September 10, 2012

September- Just Three!

I met my Just Three goals for August!

1. I finished a quilt. My kaliedoscope quilt went from this

to this,

to this.

This binding had some issues that included fraying of the seams on the edge. I would sew a 1/4 inch seam on a top that had so many seams on the edge of the top to stabilize it. It all ended well.

Unfortunately no pictures of this since it I am not sure how to take a picture of an 72 by 80 quilt! I will get you a picture soon.

I added the binding by hand and realized how relaxing it is. I have got to start an applique project next year. Maybe in a block of the month format so I can keep a goal.

2. Two of my postage stamp blocks are finished. I promised myself I would not buy the backing until I was completely finished with the top. So I am on a mission this month with this one.

It just seems like I never visit my machine on a regular basis anymore. I have to sneak spurts of time here and there. Most are no longer than 15 to 20 minutes at a time. I am hoping for naps this month! ;)

3. I have the Sarah Jane quilt basted. I have some work cut out for me in perle cotton.

My goals for the end of September are:

1. Quilt the Sarah Jane quilt.
2. Finish 2 more postage stamp blocks.
3. Get another quilt out to be basted.

and 4. ( cause I am horrible and break the rules) pick up a favorite UFO. I may just pet it, but maybe I will sew a bit on it.

traceyjay quilts

Hopefully September can be just a productive as August was.

September 7, 2012

Super Mario QAL: The Fire Flower

The beginning of school is well underway. Now there is only 1 little one at home. Zoe is adjusting well and there is less strife since she has no one to 'bother'. It is nice to just listen to her play and realizing how happy it is. A lot of her dolls are potty training. Successfully too, I might add. ;)

Another block has been added to the bunch. This QAL is not to be passed up. I have got to get my act together on other WIPs, but I stop for this one. These are the blocks so far. I'll add Pacific Blue as the Kona solid sashing between them. Fun, no?

Super Mario Quilt

I played with Angela's pattern and this is what I came up with. I added some red to the Fire Flower and used all the greens I collected for this project. I may have used the seam ripper way too much, trying to get the seams to nest the right way, but it's my favorite block so far.

Super Mario Fire Flower
Kaufman Kona used: aqua, white, black, tomato, orange, canary, jungle, clover, and
sour apple

My thought is to finish this for Christmas. I am thinking of a pieced back that is very busy in places. I am thinking there will be a lot of seams on top of seams. Is this a good or bad idea for anyone familiar with a longarm sewing machine? Should I go ahead and piece the back with pieces as small? Doesn't hurt to think ahead, right?

Sharing with Amy and Sarah this week.

August 17, 2012

Zakka Pencil Case

I decided to go and buy some Asics running shoes. I put on the TV to occupy the kids and went for a 2.5 mile jog/run on the treadmill. I have been going to this and that doctor without any answers, and it seems like I am allergic to something. I still can't figure it out. My latest thought is it may be bleached white flour as I ruled out gluten and lactose with actual blood tests. I am beyond frustrated with food. On top of that I have a Vitamin D deficiency which may explain the fatigue, and my thyroid is being flaky. So I am just going to change the diet and get some running in the schedule. Those are within my control.

Usually no gluten and no sugar works for me and my husband work schedule has changed so I might be able to exercise the morning before school. These hot pink shoes were the most calm looking ones I could find besides being really comfy. Styling huh? And those patio pumpkins are huge!


While my boy's corn only grew tiny half grown ears, Anna's pumpkins are growing very quickly and we may have pumpkin pie soon. Although I have not the slightest idea of the variety here and that might not taste so great.

Lastly, I have finished some Essex linen pencil cases from Zakka Sewing: 25 Japanese Projects for the Household. The case itself is not hard to sew, but you need to clip around the curves many times for the concave curves to lie flat.

Zakka Pencil Case

The inside lining is actually a rectangle so it is easy to fit within. The ears are back-stitched shut and hand appliqued to the body.

The hexagon bunny tail uses two 1/2 inch hexagons- one in linen and one in matching fabric. I braided two strands of perle cotton 8 in ecru for the pulls.

Zakka Pencil Case

While seemingly long I wanted my children to be able to grasp the twine rather than the hexagon tail. I used an old baby outfit for the gingham blue bunny as it almost perfectly matched the one in the book. What are the odds?

Zakka Pencil Case

I plan to make more from this book as it has many sweet designs. I am also thinking what other animals would look good made into a pencil case like this. Hedgehog? Iguana? Dachshund? What do you think?


August 15, 2012

Mario and Denyse

Do do do da da da... I finished a Mario cloud.

Mario cloud

Thinking of sneaking Princess Peach on the back of the quilt somehow. Is that wrong on a boy quilt? Although rescuing Peach is the point of the game, right?

Piecing Mario cloud
Kona Kaufman used: aqua, white, ash, black

I enjoy working backwards and the jigsaw puzzle like construction. I wonder how much extra Kona I will have left over by using this method. I wasn't so happy with the smile that had to be broken up, but I didn't see any other way.

I'm still plugging away on the Kaliedoscope.

Kaliedoscope Quilt

It is difficult to get the yo-yos centered, but a little bit of character is OK.

Kaliedoscope yo-yo detail

Know anyone would would like to buy the full Denyse Schmidt fat quarter pack this is made with? I feel the need to slim down my stash. It hurts a bit, but I need to let some go. :)

Linking up to BOMs Away and WIP Wednesday.

August 8, 2012

On My Sewing Table

I am going to take up TraceyJay's Just Three Challenge. So here is what is in progress on my sewing table this morning.

1. Finish the blocks of my postage stamp quilt. There are 4 left and one a week should finish the top.

Postage Stamp Block

2. Baste this Children At Play quilt and begin the hand quilting on it. I want to put a little applique on the back so that is an immediate goal this week.

Children At Play Quilt Top

3. Put the scrappy binding on my Kaliedoscope Quilt. I am adding hand applique yo-yos at each block intersection and centers. It makes me smile, because I am 'mixing techniques' and that make me feel somewhat accomplished saying that. I put off the yo-yo's for a month, because I was apprehensive of the task. Then I realized... Oh... I can do this. :)

Kaliedoscope Quilt

If those three lofty goals get done... we'll see... my Granny Square quilt is waiting to be basted. I decided on the wide Moda Dottie backing in green since that was only one left. I also found coordinating perle cotton that will pull this all together.

Granny Squares

So... What's on your sewing table?

Linking to WIP Wednesday and Just Three.

August 2, 2012

Garden Success!

As I looked over our patio, I realized one plant had taken over the entire herb garden. See the big leafy plant with yellow flowers along the edge?

It was a plant grown in first grade by my oldest as a study in plant growth. It came home in a plastic cup the size of a solo cup. I though I had killed it when I first placed it in the ground and prepared my daughter for the possibility that it may die as the desert climate can get too hot. Last year, if you remember, we had similar plants that grew flowers and that was it. I was hoping that Anna would have more luck.

Entire 6 foot lengths did indeed die off, but we trimmed and hoped. Finally the bright yellow female flowers started to grow with the the others and fruit appeared. When some shriveled up we gave up hope, but last week we notice some growth and now we have pumpkins! Lots!

Moving the leaves away, while taking the picture, a large praying mantis was chased away. I wish I was able to share him with you too. At least, I know they are being taken cared of while I am away.

August 1, 2012

SMB Quilt Along: The Goomba

Super Mario Goomba

I thought I might show my mini block method that I used for the Goomba block. He's such a baddie! 

I break up each pixelated grid into mini blocks that minimize the number of pieces and seams. There are two here that got switched, his cheeks, but I fixed that before sewing.  The best part is that the features of each pixelated character are symmetric so there are lots of mini blocks that are reflections of each other. I also piece horizontal rows that are almost the entire width of the block and then add pieces on each end.

Super Mario Goomba

You can see the Luigi and Guido here with links to the quilt along. 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

July 30, 2012

Inchie Postage Stamp Quilt Preview

I made two additional 1 inch postage stamp blocks this week. Translation: I got off my but. Plus, this picture helped me be a little more motivated.

Postage stamp progress

I have made a total of 11 blocks and nine are shown here. It almost covers the bed and will be 80 by 80 inches. I chose a fabric from Laurie Wisbrun's Brrr! collection to make a beautiful backing. I will be cross-hatching the white squares in white and hopefully this pattern will blend well with the thread.


The green and red stripe in that collection will make a sweet candy-cane like bias binding edge. I can taste the finish line of this marathon. Yay for having a productive sewing week!

July 23, 2012

Super Mario QAL Progress: Mario and Luigi blocks

I love pixelated video game quilts. I saw this QAL and realized it had to be on my bucket list of quilts and toute de suite. The first two blocks are completed.

I took the pattern and broke it into small blocks, planned ahead where I was going to press the seams, and sewed the completed rows of blocks together. It doesn't use Pellon, because I can't afford it right now. You know already I am also working on a postage stamp quilt and I want to finish this quick. I made do and I certainly hope I captured the feel of the pixels.





I placed Mario down wrong side up and used that to flip the image. Only the head and cap need to be reversed. A simple strip of aqua on the body moved from the right to the left as well.

Here are the Kona colors I am using from Robert Kaufman.

Reference photo of Kona Colors for the Mario QAL

From top left clockwise: Forest, Jungle, Clover, Kiwi, Sour Apple, Canary, Corn Yellow, Orange, Tomato, Medium Grey, Ash, White, Cream, Wheat, Earth, Mocha, Chocolate, Royal, Pacific, Aqua, Black.

There are a few extra, but I tend to experiment as I go. I was lucky since some were in my stash and many are fat quarters.

The advantage of using this method is if my husband walks in on me, sewing a section, he won't have a clue what I am working on. "manical laugh, manical laugh, manical laugh..." ;)

July 17, 2012

Super Mario Brothers Quilt Along

Cut To Pieces

I am trying to keep this a secret! Of course blogging about it will not do. However my husband will more than likely never read this. So don't spill the beans, K? Angela at Cut to Pieces has come up with a QAL for gamers. It's called the Super Mario Brothers QAL. Freaking awesome! Do do do, do da do...

Mario Bros qal
via flickr @Cut to Pieces
This is my loft and you can see why this quilt is begging to get made.

the loft

The Nintendo, the 8 bit video game system from 1985, in all its glory, resides in our tv cabinet too. 

Of course I was all excited to finally start today. My machine really does need some attention. I had some fabric from stash and I just had ordered a few more. However this needs to be done by Christmas, and I realized I was missing some FQs when the order came today. (My mistake and not theirs. This shop is awesome!) I order all my Kaufman Kona from FabricShack since my LQSs don't seem to carry any and it is a wait of another week to send in another order. I was irritated and mumbling to myself about my error on my bed, with my Kona card, and while my husband was in the room. Remember it's a secret so I can't outright whine. I look at him and blurt out, "Dammit. I forgot the nuetrals and a Shade of Grey." He says, with a snarky grin, "Not sure I can help you that." Sigh... I am sure there is a joke in there. And no, I haven't read that book.

July 14, 2012

Take Out

A little bit of of this and that this summer and nothing too serious to be made. Just some portable projects to take out on the go and be played with. I will say I will have two big hand quilted beauties to be finished by the end of August. I know the actual quilting part should be done in winter, but I love my air-conditioned house and 112 is way too hot to venture out too much.

So some new hexies for a fall linen bag...

Beginnings of a tote for fall

And some yo-yos for my stashbuster...

Yo Yos for the Stashbuster Quilt

That's it for quite a while. Just enjoying the sunny weather and hopefully some more rain in the desert. You really get to love rain when you don't have it. The kids got all wet before lunch yesterday running around in the backyard like crazy little people. :)

My Happy Picnic Quilt was in Michelle's Sewing Trends article over at Sew Mama Sew this week so be sure to check out what seems to be the newest trends. I love the picture she used from my post.

Oh and if you're a Heather Ross fan you need to check out her new fabric at Hancock Fabrics here. I know! It's quilting weight too. Don't pay crazy etsy prices, because it's 5 a yard!!! I'll let you know how they are next week when they arrive at my door. Yes! Did I enable any of you? Well... you know you want to buy some.

June 25, 2012

Crisis Averted

You ever have a day where you *know* you left something somewhere, but now you can't find it? You swear you left on the ironing board or on that table. I had just cut just enough border to make it work and no wiggle room. So keep calm, right? So I get into the car for a playdate and find this squeezed in the car seat cup holder.

Crisis averted...

(I was later told at bedtime that they make great pretend reins for Zoe's horse, her older sister. They have been using ribbons attached to the back of dresses for this and I guess this is for when the horse wears pants.)

June 18, 2012

Monday, Monday (ba-da ba-da-da-da)

So much to do, but I am just plugging away at my Kaleidoscope quilt. It's so close to being finished. I have to make the yo-yos to applique to each intersection. I have been using the blue marker Mark-Be-Gone to mark all the 1/4 inch outline quilting. Thankfully, I have also figured out my favorite quilting needle for perle cotton is DMC embroidery needle in a size 5. For some reason I always lose the packaging and forget between projects. Do you have a favorite?

Kaliedoscope QAL quilt

I hardly need an excuse to work some Children at Play fabric. This will turn into something PB kid-esque. My SIL picked some great boy fabrics. I am wondering if I should call it a commissioned quilt? Relatives don't count right? After seeing the fabric, I am thinking some squares might go mysteriously missing. I will have to hold that thought back.

Children At Play

I also am in the middle of some postage stamp blocks. One more finished and many more to go. Tiny little 'em, hate 'em... I will not count how many I have left or I might quit. However, I am halfway there or more. Wish me luck.

1 inch postage blocks- halfway there...

May 23, 2012

A Finish?? Nahh!!! : WIP Wednesday

Been working on my Kaliedoscope quilt this week. Remember that QAL with Don't Call Me Betsy? I just threw it on the kitchen floor this Monday and said so what if the kids are going to dance on it and the dog licks it? OK, they did neither and I threw a old sheet over it when I wasn't working on basting it. Then there was the ants in the kitchen in the middle of the two day process. I know! I just mopped, but the dog bowl was great fun for the ants. Luckily the quilt was spared, but basting a quilt always seems like an epic event over here.

Kaliedoscope Quilting

I basted with pins and thread since I am going to hand quilt this. I picked green for the grid and once that is done all the pins will be gone. Then I will move on to the triangular units and stitch a quarter inch with different colors of perle cotton.

I also finally picked up a fat eighth pack of Anna Maria Horner's Loulouthi on etsy. I hesitated for quite a while, but, I will be honest, I love my stash of Good Folks a lot more. I bought it since the Patchwork Prism is on my list. Her fabrics always look glorious together. I don't have the cutting time to make it now, but there is a quilt along going on here for it. I joke with my husband that I should call them Top Alongs since I am so bad at finishing them. I still have a pinwheel and a Single Girl waiting for attention. We should just start a support group for finishing those QAL UFO tops! I bet there would be a lot of takers! Maybe it's just me.

Loulouthi Fat Eighth Pack

I also bought this little bit of reversible ribbon. Not sure what I should do with it, but I couldn't pass up this tiny impulse buy.

Rosa Pomar Ribbon-Folk Birds

I did finish this Granny Square Top- favorite of all time. It has all of my most loved fabrics. The border was a bit frustrating, but all the measurements worked out well. I'll hand quilt that too, so no finished quilt for a while. I am going with the extra wide Moda Dotties backing in red.

granny Square top

I also have been plugging along with my postage stamp quilt. Each block has 400 squares so I am glad I have 9 out of 16 blocks done. Halfway there!! Really what was I thinking? Yeah... darn bucket list...

Postage Stamp Quilt

So I am going off to quilt. Finish?? Nah!!! Although I did finish this picnic quilt recently. See! I do actually finish something!!

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

May 21, 2012

Keeping It Together

That title pretty much describes last week. However I will hold back in fear of being whiny instead of authentic! The one good thing that happened last week was Andrew got into full day kindergarten with the same teacher as Anna and a weight of uncertainty has been lifted.

Holding it Together
Denyse Schmidt- Picnic and Fairgrounds/ Stashbuster design- Material Obsession
In the meantime, I am holding my kitchen floor hostage this afternoon and taped fabric to it! Hah. At least now I can be quilting something instead of hiding the top in a drawer somewhere. 

Holding it Together
Kaleidoscope QAL
My first floor is a dark hobbit hole, so you will have to excuse these less than stellar pictures, but at least in the summer I have a cool house here in the desert.

I am going to partially thread baste it, because I always get annoyed with the pins catching in my quilting hoop. I will then add the pins, sparingly in spots I will know be in the center of the hoop to begin with, and remove them as I quilt. Plus, if my back isn't in pain, I can baste another quilt next week!

So what do you prefer? Thread? Pins? Is everyone spray basting? Can you use this with hand quilting? Anyone have an opinion?

May 11, 2012

Zakka Patchwork Ball

I just finished English paper piecing a zakka patchwork ball from the book I Love Patchwork.

EPP Patchwork Ball

It took about two weeks of time here and there. I may make most of the projects from this book and Zakka Style this year.

EPP Patchwork Ball

I would encourage you to also check out NanaCompany. She is a master of this aesthetic. I think my colors are always too bright for it.  I want to try this project one day too for my little one's dollie bed.

I do need to get on with my hexagon and my cathedral window quilt. If I take a break from the long term projects with little finishes like this, then I feel refreshed and better ready to tackle the old friend of a project. How about you?