo of the "secret" fitting I had with him.  Clearly, I made them large enough for a grown-up, by accident, but that was a lot easier to fix and adapt to the right size than when I made them too small.  Phew.  Glad that bit of sewing is done - my brain just doesn't work for garment sewing, it doesn't make sense to me!!

And this is what happens when I try to make PJs

I'm shipping off a little gift to a special sewing friend today and I'm hoping it will brighten her day and make her laugh.  I felt super inspired last week to make something for her and just couldn't stop myself.  After she gets it, I'll show you the rest...

A sneak peek

I officially finished the very last bit of my holiday sewing last night, finishing up a pair of potholders for all of my immediate family, and I think they turned out pretty well.  I used Keykalou's (love her!) Just a Pinch potholder pattern, which is super easy to follow.  Highly recommend it :)  Naturally, I only managed to take a picture of the pair I made for the munchkin's preschool and not the other 5 pairs of potholders, but I can assure you, they're all quite cute.

Potholders for preschool

I also finished up the quilt top for my Charmed Prints Quilt Along-inspired quilt, though I did make a big oops when I was assembling the top.  I forgot to add the sashing between the rows, so rather than unpicking the rows, which made my stomach turn, I adjusted the sashing border around the blocks so the quilt would go back to being square.

Charmed Prints QAL-inspired quilt top

My Bake Shop quilt is coming along relatively smoothly, although it feels super slow - I'm finishing up the blocks today and hope to finish it up this weekend if I can.  Now that my holiday sewing is done, I'm hoping I can turn up the heat on this quilt and get it done before I have to send my machine in!

Bake Shop progress
And because I need another project much like I need another beagle mix dog who eats blinds and coloring books (remind me to tell that story another day!), I do indeed have another project, but it's the secret kind.  It does involve these yummy fabrics, though!

A new stack for a new lovely project

So, how are you doing?  I feel like I've been so out of the loop this last week, so if I haven't visited your blog, please forgive me, I'm trying to catch up now!  Are you feeling the holiday rush or taking things easy?  Have a wonderful day :)

Introducing: Bella Crossing quilt at Moda Bake Shop!

I am so excited to share a new quilt pattern with you, my Bella Crossing quilt, posted over at Moda Bake Shop today.  After working through the For the Love of Solids swap with Megan, I hadn't quite gotten enough of solids yet, so I used one of my swap ideas for this quilt.  I'm so happy with how it turned out and working with Bella solids was a lot of fun.

I really enjoyed working on this quilt and pattern, and I would love to hear what you think of it!!  Hop on over to the Bake Shop and leave me a comment for me there!

MBS - Bella Crossing quilt front

Please do let me know if you make one, I'd love to see it!! You can always add your creations from and inspired by my tutorials at my Flickr group, Stitching with Don't Call Me Betsy!

Baltimore Windows table runner

My father-in-law's best friend, Ric, has been a big part of my husband's life, and he has the honorary title of uncle within the family.  He's a perennial bachelor, and has recently moved to Florida, after spending his entire life in the Baltimore/DC area.  When I first saw the Clermont Farms fabric collection from Moda, my first through was of Baltimore and Ric.  I still can't quite articulate how it makes me think of Baltimore, but it just does.

This pattern, City Windows, comes from Moda Bake Shop, and uses just a charm pack and 1/2 yard of another fabric for sashing and binding - talk about a breeze to put together!  I will definitely make this pattern again.  If you look at the pattern, though, you'll see that mine is slightly different, and that was entirely by accident.  I was apparently on a serious caffeine high when I added the sashing to the top, as I put it in the wrong place.  I think it works, the way it is, but I would definitely like to try this pattern again and do it the right way.  I've got several charm packs in my stash, so I'm sure I'll try it again.

I outline quilted this runner, and I really love the effect it gave on the back, which is just the remaining charm squares sewn together.  I'm really digging outline quilting, I just wish it came to me as easily as the meandering stipple.  It takes a lot more concentration and tends to lead to a boatload more frustration, at least on bigger things like quilts.  

Fabric Tuesday: 301 Park Avenue

First off...have you noticed the new look of my blog?  I happened to win a giveaway last week at Lee's beautiful blog, Freshly Pieced, and the big prize was a custom designed blog header.  Talk about lucky!  Isn't it gorgeous?  Thank you so much, Lee, you rock!

I have another completed quilt to show for Fabric Tuesday this week.  Yippee!  And best of all, it's another Christmas gift I can mark completed on my list.  Still a few left to finish, but I'm making good progress.

This quilt is for my in-laws, and I hope this will appeal to their taste.  I've named this quilt 301 Park Avenue, after the iconic Waldorf-Astoria at that address, because that's exactly what this fabric reminds me of.   It's very old-school-New-York to me.

While this was a relatively easy quilt to put together, I still learned a few things...
* 80/20 batting from Jo-Ann's moves super smoothly through my machine, and is a nice, lightweight batting for my Florida quilt recipients.  And it's cheap.  So far, no negatives that I can come up with!
* Sometimes my husband has good quilt taste.  He picked out the binding for this fabric - Kona Cocoa - and I think it looks really nice.  Thanks, honey!
* There's really no such thing as too much painters tape when it comes to taping down the back of your quilt whilst making a quilt sandwich.  Really.
* It's okay to rip stitches out.  It helps to repeat to yourself that a lot when ripping out stubborn stitches that you don't really want to rip out but need to be ripped out all the same.

Don't forget to visit Megan and Heather over at QuiltStory to check out the other entries for Fabric Tuesday this week!  Have a recent fabric finish?  Make sure to join in the sharing fun.

Speaking of sharing, have you checked out the Bloggers Quilt Festival over at Amy's Creative Side yet?  It is so much fun, seeing all of the different quilts displayed there.   Talk about boatloads of inspiration!  I have made so many bookmarks over the last few days.  Definitely make sure to visit if you haven't yet.  I try to make a daily sojourn over there.  Beware, though, you might lose hours of your day over there  :)

WIP: Park Avenue Quilt

I'm making a lot of Christmas gifts this year.  In the past few years, I've had a hard time shopping for a lot of the people on my list at Christmas-time, so I'm going to try to go the handmade route this year.

My in-laws are going to be the proud (I hope) recipients of a quilt this Christmas.  They are quite possibly some of the hardest people to shop for, and I've spotted my mother-in-law admiring the quilt I made for my living room when she's been over at my house recently, so I thought a quilt would be a fantastic gift for them this year.  Choosing the fabrics was a huge challenge.  Their taste is very different from mine, and I worried that if I picked fabrics that were 100% their taste that I would drag my heels on making this quilt, not feeling the love for the fabric and such.  So, I kind of compromised.

I found a collection of fabric that seemed to be their style, would match their house, but bring in a new color to the mix - blue.  I'm truly hoping they won't have some kind of hatred for blue.  Cross your fingers for me.  I know a lot of modern quilters aren't fans of pre-cut fabrics, like layer cakes and such, but I think they work out great as gifts.  Many of the other quilts I've made I've hand selected each fabric, but with this one, I knew it would be easier if I could find a whole collection that would work for my in-laws, rather than hand-selecting each fabric.

I found this pattern on Moda Bake Shop, after getting a stellar deal on a layer cake for this quilt.  The pattern was super easy to follow, and I'm nearly done with the quilt top, I just need to sew the rows together.

I've laid the whole quilt out, so I've got an idea of what it look like all put together, and I'm debating whether or not I will add the borders that the pattern calls for.  I'm not a huge fan of borders in a quilt.  I guess I'll decide when I get the whole thing sewn together and go from there.  I tend to be kind of awful at cutting long strips of sashing.  The mixtape quilt I made for my niece was a perfect example, both the doll quilt version and the twin sized version.  Either I truly suck at folding the fabric correctly to yield a good result, or I am in need of some remedial rotary cutter schooling.

In any case, stay tuned to see how this one turns out...and in a few months, how it's received by the in-laws!  Hopefully, they will adore it!