Monday, January 31, 2011

DQS10 - Making Progress!

Remember that terrible picture I posted last week of the boat and the sidewalk... it was so not me. So I scrapped it and started my DQS10 planning all over. Here's what I've got: 
Yes, that's a quilted Chicago flag!

This star is just under 2"

My partner better like tiny, because these are 1" squares!

Are you dreaming of my quilt yet?

Well partner, if you're reading this I hope you've enjoyed the little peak. I took a lot of time stitching those words on there...... it's so rewarding. I have just a bit more embroidering to go then I'll be piecing together the back/label/special thing and quilting.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Today's the day...

Things I want to do right now. (I'm feeling unmotivated and sometimes putting out here makes me get off my butt and do something I want to do!)

  • make tiny tiny stars. Why? Who knows. Will they be a part of a mug rug? will they be a part of my DQS quilt or Urban Home Goods project? Who knows. I just want to make them. Out of Good folks fabric.
    Tiny Star
    Edit: finished... with one. It measures just under 2 1/4" square and is the cutest thing I've ever made!

  • Scrap my DQS start (minus the special thing - which is AWESOME and I wish I could show it to you guys). I think that curved piecing is fun but the "art quilt" style isn't really me. I think I need a more traditional layout and some embroidered bits to tell the story. I'm not sure what to do with that start, but at least I'll show you:
    DQS10 - not sure...
  • Make some pleated blocks. Or tiny patchwork. 
  • Decide what to make for the Urban Home Goods Swap.
    That's it for now. I'm hoping today doesn't end as crappy as I think it will. 

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Pillows Pillows Everywhere!

    Has anyone else noticed that Pillows seem to be the hottest quilted item around? I have. Maybe it's just the fact that I have a couple from the Pillow Talk Swap? Or that I use mine all the time? I think it's a great trend because it's essentially a way to make a doll sized quilt but use it for something other than decoration (or warming dollies). Although I hate that making pillows require the use of pillow forms, which are expensive. 
    I just read that SewMamaSew is designating this February as pillow month. I love that especially since I have one that's in the process of being made. And it's pretty fantastic if I say so myself. Again, a great big thanks to Cherie for having us all make Dresden plates for January's bee block. I made a great practice, then added another layer of petals, and a ton of detail work. It'll eventually be a pillow for my daughter's big girl bed (which she isn't in yet...). Here's a little peek at it.
     PS: Linked up at Quiltstory for Fabric Tuesday!

    Sunday, January 23, 2011

    Just a little update...

    My endeavours of raising money for the Sewing Summit is on hold for another week or two... I just realised that the Summit is about 9 months away... so I probably can't make a clear decision about it for another two months, otherwise I could (hopefully), potentially be either seriously pregnant or having a baby at that time. As life is though, we've been trying for too long without success for me to hold my breath about being pregnant instead of being at the Summit. We'll see. Have I ever mentioned that TTC is just no fun anymore. I should have about 3 sets of twins by now for all that we've tried!

    Enough of that sob story.

    I actually did some sewing today. A very little bit. My mom is in town and she sleeps in my sewing room (on an air mattress poor thing). Since I sew mostly at night, it just doesn't happen with guests. Just now (during nap time) I managed to finish cutting fabric for my bee month (thanks Katy for sending me some much needed Kona grey!!). It's official I'm sending too much fabric. I didn't know how else to allow enough for my bee members to pick their own colors/order. So whatever, I'll use up those scraps forever and love it! I also finally sewed my practice Dresden to some white fabric so I can start embroidering on it. :) That was my little bit of sewing!

    On a great note, I have all my bee fabric ready to send (need to type out instructions), All my envelopes are addressed. My mug rug (s) for Mug Rug Swap III are finished. My birthday gift for my friend Michelle is finished. I feel accomplished even though I didn't do much!

    Hopefully I'll have some sweet stitchy embroidery to show tomorrow! Have a good Sunday!

    Friday, January 21, 2011

    Big thoughts.... need opinions!

    A post is boring without a picture...)
    So here's the thing. I really would love to attend a new blogging/sewing conference/retreat called the Sewing Summit, which will be held for the first time this October. The Summit will be taking place in Salt Lake City and well, for me it's out of my budget. Completely. I'm not one of those people who needs to be on a fabric diet, and I'm not one who can churn out 15 quilts a year, simply because I don't make enough money to put into this hobby. We're broke. There it is.
    So thinking about this, and knowing that I'd love to go to the Sewing Summit, I've been brainstorming. I have never sold a quilt. I've never sold anything on Etsy. I'm not sure that that's the best way to go for this. But I'd like to raise some money (I'm thinking between room and board, supplies, general expenses, and admission, --hopefully Wally's pilot friend will be able to get me tickets?-- I need to budget about $500 for this - ouch!). I was thinking of making a quilt and raffling it off on my blog. But now I see that it's almost definitely illegal to do that (it goes by state and I can't seem to find anything online for Illinois). So I could auction it off... like ebay? That is legal (correct me if I'm wrong).

    So now I'm back to thinking Etsy again... but one quilt won't bring that much money, and there are tons and tons of quilt listings there; it would likely take months if not longer to sell one there, being that I'm an unknown seller with no feedback rates.

    I do have one option, which I've never thought that I'd want to do... but if anyone knew someone wanting to have a quilt made for them. I could do a custom order sort of thing, but I'd prefer if the purchaser liked modern fabrics that I won't hate to work with. Once again, I've never done this before.... I have no clue where to start for pricing on these types of things. I'm thinking for a crib or lap quilt (according to the sale prices on etsy?) about in the $130-$150+ range. Does that sound reasonable? A quilt like this would take me at least two weeks of solid work to make/quilt/bind etc. Someone tell me if I'm way off here.

    For my facebook friends who are wondering what my style is, please check out my blog ( and/or my flickr account (

    Any advice, encouragement, suggestions etc would be great!!! :)
    Thanks in advance!

    Wednesday, January 19, 2011

    Hey Flickr people...

    I just started a flickr group called Quilts in Action, to gather up all the gorgeous pics of our hard work being put to good use. My goal is to be able to see quilts, not just as art but also as a useful and lovingly handmade item. I'm looking for your pics of babies on quilts, kids playing in a fort made of quilts, people (and pets) of all ages cuddling under them, and also decorative quilts hanging where they are displayed. This includes mug rugs in use. Please join up; I'd love to see your hard work in action! Spread the word! :)

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Zip Pouches again!

    Michelle if you're reading this stop. Otherwise you won't be surprised!

    Yesterday I got busy sewing up some zip pouches. My best friend in the world is celebrating her birthday in a couple weeks so I had to whip up something special to send to her. Last year she got this wonderful doll quilt (my first free motion quilting!). This year, something a bit more useable. This zip bag measures at about 4.5" x 8.5" a good size for storing just about anything. I tried to keep it mature, although the only zipper I could find was bright pink! lol.

    January 2011 030

    I made a second one, but didn't get too far because upon opening up the packaging for my second zipper, I found that it was missing the entire top of the zipper pull! How does that happen? I'm hoping Joann's doesn't give me trouble when I try to return it. It's definitely been sitting in my drawer for a few weeks, no receipt. I just want a replacement. That was the only other zipper I had. So the second bag will have to wait! The second one is a little thank you gift for Allie's fav. speech therapist (who she'll no longer be seeing since she doesn't require as much therapy anymore). I'm planning on adding a little note and a Starbucks gift card. That's cool right? I know it's not typically acceptable to really give gifts, but Ann has helped us a ton, and has been with Allie since she started Early Intervention almost two years ago! We'll be sad to see her go!

    January 2011 031

    Linking up to Fabric Tuesday.

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Mug Rugs... again. lol...

    Here are my idea sketches for this round.
    This week we got our partners for the third round of the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap over on flickr. I love making these little things since they take so little time (compared to a big quilt), so I can try out a lot of new ideas.

    I decided to try doing a fishy on my mug rug... but that meant I'd have to learn (properly) how to paper piece. So I looked around and found this pattern, which I actually measured and reproduced on a paper since our printer isn't working. The finished block is... 8" long? Definately too big for me! 

    The next day I took a little time measuring and scaling down that paper pattern (of course it could have been easier if my printer worked). In the end I had this little guy who measures at about 2" x 1"!! I made my "paper" pattern out of light weight fusible interfacing. I didn't have any tracing paper to trace the pattern with it seemed to work, and bonus, no need to peel that paper off!

    Here's the littlest one... made into a pincushion since after adding the border I determined that I wasn't so sure my partner would like all that purple.

    more about the pleated mug rug later!
    Here's the one that made it into a mug rug! This guy is about 4" long. I used colors a bit more inspired by my swap partner's likes. There will probably be some embroidery and/or hand quilting going on there too. Also, I'm thinking of adding some free motioned bubbles. 

    Like the fishies? Check these out!
    Check out Sew Modern Mondays Here!

    Sunday, January 16, 2011


    I just cannot resist the wonderfulness of this group. Last summer I joined my first swap, and lucky me it happened to get into one of the best swaps out there, the flickr Doll Quilt Swap (round 9). Not only did being a part of DQS9 push my boundaries, and encourage me to try new techniques, but it also showed me what a great group of people are out there crafting in the world! 

    I'm very lucky to have gotten in this swap again for round 10. This time around the swap mamas had us list in our form whether we were chatty or not. I guess I'm pretty chatty. lol. They placed us with partners that were similar in quilting style, fabric likes, and chattiness. That is turning out to be really cool too since my partner is someone who I've already been admiring. We have lots of things in common... and a couple of those will find their way into the quilt.

    Here are my ideas thus far. I'm thinking of using linen with some fabrics like AMH and Tula Pink (parisville), and of course grey. I think for colors it'll be mostly blue, pink, and purples... depending on what format I go with. There will be an embroidered quote there... that I found online last night in a fit of inspiration. Perfect!

    As per my usual goal with these swaps I've already started trying new techniques. Today I gave curved piecing a try. It was really much easier than I thought it would be! Seriously, if you haven't tried it, please do! Here's the tutorial I used, although for some of the curves I found cutting the fabrics with scissors gave a bit more control than the rotary cutter.

    The one thing I need to remember to keep in mind while doing this, is that the cut line is reduced by your seam allowances. I'd planned on a little more of the pink to show up there in the middle! lol. I see a lot of possibilities here!

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Liebster Award

    All week I've been seeing some great new (to me) blogs because of this Liebster Award. The idea is that each person who is nominated picks 3-5 small blogs (less than 300 readers?) to share with everyone else. Today I'm excited to say I was nominated for it by Brooke of Pitter Putter Stitch!

    In the spirit of spreading some Lieben (or "love" in German), I want to nominate a few of my favorite little blogs too.

    1) Angela from Cut to Pieces  - Who I first "met" in the DQS9 where she made a spectacular quilt and made us all cry when she told us the story behind it (ok she made me cry). Very talented! She was my partner for the Mug Rug Swap too, and it was great fun to make her some little mug rugs!

     2) As life would  have it, I actually just found Diana at Sticks and Baubles today! I was looking through my "stats" page on blogger and I had seen that her page had been referring some visitors to mine. :) That's always exciting, but even better is that she's got some great quilting going on over there!

    3) Then there's Sara over at Sew Sweetness. She's a local Chicagoan like me, and although we have not yet met in person it's still nice to know there are other cool bloggy quilters around here! She also runs a fabric co-op which is pretty cool!

    4) Lastly there's Karyn, from Path to Green. Karyn and I went to high school together, we were cheerleaders together, and... she was/is my sister's best friend. She is the most nature/conservation/etc minded person I know (and that's saying a lot considering the people I work with!). Her blog is mostly about her path to becoming more eco friendly. It's a very do it yourself hands on type thing. She also makes art quilts and various other crafty ventures.

    Thanks for the nomination Brooke! I love hearing about new blogs - you know, I don't follow a million of them already... :)

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    What a day!!!

    Today is once again Tuesday, which means watching my friend Courtney and her mom Marci kick ass on Biggest Loser (go team AQUA!!!). I haven't watched them just yet, we recorded it while I was at work - off to watch it in just a moment! I hear it's supposed to be a great episode! Can't wait!
    (Edited to add: Courtney totally said her trademark "Absolutely" on camera! Awesome!)

    And... My very first guest post is now up. 

    And... today I got info on my super secret swap partner for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap #3. Wooo Hoo! I love the stalking and the sketching and planning. As you can see if you scroll down to my earlier posts, I've already started trying new things for this swap! I love it! And with mug rugs you just can't make enough... they're quick and a great way to test out an idea. 

    And... although I wasn't expecting to hear anything until this weekend, I also got an email letting me know that I did indeed get into the Doll Quilt Swap 10!!! I'm so completely excited about this!!! The participants are picked via lottery so I didn't know if I'd get in again! Oh I'm excited! I guess I can now make a mosaic for that too! :)

    And... today is my mom's birthday! Happy birthday Mom!!! (tomorrow is my dad's birthday!)

    And... something else exciting is possibly happening too. But you guys surely don't want to know. More on that later (hopefully).

    Is that exciting enough for you guys??
    Completely unrelated photo of the kid.

    My First Guest Post Ever!

    This month Shruti at 13 Woodhouse Road is hosting all sorts of things related to your Sewing Space - head on over there today to check out my very first guest post ever! :) Enjoy!!

    Mug rugs, and bee strips...

    They're all over my sewing area!
    I have nearly finished cutting fabrics for my month of {Sew} Beautiful Bee (February)... I didn't buy enough Kona Ash... so I'll have to return to the store first!
    Today we recieved our partners for the Scrappy Mug Rug Swap 3. So I got right to work attempting some paper piecing which would have to be scaled down by about 200% ...

    If my partner bites on it and leaves me a comment I'll continue...but I don't think it's my style enough for it to turn out amazingly. I may incorperate one tiny fishy in there... we'll see. Paper piceing is a little annoying - only since I am not very practiced at it! 

    If my partner doesn't love it here are some of my other ideas:

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Have I ever mentioned...

    That one day my husband and I want to retire to Roma?

    child chasing bubbles...
    Piazza di Santa Maria in Trastevere
    Just now I have a very strong desire to go back. Now.


    Did I mention that we met here?

    Campo Di Fiori
    Campo di Fiori

    It looked a lot like that that night. College orientation. Magical.
    At a restaurant just down this road we had our first date.

    This is what I'll miss...
    Via Della La Scala
    Can I even imagine that it's true? I did dream of this very bridge (which I'd never seen, but happens to be in Roma) for many years in my later childhood / adolescence. Who knew I would walk across it daily for four months?

    My Bridge....

    Who knew my pics were still available on six years later?! lol.

    Sunday, January 9, 2011

    Five Pointed Star Mug Rug

    Five point star mug rug

    This is the little project I was working on the other day. A sweet little mug rug. After seeing this awesome block on flickr, and finding the tutorial here, I knew I had to give it a try! It was challenging, but not too terribly hard. If/when I do this again I will definitely trace a star to get even points; I think that would help the balance a lot. It also would be great if I would have read the order in which I was supposed to sew those sections together. As a result of sewing them all in a row (rather than in groups first) my points in the middle didn't line up just so. I got pretty close though. 

    The tutorial is for a 14" block, mine is about 7". It probably would look better as a 14" block. I do like this mug rug though. It could be a trivet or small pot holder too, since I did double batting inside. I think I'll add some hand stitching at some point. The best part? It's all scraps, right down to the batting and the binding!

    Linked up with Canoe Ridge Creations' {Sew} Modern Monday

    Get Ready...

    January 2011 010

    To peek into the creative spaces of some talented people! That's right starting Monday - for the next few weeks Shruti of 13 Woodhouse Road will be hosting a Sewing Spaces Focus. Throughout that time she'll have guest posts from many crafty people with a focus each week on a specific portion of their sewing space. 

    What does your sewing space look like? Do you love it? If you could, what would you change about it? Maybe seeing how other crafters keep their space will inspire us to change a thing or two (or not).

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Rosemarie & Katee with their quilts
    Rosemarie and Katee with their quilts at Christmas!
    (The above picture has nothing to do with this post)

    No sewing happened today. I did however, try something totally new yesterday that I'll be posting as soon as I hand sew that binding down! It's little and cute, and I learned that maybe it would have been better if I wouldn't have gone all rogue and shrunk down the block size without testing the large size first. It's pretty cool though; stay tuned! 

    I don't do this often... have you guys seen the work of Jolene over at Blue Elephant Stitches? WHOA! That's some seriously awesome sewing! I'd like to think that that's what my blog would look like if I had all the money in the world to buy fabric with... and all the long naptimes in the world to sew during... and a reason to make lots of quilts (the ability to feel ok charging someone for a quilt). Such great inspirational work there. Seriously, get a load of her "We love Grandma" pillow. Be still my heart! AMH, purple, and tiny handstiched words! :)

    Thursday, January 6, 2011

    Mug Rugs, Bee Blocks, and Other Randomness

    Did I ever mention that this one goes great in my kitchen?

    Have I mentioned (a million times) how great of a swap partner I had for the Mug Rug 2 Swap? This is one of the two mug rugs she sent me. It goes great right in my kitchen! Notice those tiny little squares! Made by Jen (flickr: mjandco)

    Practice Dresden gets more layers!

    I keep adding to my practice dresden plate block. I think that I'd like to make one out of the same fabrics but using pinks for the outside petals and purples for the inside petals. It's nice that this is all made from scraps form Katee and Rosemarie's quilts.

    Close-up of practice bee block

    A closeup of one of my practice blocks for {Sew} Beautiful - Feb. February is my month. I still need to get to the store to buy that grey fabric! I'm really looking forward to seeing them come together though!!

    Silly Allie singing!

    Since a random post wouldn't be complete without a picture of this girl, here she is singing quite loudly to Cinderella songs on youtube. (did you guys know that you can watch all those great Disney songs on youtube? The kid loves them! She even walks around the kitchen with the broom pretending to clean like Cinderella!

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    True or False?

    I want to buy some of this fabric and color it in.

    Things I could be doing, things that I can't.

    I could be doing:
    • cutting my fabrics for Feb of the {Sew} Beautiful Bee. (some of them... since I need to make it to the store to buy some more grey.
    • Playing with scraps to potentially add up to quilt blocks for a quilt for my mom or MIL? 
    • Finishing that mini-single irish chain quilt into a doll quilt or pillow cover. 
    • Make a really awesome cool zippered pouch. Just because.
    What I can't:
    • Finish my practice Dresden plate into either a pillow or a doll quilt for Allie's room. (I don't have a single piece of solid colored fabric large enough!)
    • Start on my Nicey Jane wonky star quilt... Again, with the not having solid fabric. I don't have a single bit of white fabric which I plan to use for this quilt. Frustrating since I've had that fabric for a year and have finally settled on that type of quilt.
    • Actually cut all my fabric for the bee... I like the fealing of finishedness. Cutting half the fabric isn't as desireable as cutting it all. (again with the no solid fabric).
    • Make a baby gift for Adri's baby (I'm dreading that baby shower. Hate seeing pregnant people right now, and especially hate pregnant people who are really full of themselves --they deserve to be don't get me wrong). Need to get some flannel from joann's when they have it on sale next.
    • Get started on swaps... that I haven't gotten into yet! lol.
    I don't really feel like doing the things on the "Can" list. lol. Don't you hate that? And no chance of getting to Joann's until Friday!

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Inspiration... sewing and life.

    Tomorrow evening you all should turn your tv's on to NBC for Biggest Loser. Seriously. I don't use my blog to plug shows... but my friend Courtney and her mom Marci are on this season. Courtney is one of the most inspiring people ever. My husband met her on an airplane... long story short she doesn't live far from us and we've been in touch a lot. DH is going through some massive weight loss himself and she's an amazing inspiration. Please do watch and root for her (and watch Bob and Jillian kick her butt!). I don't want to get into this too much here, but if any of you know how hard it is to be obese... and to, after so long, get up and start addressing the problems... to really change your life. It's not as simple as being on tv and working out once in a while. I love my husband so much, and I know that without him making the major change he's in the middle of, he won't be around in 5 years. End of story. My life has been turned upside down in the past year, and it has easily been the hardest year of my life. But if in the end I get more years with my husband, it's all worth it. He has some of the best help right now... but I struggle with the thought of what people go through when they can't afford the help, or when they don't have friends and family to support them in weight loss. According to statistics 30% of Americans are obese. Lets stop judging people and start talking. How can we help each other? Hopefully Courtney and Marci will inspire us all to tackle these issues.

    "The biggest message I personally want to send to everyone with this opportunity that I've been given is that you do NOT need a show, a ranch, or world class trainers to CHANGE YOUR LIFE! I got so incredibly lucky to be on the BL, but it's to finish what I had already started!! I lost the majority of my weight at home, on my own, because I WANTED it!! One day, one choice, one step at a time!!! :)!!! ♥" ~ from Courtney

    ***Shameless plug for Biggest Loser over***

    Secondly... I decided to join the third round of the Mug Rug Swap. I don't think we're supposed to link up to the group page for the reason of having a huge surplus of people wanting to join. So if you want to join feel free to go over to flickr and search it. :) I'm not sure how I could expect anything near as good this time around, as I got last time. My partner Jen had me pegged exactly. I actually squeeled when I opened the package! But I can't deny that this swap group gives me so much inspiration. I just had to give it a go again! Here's my inspiration mosaic. Pretty cool. :) 

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Tutorial/Recipe: Yummy Pita Chips

    MMM... almost a tutorial for you guys!

    Cinnamon Sugar Pita Chips.
    What you need:
    • Pitas that are nearly past their prime (ok they could be fresh but it feels thriftier to use ones that otherwise wouldn't be eaten
    • Butter/margarine/substitute (I use Brummel & Browns because it's yummy)
    • Cinnamon and sugar mixed (I used a ratio of about 1/4C. sugar to 1-2 tbsp. cinnamon - didn't use it all obviously!)
    1. Preheat oven to 350F
    2. While your oven is heating line a cake pan or cookie sheet  with foil (this helps in cleanup but is essentially unnecesary), and split the pita bread into two layers (if using pocket type pitas).
    3. Apply a thin layer of butter type substance to the rough inside side of your pitas. You can do this by melting it and using a pastry brush if you'd like. The Brummel & Browns I use is pretty soft so I just use a butter knife.
    4. Sprinkle the buttered side with cinnamon sugar and cut into quarters (or smaller if you prefer).
    5. Lay butter side up on pan.
    6. Bake for 10 - 15 min, until edges are getting nice and toasty brown and the middles are crispy (this time will vary depending on the amount of butter used). 
    7. Remove from oven and enjoy!!! 
    I made these last night using Oregano (1 tsp.), garlic powder (1/8 tsp.), and onion powder (1/8 tsp.) roughly... they were great too. I would probably add a tad bit of sea salt next time to the savory ones. 


    I want this.

    I'd never spend $30 on a shirt like this... (or really any shirt). The seller has lots of cute stuff... but I really like the interesting/different style of this shirt. Not to mention the color of blue!