Drop Dead Gorgeous - a new paper piecing pattern!

Sometimes the stars align for a quilt block to turn out really awesome. This was one of those times...
DDG Epic Mini for Kristi - detail 1
After The Stash Bash, I joked with Kristi of Schnitzel & Boo that I would love for her to make me a Cargo Duffle. Some fun banter ensued, and we decided to do a fun little swap amongst ourselves. Except with both of us being pretty creative people, we both decided to make up a draw up fresh, original patterns for each other.
DDG Epic Mini for Kristi - detail 2
Sometimes, I take my computer to my son's gymnastics classes. Inevitably, I find myself fooling around in Electric Quilt, coming up with "someday" patterns and such, but two weeks ago I came up with something I couldn't shake. It was one of those things that I couldn't stop thinking about and had to make. Right away. So for the last week, I've been working on a this new block, which I'm calling Drop Dead Gorgeous.

After designing the block, I decided it would make a great mini for Kristi's sewing area, so I asked her about her favorite colors. She described her favorite colors as "girly but edgy," and I knew exactly what fabrics to go for in my stash...
Drop Dead Gorgeous Epic Mini for Kristi
And I got right to pressing and cutting. And measuring. And sewing. And ripping a lot of paper :) I quilted it using some assorted matching Aurifil 50 wt threads in white, gray, fuchsia, and lime green, and I love the texture that shows through on the backing.
DDC Epic Mini for Kristi - fmq detail
Every little bit of the work was worth it because I just adore how her mini turned out, and I think she's pretty happy with it too, now that it's arrived at her house safely.
DDG The Epic Mini backing
The pattern is now available via my Pattern Shop as well as Craftsy. Even if you've never paper pieced before, you can tackle this pattern. Yes, there are a lot of pieces of fabric involved (124 pieces, to be exact), but it's broken up into bite-size, manageable chunks that you can do. And if you're an experienced paper piecer, you can totally rock this pattern. The eleven page pattern is for a 16" block, and includes all of the cutting instructions, piecing instructions, colorful photographs and diagrams to assist you in your piecing, as well as line drawings of the block where you can experiment with your color placement to find the right mix of colors that makes you excited to work on this block.
Drop Dead Gorgeous Block - now available!
Kara and Lisa sewed through this pattern for me to test it out over the long holiday weekend and they both made fabulous blocks!
Lisa's Drop Dead Gorgeous Block
Lisa's bright and beautiful block

Kara's Drop Dead Gorgeous block - turned pillow
Kara's fun Drop Dead Gorgeous pillow

If you make something using this pattern, please do share it with me! You can share it with me on Flickr in my Flickr group or on Instagram by tagging me (@dontcallmebetsy) or using the hashtag #dontcallmebetsy
Drop Dead Gorgeous layout ideas
Happy Wednesday everyone!

A tale of a pillow cover: part one

Once upon a time, there was a super fun swap called Sew Sew Modern. I watched from the sidelines for the first two rounds, and jumped in on the third round, and had a lot of fun. I made something I really loved, received something fantastic that I adore, and promptly signed up for the fourth round when sign-ups opened. Then, I got crazy busy, and lost track of the swap deadline. Fast forward to last week, and I realized I need to get the lead out and get my items made for my partner!

SewSew Modern - getting started

The good news is that my secret partner has very specific taste, so it was easy to think up something that I think she'll enjoy. For once, I feel pretty confident that she's going to like what I'm making, which is a refreshingly wonderful feeling in a swap! The next-best news is that I'm having fun making her items so far, and moving right along and should finish just in the nick of time.

SewSew Modern sip

So far, I'm working on a pillow top with a medallion design, using some Lucky Stars blocks from 2013 (the bonus block and the December block), in miniature form, in a color palette completely and utterly inspired by the movie Frozen. Ha! My sewing time has been limited to the darkness lately, so I've mostly shared the progress of this pillow top on Instagram so far, but I managed to get a few decent pictures in the daylight yesterday in between the mountains of work I've got this week.

SewSew Modern project in progress

This is going to be a hard pillow cover to give away, but I always love that feeling of giving away something that you truly love and are proud of having made, so I suppose that means that this is going to be another successful round of Sew Sew Modern for me. Next up is another border and then some quilting, and then a simple back, so I'm in the home stretch, I think! Stay tuned for a finish on this one real soon, I hope. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

Spoiled Rotten

The third round of the Sew Sew Modern swap has just wrapped up, and I couldn't be happier with the beautiful package I received from Ginny of Fishcreek Studio. Oh my goodness, I feel so spoiled!

I love this fabulous paper pieced mini she put together for me, with a beautiful color palette that I adore and a fantastic paper pieced block as the focal point. I really love the low volume fabrics she used for the background, and the pops of navy are just perfection.

Beautiful miniquilt from Ginny

And she knew I'm a geek for office supplies! She made me this gorgeous notebook cover, using some fun black, white and red fabrics, and I'm loving carrying this notebook cover around with me. I'm constantly writing things down - even in this day and age, I love a good notebook because I tend to remember things I write down better than things I type on my phone, so I still do a lot of written list-making and such.

Gorgeous notebook cover from Ginny

She even sent along a beautiful rainbow pack of Sharpies, which I took with my to my first book signing over the weekend, which was great fun. It still feels so wrong to be writing in books - my mom taught me how to treat books properly! - but I managed to do it anyway. It's an awfully strange feeling when someone wants you to write in their book, but a good kind of strange!

Fab Sharpies for signing books from Ginny

Happy Wednesday to you!

Two finishes for the price of one!

I spent a bit of time the last few days finishing up two little mini-quilts I've had in the works for the last week or so. The first one I'll be giving away at my schoolhouse in Houston next month. I really love how this quilt turned out, and in honor of its larger sibling quilt in my book, Polaris, I'm calling it Polaris Junior.

Polaris Jr - Full frontal

I'm really digging the way the low-volume background prints, all pulled from my stash, work together to create additional dimension and movement throughout the background of the quilt. I need to make one more of these for an upcoming class sample in the near future, and I might just make an exact duplicate for once because I so love how this one turned out!

Polaris Jr - Binding close up

The quilting is very simple, in a white 50 wt Aurifil thread, in an orange peel all-over design. I love doing that kind of quilting with grid-based quilts like this. I think for the next one, I might try my hand at some simple wavy stitches, see how that goes.

Polaris Jr - Side view

The second quilt I finished up is for my partner in the Sew Sew Modern swap. It's a mini using three of my Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks, and one that didn't make the cut (that might just be a part of next year's block of the month club!). My partner's favorite colors weren't colors that I usually like to use in my sewing, so it was a challenge for me to really try to put something together that she'll love, but I'm hoping I've done it.

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - full shot

Quilting this mini was a challenge - I was terribly indecisive about how to stitch, so I went with an all-over basic stipple. It may be boring, but it's my go-to stitch when I get stumped. I like how this quilt finished up, especially the binding, which is another Briar Rose print I picked up and wound up not really using much of in the mini. I also sewed up a little pleated zippered clutch for her and got the package in the mail yesterday.

In the mail to you, partner! A little mini and a pouch

Quilt Stats
name: Polaris Junior
pattern: Polaris, from my new book, Becoming a Confident Quilter (in stock at my Pattern Shop!!)
size: 24" square
fabrics: Scrap bag bonanza! Boatloads of scraps from my scrap bin
binding: The Road in Mist from Road 15 by Sweetwater for Moda
quilting: Orange peel continuous line stitching in white 50 wt Aurifil

Sew Sew Modern Swap Mini - binding detail

Quilt Stats part two
name: SewSew Modern Swap Mini
pattern: Lucky Stars Block of the Month Club blocks
size: 24" square
fabrics: several prints from Briar Rose by Heather Ross for Windham Fabrics, Lime green leafy stripe from Simply Color by V and Co for Moda Fabrics, yellow Hex Box from Prince Charming by Tula Pink for Free Spirit Fabrics, dark pink floral from Darla by Tanya Whelan, background faux tweed fabric from Mod Century by Jenn Ski for Moda Fabrics
quilting: All-over meandering stipple in white 50 wt Aurifil thread

Reunited...and it feels so good!

Oh, how I've missed sewing these last few weeks! I've been doing some part-time work at home that I'm enjoying immensely, but I sure have missed the hum of my Juki. This week, things have calmed down a bit with work, and I feel like I'm starting to get into a solid groove at last, with the munchkin off at kindergarten for most of the day. Just the other day, I found myself with a bunch of unscheduled moments where I could just sew. It was absolutely wonderful :)

Paper piecing makes me happy :)

I've been waffling about what to sew up for my partner in the Sew Sew Modern swap for the last few weeks. I think our tastes are quite different, and that's part of why I've been so unsure what to sew for her that she'd appreciate, but I finally got a great idea last week - to make her a Lucky Stars mini quilt, in the colors and fabrics that she would love. They might not be the fabrics I would pick to make one for myself, but to each his own, right? I'm really liking how this is coming together, and I hope she's going to love it too!

SewSew Modern mini quilt top - just need to quilt it!

In other news, I'm being featured over at Gable House & Co today, for a fun interview - pop on over to check it out! Happy Friday, I hope you have a great weekend!

Doll Quilt Swap - Round 13

The thirteenth round of the Doll Quilt Swap on Flickr is wrapping up, with most of the quilts received by most swappers at this point. I was so excited to finally be a part of this swap, as many of my Flickr favorites stem from projects made in this particular group of talented people. Little did I know that I was going to get a super awesome package from a dear bloggy friend of mine, Emily, of Mommy's Naptime. We were in a bee together for the last two years, and have gotten to know each other through the blogosphere, and I find her work awfully inspiring. She's always pushing herself to try new things, which I admire greatly.

In the swap, I made a mini for Marilyn (blogged here) and she sent me a lovely thank you note for her quilt, so I thought I would write a big thank you note to Emily here to thank her for this super unique and thoughtful miniquilt.


Emily is quite possibly the perfect partner for a swap like this - she took every word I said in my swap questionnaire to heart, she studied my Flickr favorites, and clearly thought long and hard about how to make something that I would like that she would enjoy making as well.

She incorporated so many different elements in this quilt, from my love of pink (and especially Sketch in Lipstick!) to a paper-pieced Florida, which might just be my favorite part.


There's prairie points and faux piped binding...


There's loads of low-volume prints...


And there's one of my all-time favorite prints - MoMo's scissors! - in classic black...


There is so much I love about this mini that it's almost hard for me to find the right words to describe how much I appreciate it. Thank you, Emily, for running such an amazing swap and for being such an amazing partner. I consider myself pretty darned lucky! Have a wonderful Monday everyone!

Planning and plotting

I'm taking part in the current round of the Doll Quilt Swap, and now that the holidays are over and the shipping deadline is fast approaching, I'm working on trying to narrow down my quilty pattern ideas into something real for my partner. I think my partner and I have a lot in common when it comes to quilty taste, but I just can't seem to decide which one of these quilts to follow through with! I'm planning for something uber-scrappy, with lots of fun prints from my stash, but I just can't seem to commit. Does one of these designs grab you and shake you?

Doll Quilt Swap - Does one of these strike your fancy, partner?

WiP Wednesday: The one with the mad dash

It's officially chaos in my sewing room now, as it's barely a week before Sewing Summit now, with boatloads of Sewing Summit-related deadlines approaching fast, as well as a few other non-Sewing Summit deadlines! Eeek! How did it get to be October 3rd already??? Didn't school just get started?? It's going to be a week with a lot of late nights and early mornings, clearing off my sewing plate this next week, but I know I can do it. Now I just need to stop signing up for more deadlines!!

Working on:
Red and white zig-zag - I spent the bulk of the last several days on this project, making 528 half-square triangles and then stitching all of them together. The quilt top is done and basted and ready for some simple straight-line quilting. Stay tuned for a finish on this one soon!



Sidekick tote - I really love how this bag is coming together so far. I'm waiting on some strap hardware to come, so I've saved this fun project for when I'm so tired of HSTs that I want to scream ;) Isn't that pocket just darling? Can't wait to finish this one off and put it to good use!

Sidekick in progress!

Sewing Summit class samples - I finished quilting all of the samples, and I'm really excited to share them soon. The binding is half on all of my four samples now, so I'm in the homestretch here. Just need to spend a few nights on the couch, catching up on TV with the husband and hand-stitching to wrap these projects up.

Time to pick some binding...


New this week:
Pillow Talk Swap - After sitting out several rounds, I'm back on the wagon for the ninth round of the Pillow Talk Swap. Every time I sit out a round, I watch from the sidelines and marvel over the things that are being made in the swap. I'm glad I'm participating this time around, it's going to be a lot of fun! I've gotten my partner's information and stalking has officially begun. I've got a good sense of what she's into, I think, now I just need for inspiration to strike. Here's the mosaic I made to inspire my partner, of some of my current faves...


4x5 Modern Quilt Bee - Now that the summer is over, the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee is back in session (and full), with shorter rounds, which I think will be nice. Short and sweet, but with plenty of time to make blocks. I'm excited about this one, it's always fun to see the amazing things that everyone makes in this bee.

Bee block for Katie - Katie sent some gorgeous Field Study and Indie fabrics this month for the {Sew} Beautiful bee, for feather blocks. I'm looking forward to working on this one this weekend, hopefully.

Bee block for Cindy - Cindy is working on a Halloween quilt in the Stash Trad bee, and we're all making Great Granny blocks for her, in shades of black, purple, orange, grey and lime green. I've never made anything Halloween-themed before, so this should be a fun one!

I haven't forgotten about these, but haven't had time for them either:
Washi tunic
Space Dust quilt

So now, it's back to my sewing machine, time is slipping away from me super fast this week!! What are you sewing this week? Write it up and share it at today's specially guest hosted WiP Wednesday, with host Debbie of A Quilter's Table.

Mail call!

My mailbox has been a super happy place lately, with several wonderful goodies putting a big smile on my face.

The first wonderful thing that came to me was a super fabulous pillow from John of Quilt Dad. Amy put together a fun small NY Beauty swap a while back and I'm so glad she asked me to participate. I got to send my NY Beauty mini to Lee, and John sent me this gorgeous pillow! I feel so lucky! This pillow is just perfect for my sewing room, and nice and colorful, just the way I like it. Even the stitching is multicolored! This pillow totally made my day :)



I also have gotten hooked on English Paper Piecing...at least the idea of it :) After finally tackling hexagons for my Zakka project last week, EPP doesn't seem anywhere near as daunting as I used to think it would be, and I ordered some new pieces to try out last week, after drooling over a wip that Terri has been working on for the Pillow Talk Swap. I love the idea of digging into my scrap bins and making something out of them for once, so I'm hoping that I will show some follow-through here and give these little guys a try soon!


I finally caved and ordered a Michael Miller Cotton Couture card from Caitlin at I Don't Do Dishes, and boy I'm glad I did. I really love the crazy soft hand of the MM solids, and now the next time I order them, I will know exactly what color I'm getting. And the card is super cute to boot!


And finally, did you see that the voting has opened up for Jennifer's Summer Sewing Contest? There are so many gorgeous projects featured there, and one of them just happens to be mine - my NY Beauty mini is the last entry in the Home Decor category, in case you want to vote for me - or your other favorite summer projects! Have a great day!

NY Beauty mini

For the Love of Solids Round 2...so truly inspiring

The international shipping has begun in the second round of the For the Love of Solids swap, and I am just bowled over by some of the seriously awesome pieces that folks are finishing up and sending out.  See what I mean???

1. New York Beauty Mini - For the Love of Solids Swap, 2. Whirling Star Variation, 3. wonky star thread catcher, 4. Quilting Done, 5. FTLOS, 6. FTLOS Swap mini, 7. FTLOSSWAP, 8. FTLOS - in progress, 9. Messenger bag finished , 10. Placemats FTLOS, 11. FTLOS - Mini Quilt, 12. A Sneaky Peek, 13. FTLOS beginnings , 14. pillows for my partner, 15. Last chance partner, 16. FTLOS 2 thinking...

I love how enthusiastic this group is.  You should seriously come visit the Flickr group to check out all the solid eye candy!

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 :)

Pillow Talk {Swap} Round 6 - Sent!!

I adore the Pillow Talk {Swap}, it's actually the first swap that I ever joined on Flickr three rounds ago.  It's always so much fun to see the wonderful things that people come up with in this group.  It is a phenomenal group!!  I was really excited when I got my partner this round.  I've favorited a lot of her work in my time on Flickr, so I was both excited and nervous at the same time.  Could I make something she would like?  Could I figure out her taste and get it right?  I'm hoping I've done all of that, because I just finished up her pillow and I'm off to the post office with it today.

Partner, what do you think of this?

While at the Sewing Summit, I felt really inspired after Jess showed us how to do improv curves.  Curves and I are pretty tight, after all the curves in the Single Girl, but I'd never actually tried an improv curve.  Once I nailed one of them, I kind of couldn't stop.  I just kept cutting from my stack of fabrics that I pulled and adding them together organically.  I started with a few fussy cut pieces, inspired by Amanda's love for all things fussy cut, and just went to town on this one.

PTS 6 - Finished pillow front!

I even got courageous enough to add a zipper to this pillow, rather than my usual envelope closure.  I love that zippers don't scare me anymore.  After all the fun zippy pouches I made for the Sewing Summit, I think I can officially call my zipper fear conquered.  I love the clean look a zipper adds to a pillow, maybe I'll even try an invisible zipper on the next one.

PTS 6 - back

So, partner, I hope this pillow floats your boat, I'm really kind of proud of it in a geeky way, and I hope that you'll enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.  I'm linking up over at {Sew} Modern Monday today - hop on over there to check out other modern finishes!


Getting on the plane to Salt Lake City on Friday, I felt an awful lot like Santa Claus.  My Weekender bag was filled to brim not only with some hand-sewing projects to keep me busy on the plane, but also with some various handmade goodies for some special swaps I set up before I left.  I wound up making zippered pouches for all of my swappees, and after all of those zips, I'm feeling pretty good about how to install zippers, finally!  Afraid of zippers, no more :)

The first person I had a pouch for was Megan, my co-mama in the For the Love of Solids swap.  I chose to use colors to match her lovely Weekender bag, grays and yellows, and I opted to make her a large pouch to carry her hand-sewing tools.  On one side, I went with a simple frame block, and embroidered it to jazz it up.  On the other side, I had intended to make a kaleidoscope block, but I used the wrong template - perhaps that will teach me to label my darned templates.  I decided to try to make what I did work, and I really like the end result.  It's got an improv feel to it, and I think Megan's a fan, too.



Lee was next up in pouch-a-palooza.  It's no secret that Lee and I are great bloggy pals, but after finally meeting in person at the Sewing Summit, I'm happy to call her a good friend, too.  I adore Lee's work, especially the way she uses color, and knowing she's a fan of Treasures and Tidbits, I chose to use some of the super fun, bright fabrics from that collection for her pouch.  For one side, I did an x and + block, much like the one I did for my embroidery pouch a while back, but on the other side, I went with a pieced hexagon.  For some reason, when I think of Lee in quilting shapes, I think of a hexagon.  Why?  I have no idea, really, but I knew she would appreciate a pieced hexagon like this one.



The next pouch I tackled was for AnneMarie.  AnneMarie was one of my roommates at the Sewing Summit, and she was one of my earliest blog followers and supporters.  I'm so glad to call her my friend.  Since AnneMarie is in love with Bonnie & Camille's Ruby, and I happened to have a charm pack lying about, I decided to use that for her.  I also decided to do two very different sides for her pouch - one with a super traditional shoo fly block in miniature, and the other with a more improv, modern feel.  I added a little bit of hand quilting for good measure, too.



Last, but not least, of course, I made a pouch for my co-mama in the 4x5 Modern Quilt Bee, Amy.  Like a zillion other people, Amy loved the rail fence quilt Rita made a while back, and I used that for my inspiration, making some mini blocks to create the stair-step effect, and using some of my prized It's a Hoot scraps.   I had a hard time handing this one over, it's so darned cute.


And now, I think I can officially say that I am probably done with zippers for a while...unless I decide to make some zippered pouches for the holidays, that is...

I'm still working on decompressing from the Sewing Summit, and I totally plan to share about all that fun really soon, after I unpack and jog my memory!  So many wonderful people and so much fun, definitely an awesome weekend :)

Pretty {little} Pouch swap - round 3

Somehow, with the munchkin back at school yesterday, I managed to not only find the inspiration for my pouch for the third round of Pretty {little} Pouch swap, but I also managed to finish it!  I'm really happy with how it turned out and super excited to get it to my partner, who I'm pretty sure is going to adore it.

I was on a bit of pouch roll yesterday morning, wrapping up the pouches I'm making for The Sewing Summit, and I decided on a long rectangle pouch with a half dresden on each side of the pouch.  I pulled some aqua, yellow, green, and pink scraps from my stash for the petals and a green polka for the dresden center, but I was unsure what kind of background fabric I wanted.

Do you like where this is going, partner?

I initially wanted to use natural linen, but I couldn't find mine (more on that later), so I used a gray quilter's linen, which created a nice contrast that I wasn't expecting.  I think I even like it better than had I used the natural linen!  I decided I wanted to box the corners for the pouch, to make it able to stand on its own, which worked out really nicely.

PLP - Done!!

I really love how this pouch turned out, and I have to say, I'm a bit jealous!  I kind of love it too much!!  But I will give it to my partner, no worries.  I just might find myself making another pouch for me at some point :)

Three overflowing scrap bins

So that's one thing checked off the To Sew list before The Sewing Summit next week...next up is quilting the munchkin's guy quilt, which is all basted and ready to quilt!  The other thing I really need to tackle is the mess that is my sewing room - remember how I couldn't find my natural linen?  I found it this morning, when I was looking for my stack of fat quarters for the swap at The Sewing Summit - which I still haven't found, by the way. I don't like being messy in my sewing room, but the messes seem to be a byproduct of getting stuff done these days. My scrap bins are positively overflowing, so I see some kind of scrap project coming soon, otherwise I'm going to have to make a sign for my sewing room - Scraplandia, population 7 billion scraps!!!  Maybe I'll try to sort through the bins tonight while watching some "Grey's Anatomy."  What are you working on today?

Holy mess, Batman!

I'm definitely traveling handmade

I really, really love pouches.  I get so many compliments on this gorgeous one that I use every day - Michelle made it for me in the first round of the Pretty Little Pouch swap earlier this summer.

Thank you, Michelle, you rock!!!

I've been kicking myself over not joining the second round of the Pretty Little Pouch swap, which is in the midst of wrapping up, so I decided to make myself a pouch for my hand-sewing tools.  I totally intend to use this pouch to tote my embroidery things around the house and to the Sewing Summit in less than two months (eek!).  Have you seen the awesome Travel Handmade series that they're hosting?  Jeni reviewed a great Simplicity duffel bag pattern and Megan reviewed a great tote bag pattern.  Megan and I are toying with the idea of an AB Weekender Bag sew-along for the two of us, because we both really want to make one for our big trip, and figure we can use all of the moral support we can get!

So, after drooling over all of the gorgeous pouches in this round of the Pretty Little Pouch swap, I decided to make one for myself, to tote all of my hand-sewing and embroidery do-dads around.  I picked out a fabulous stack of aquas (Riley Blake Wishing Flowers, Joel Dewberry Herringbone, It's a Hoot Aqua Check and Michael Miller Aqua Ta Dot, respectively), grays (both Ty Pennington), and a fun orange Katie Jump Rope print and got to work.

My huge embroidery pouch!

I made my current favorite quilt block for the front side, and then for the back side, I stitched up a simple 9-patch and bordered it with some Kona Coal and Kona Medium Grey.  I am loving this not-so-little pouch!  It finished up at 12" square, so it will be plenty big for my embroidery hoop and various other hand-sewing goodies.


I also stitched up a pouch for my For the Love of Solids swap partner, using the same color scheme that I used for the miniquilt I'm also finishing, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I've stuffed it chock full of solids scraps, and I'm hoping this lovely package I'm putting together is going to really make my partner's day, when shipping opens up next month.

A little pouch for my partner

For the weekend, I'm working on laying out the rest of my warm/cool quilt, which I've been working on in fits and starts all summer.  I'm hoping that perhaps over the next week, I might actually finish this quilt top up once and for all.  Fingers crossed!  What are you working on this weekend?


A little weekend sewing and happy mail

Can I first say how excited I am about how many of you are interested in my little quilt along?  I can't believe how many of you there are!!  This is going to be so much fun!

I wound up spending a few unexpected days in Orlando last week with my family, which was a lot of fun, but it's good to be back home.  I was really happy to see my sewing machine yesterday.  I wanted to work on something fun, so I cut into my Pillow Talk Swap stack of fabric and started sewing.  I didn't really do any sketching, just started cutting.  I'm still very much playing around with this, but I wanted to share what I've got so far.

PST possibility #1

I'm really enjoying playing with scale on this project.  I haven't done a ton of half-square triangles (HSTs) in my quilting life, but I can see why quilters enjoy them.  They're so versatile and you can do so many different things with them.  I've found a way to make four of them at once, and they're so much more precise than other methods I've tried.  I'm quite certain it's not a new method, but I'll tell you more about it when I finish up this little pillow top!

PTS Possibility #2

I'm possibly foreseeing a little bit of hand-quilting happening on this one, we'll see.  I am not normally drawn to this color palette, but I'm really liking how this is coming together!  And playing with the HSTs has been a lot of fun.  I am looking forward to wrapping this one up and getting it off in the mail to my partner.

Speaking of mail, guess what was in my mailbox when I got home from my little mini-vacay?  An awesome bag from my Goodie Bag partner, Lindsay.  Did she hit the nail on the head or what???  It's just perfect for me, thank you so much, Lindsay!

My Goodie Bag!

Goodie Bag Swap - done! (I think)

Looking for my awesome giveaway for Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day?  Click here!  If you've already entered, good luck to you!

Amidst all the Giveaway Day hoopla yesterday, I found myself with a couple of fun finishes.  The first one was an awesome surprise for my son and I when we returned from our weekly trip to the library - the marigolds we planted two months ago are finally blooming!  He was so excited, and given that I usually have a black thumb, I was pretty pleased myself.  Anyone know when I ought to move them out of the planter and into the regular ground? I'm completely inept when it comes to gardening.

I also finished up my Goodie Bag for the big swap yesterday, which wound up being a big summer tote bag, adorned with some fun scrappy log cabins on both the front and the back.

I started this tote with only one thing in mind - linen.  I knew I wanted to work with linen for my partner.    The main body is made from Essex linen, which is oh-so-yummy to work with.  After debating between Natural and Gray, I wound up picking Natural.  Linen is just perfect for totes, if you ask me.  I lined it with Peltex interfacing for some nice stiffness, which is a pain to sew with, but it makes such a nice, full-bodied kind of bag.  

The scrappy log cabins are a complete mish-mash of fabrics - from Flea Market Fancy to Love to Sugar Pop and Nicey Jane.  I really rooted around my scrap bins for some of these, and I'm really happy with how they turned out.  Thanks to everyone who gave me feedback on Sunday about these, I was really unsure about how they would look on a bag.  The only thing I would do differently if I did this tote again would be to make the log cabins a bit bigger.

The lining and straps are my personal favorite print from Alexander Henry's Farmdale, which I still plan to use eventually to make a nice bag for me.  That's one of the million and twelve things on my someday to sew list...

I'm hoping my partner will really like this bag, because I had a ton of fun making it for her, although I did have a super hard time deciding what to make for her, since her taste is so broad.   The mailing period doesn't start for another week, so it's entirely possible that I may wind up completely changing my mind and making something else for her, but for now, we'll check this off the WiP list!

I might be onto something cool...

Or it's quite possible that I've lost my mind and am on the complete wrong path.  It could totally go either way...

I sat down at my sewing table today and felt super determined to get a move on with the Goodie Bag Swap, which I've done very little over the last two weeks, other than sketch out the shape and size of the bag I want to make.  Today, I decided on a lining, and even cut it out.  Then, I cut out some interfacing.  I almost started cutting the main linen for the bag, and then I decided I wanted to piece some kind of patchwork into the linen.  I brainstormed for a few, then decided to make scrappy log cabins.  Why?  I don't know, they just sounded good.

Partner, do you like scrappy log cabins?

There's one for the front of the bag and one for the back.  What do you think?  Are they hideous?  You can tell me, really, I can take it.  It's quite possible that I'm just being hard on myself today, but I need to hear from you.

Oh - and I'm all kinds of ready for the big Giveaway Day tomorrow.  I'll give you a clue...the fabric I'm giving away is by one of the most popular fabric designers.  Check back after midnight to find out and enter!

A mini for Megan

Can I just tell you how psyched I was when Megan told me she was interested in a little mini-quilt swap between the two of us?  I was flooded with ideas almost from the get-go, after knowing Megan for a while and then perusing her Flickr favorites, many of which are part of my personal collection of favorites.  I knew I wanted to do something with a saturated rainbow, so I started sketching.  I got really excited about the things I sketched, so much so that I couldn't decide what to make.  So I made Megan choose - I emailed her and asked her to pick a letter (without seeing the sketches), A, B, or C, and she made a choice for me!  Here's the sketches....

Sketches for Megan

And here's what she wound up with...

Megan's Mini - Rainbow Crossing

I attempted hand quilting for the first time with some gorgeous perle cotton thread, which was interesting, to say the least.  The rocking motion completely escapes me, so I approached quilting this a little bit more like embroidery.  I really like how it looks, even though it's not probably the traditional kind of hand quilting, and I love the contrast it gives to the Kona Coal sashing.

Megan's Mini - Hand quilting detail - front

I added a simple Kona Coal binding, to allow the rainbow patchwork to really shine, and I really like the effect it gave the quilt.  I do like adding a contrasting binding to quilts, but for this one, I didn't want the binding stealing any thunder.

Megan's Mini - Hand quilting detail - back

My first attempt at hand-quilting...

Quilt Stats: 
Name: Rainbow Crossing
Size: 22" square
Fabrics: A rainbow of fabrics, including Patty Young's Sanctuary, Lizzy House's Castle Peeps, Amy Butler's Soul Blossoms, Anna Maria Horner's Innocent Crush, Amy Butler's Lotus, Laurie Wisbrun's Tufted Tweets, and many, many others, as well as Kona Coal
Quilting: Hand quilted with size 8 perle cotton thread
Pattern: I didn't follow one - but Corey wrote a similar pattern last year

I'll be linking up this mini finish with {Sew} Modern Monday.  Hop on over to get inspired by other recent modern finishes!

{Sew} Modern Monday at Canoe Ridge Creations

Pretty {little} Pouch - sent!

I wrapped up my pouch for my PIP swap partner yesterday, and I have to say, my fear of zippers is definitely out the window at this point.  Me - 5.  Zippers - 0.  :)

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #1

I was planning to do a linen and patchwork combo for my partner, and at first, I had intended to use up some Echino scraps.  I may wind up doing that ultimately.  Then, after cruising my partner's favorites on Flickr for a bit, it seemed that she was more into bright, colorful patchwork, so I went that route instead.

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #4

Bright, colorful patchwork made of teeny, tiny, 1" squares, to be exact.  My math on how many squares I needed actually was kind of fouled up, so the bottom of the pouch doesn't have any patchwork on it, but I figure no one will ever see the bottom of the pouch, so I'm still happy with it.

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #2

I used this same box pouch pattern last week, with super simple quilting cottons.  The pattern was just as easy to follow with the linen and patchwork, and I really like how it looks with this.  I might just have to make another one for me, I like it so much!  Here's hoping my partner will like it just as much!

Pretty {little} Pouch - finished! #3