Sunday, October 31, 2010

Thank You, New Friend!!

About this time last year, I remember reading a sweet post on a new bloggy friend's blog. Aunt Spicy had just completed the FRIENDS Swap, and I thought that had to be about the coolest thing ever!

I, of course, became a regular stalker of Aunt Spicy, but somehow, I also became a regular reader of Sew Prim Khris, the Swap Mama of the FRIENDS Swap.

So in July, when she made the announcement that she was taking sign-ups for the 2010 FRIENDS Swap, I jumped right on it! A week, or so, later, I got an email from Khris with information about my swap partner, Melinda. Then Melinda and I exchanged emails, and started reading each others' blogs, and started getting to know each other. Started becoming friends.

The idea behind the FRIENDS Swap is that you send your new friend 7 gifts, one that starts with an F, one that starts with an R, etc., spelling out the word FRIENDS. And, hopefully, you have sent things that you now know your new friend would enjoy because you've been getting to know each other! :o)

I learned that Melinda is a fabulous and professional quilter in Atlanta, so when I had a quilting question, I asked her. She works at a really cute fabric store, and teaches quilting classes that I would love to take. (The commute might be a bit tough, though, eh?)

Well, that was way back in August, and the deadline to send was October 26th. In August, October seemed eons away. Like, EONS!! I started thinking of what gifts could represent each letter, and storing away little fun things to send to Melinda.  I, of course, finished mine on Sunday night...the day before we HAD TO send our swap gifts out. :o)  Somehow, those 3 months went super fast! :o)

I have been waiting so impatiently to hear that Melinda got her box o' goodies that I totally forgot I would be getting my own box from Melinda! :o) Haha...I'm bright like that. :o)  So imagine my surprise and glee when I saw a box from the mailman Saturday, all the way from Atlanta. Yay!

I ran inside and tore into it, neglecting all my responsibilities (read: crying baby) so I could see what goodies Melinda had sent me!  It was tough, but I had the clarity of mind to take a quick photo before I shredded all the wrapping to see what fun stuff she had sent me. :o)

I was SUPER EXCITED right away just reading the tags! All kinds of fabric and sewing aids! Yippee!!  I was just giddy, really. And I hadn't even opened the packages.

So once I got that picture taken, I got about the business of digging in.  And here's what she sent me! Yummy fun super stuff!

F = Fat Quarters from Sandy Gervais' Frolic line (Moda)
R = Red Thread...the Mettler I've just recently discovered and have been told it is far superior to Gutermann.
I = Ironing Aid. Just today I was telling one of my sewing buddies that I needed some of the Best Press!!
E = Easy Yo-yos. It's a Clover Yo-yo template! Cute!
N = Nickel Squares, also known as charm squares, in a sweet combination of red, white, and blue. :o) I LOVE the fact that I've got a quilt all ready to go, I just have to put it together! How easy is that?!
D = Dr. Seuss Fabric. I've been eyeing the Dr Seuss fabric since it was first an image on a website, and now I have some!  It's a bit of a panel, and I'm not quite sure what I'll do with it, yet, but I know I can come up with something great!
S = Strips. There are two little rolls of sweet, delicate pink strips.
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Melinda, every ounce of it is wonderful and perfect and I'm so delighted. Thank you!

And now, it's my turn to show off what I sent to her!

Here are all the gifts all wrapped up and tagged.

And here are the gifts before I wrapped them:
F = Fluids. Nuff said. :o)

R = Rug, as in Mug Rug. She said she loves black and white, so that's where I started, then I added the rainbow around the outside, and I backed it with that green, since she loves lime green. As per my usual, there are things I would do differently, and it's not perfect, but I liked it when I was finished.

I = Idea book. Since she is a quilt maker, and a quilt teacher, and a quilt quilter, I thought she might have use for a purse-sized graph paper book to jot down and sketch out her ideas.

E = Edamame. Dark chocolate covered Edamame to be specific. YUMMMMMY!! I love these. And she loves dark chocolate, so it was a double win, really.

N = Notecards. They are lime green and black and white and they say "cherish" on the front. If you look closely, you'll notice that each one is in a clear envelope. Stampin' Up makes them, and I love them! The post office will accept them if you have a stamp on the outside of the envelope (I usually write the address on a piece of paper and slip it in the back, then seal it and stick a stamp on the outside). I just love the idea of the recipient getting a peek at the card before they even open it. Just bright and happy in the mailbox. That's all. :o)

D = Drink. I found out she likes Chai tea, so I got her a little mug (to go with her rug...) and a box of tea.

S = Sweets. Again, she likes dark chocolate. And I have recently learned that I like to snack on Chex Mix when I'm quilting. It is not unusual for me to quilt my way through a whole bag in a few short quilting sessions. :o) So maybe she likes to snack a little when she's quilting, too.

Whew! That was a lot of information, wasn't it? But, I know you all feel better now that you know all of that. :o)

I had a whole lotta fun with this, and I'll probably try to participate again next year, if I can!  Yay for new friends and new goodies! :o)

I hope you all get a sweet surprise in the mail just like I did.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wee Tease

Here's a little snippet of something I've been working on for my F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Swap Partner, Melinda.

She loves black and white and lime green.

It's going into tomorrow's mail for you... :o)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Tea Time Mug Rug

August seemed to be the "scrap buster" month around the blogosphere. I read post after post after post about how people were busting their scraps. Somewhere along the way, I hatched a scrap buster idea of my own.

I emailed Alissa of Handmade by Alissa, and suggested a Scrap Swap for the September LA Modern Quilt Guild meeting. The idea was that anyone wanting to participate would put some scraps (2x2" or larger) into a sandwich sized ziploc baggie, and wrap the baggie so we could have a blind swap. And then, the person who got our baggie would take it home, add one fabric of their own and make something fabulous to give back to us! Don't like red and aqua? No problem, it's not for you. You got a bag of pink scraps and you have no pink decor in your house? No problem, it's not for you! :o)  See how fab that is?

Oh, honestly, I didn't even know how great it was going to be! Didn't. Even. Know.

So I got Melissa P's fabrics, and she gave me 4 different "sets", if you will. I had grandiose plans. But alas, babies and moves and other obligations got in the way, and I was only able to complete one project. One that I loved making for her, and I'm super excited to make more, but only one.

It is: The Mug Rug.

Here it is in action, even! She took it to work and it found a happy home snuggled up with a matching mug. :o)

The "mug rug" is supposed to be a little piece of quilty, handmade heaven on your desk or table, large enough for a cuppa and a cookie. Mine was 9x6, but I think I'll make future ones larger. Maybe 10x7.

Oh, right. Back to the swap. So she gave me the aqua and orange fabrics, and I added the Kona Ivory. All the binding was from her scraps, too.

Here's the back. You can see my machine stitching and my hand stitching.
Scrap Swap MR - MP Mug Rug 2

So, we got the scraps at the September LAMQG meeting, and brought back our finished projects to the October LAMQG meeting, which also happened to be the ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!  Which would have been tons of fun anyways, but I really think the fun and the commaraderie and the family-feel was heightened by the fact that those of us who participated got to give and receive gifts! Presents are very important at anniversary parties, right? :o)  Honestly. I wish I could go back and record the entire thing because there were squeals of delight, and there were hugs, and there were "oh my goodness"es and there was just a HUGE SHOW of amazing creativity. When I cooked up the idea, I had NO IDEA how fabulous everyone's creations would be! We had pillows, pillow covers, mini quilts, table runners, aprons, oven mitts, stuffed animals, shopping bags, (What else? I've forgotten what else we had!). What an amazing group of people we have here. I've said it before, and I'll say it again...I'm standing among giants in that room.

From my scraps, I got to bring home an little quilt for Sprout that is awe to the SOME!! from Eliza. It's got the colors of the rainbow in it, and soft, snuggly minkee on the back. Sprout was so excited she promptly spit up on it. Of course. I'll post a picture next week, I hope! :o)

Sprout also received an award for perfect attendance...she's the only member that has been to every meeting since she was born. :o) The guild members all love her, and she loves them. (And so do I! Very much so do I!)

I hope you have a great week!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Delightful Delovely Desserts

In a statement that will come as a surprise to, um, no one...I'm a bit over-committed right now. There is a large pile of want tos and a large pile of need tos and I'm having a really hard time tackling either pile.

One of the things in my want to pile is my virtual quilt bee (see button on the right) (I love my bee girlies!). This bee has challenged me in ways I honestly did not concieve. I had NO CLUE what I was getting myself into! :o)  And, frankly, my other bee girls had no clue that I had no clue, and I'm sure they're dreading my presence in the bee! :o)  But, they allowed me to join, and each month I'm given a pile of fabric, and someone else's vision, and asked to contribute to their quilt.

It's fun. Really!  I want to do more!  But not right now. :o)

Now, way, way back in July, Queen Bee Lori gave us some lovely fabrics from Anna Maria Horner's Little Folks collection and asked us to make dessert blocks for her. Her only stipulations were that the blocks be finished to 14", and that the dessert be on a pedastal.

Well, I was stumped. STUMPED, I tell ya!  I went around and around and around and couldn't come up with anything that I thought I could do. I looked on Flickr, but there aren't any other dessert quilt blocks on there! Lori's a trend-setter, that's for sure. :o)  So, left to my own dessert-related experiences, I thought of an ice cream sundae. I thought of a lollipop (Oops! No pedastal!) I thought of a good, straight-out-of-the-south 6-layer cake. I was beginning to feel like I could do it.

And then?  All my other Bee Happy bees started putting their blocks on our little Flickr group site. And they were ri-DI-culously crazy/awesome. We had cupcakes, we had hand-embroidered mice nibbling on the crumbs, we had ric-rac. We had it all, and then some. And I instantly became a little quilting turtle and tucked my empty head inside my shell and tried to hide.

So, after a few tear-filled pity-parties, I decided to gracefully bow out. I went to Lori and told her that now was a really bad time for me emotionally, creatively, mentally, and physically (duh!), and I handed her fabric back to her and said that I was really sorry, but I wouldn't be able to complete the blocks on time, and it was probably better for her if I didn't do them at all.

In another statement that will come as a surprise to, um, no one...she looked at me like I was a looney bird, and pushed the fabrics back into my hands. She very gently and gracefully told me that whatever I decided to do for her blocks would be awesome and wonderful. She assured me that she wasn't going to compare my blocks to anyone else's, thus loving them any less. And then she told me to go away.

Really, she did. With a smile, of course. :o)

So I started brainstorming for ideas again. I wanted to create at least one block that said something about me. Somehow. This block had to be meaningful to me.  And since most desserts are meaningful (ahem), I had to rethink. What desserts were meaningful to me, but were executable? The British "sticky toffee pudding" would be a huge, beigey blob...not so pretty in a quilt. The ice cream sundae would require too many circles. I couldn't figure out how to depict a slice taken out of the 6-layer cake. Hmmm...then I remembered something. For our LA MQG Quiltini party at Lauren's house, I brought a strawberry and something-or-other trifle, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

At that point, I knew I had "it". My block. The one that was meaningful to me. The trifle. It's symmetrical, it's colorful, it's meaningful, it's executable. It's decided.

So I got my pencil and graph paper, and started to design the quilt block. Next I got my scraps and got to work making a sample block. Boy, howdy, am I glad I did that!!  It's not that I made a ton of mistakes, it's just that I was able to realize where I had guestimated wrong, and how to correct for that. It also allowed me to figure out how to sew angles into a strip. Had I had some sort of instruction, that part might have been easier...but winging it? Wasn't easy! :o) Anyway, a month later, I completed my sample block.

Trifle, Anyone?

Then I decided to applique a couple of strawberries on top, but they didn't make it into the picture. :o)  Ain't it purty!?

I love the fact that I learned how to successfully create another one, because I was READY! I had been through so much to get to the point where I was ready to start on the actual block, you know? And here I was, fabric in one hand, measurements in the other, ready to...stop. I was tired. :o) Tired of the trifle, tired of the lines, tired of the piecing. Tired.

So I decided to make the other block, instead! :o)  I spent a little time, and figured out how to make the southern layer cake, but without all the angles and strips and stresses. I made it wonky, and I made it soft and squishy, and I made it with a rough-edge applique. I made it. Block #1 was done. D-U-N done, I tell ya!

Lori's (Bee) Dessert Block #2

And all from the fabrics she gave me. I love it! :o)

High on my success, I was ready to start the actual trifle for Lori. The fabrics were cut, the iron was hot, and I was ready to go. Strips in the middle, side walls, pedastal, side whites, dollop on top, done.  I honestly completed this block in about 1/10th the time it took me to create and complete the sampler!! :o)

And I love it! LOVE!! IT!!!

Lori's (bee) Dessert Block #1

My two dessert blocks strategically placed on the seats of a couple of old ice cream social chairs.
Lori's Dessert Quilt Blocks

Mmmm...I'm thinking I need to have a bowl of something sweet...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Whole Lotta Lovin'

I know this blog is about my sewing adventures, but I've been distracted from my sewing these last few days.

Any locals need a little extra love in your life?

I found this little guy running down a rather busy street the other day, and have been trying with all my might to reunite him with his humans! It seems, though, that either his humans don't want to be found, or he's a true-blue stray.

But folks, let me just tell you this. He's a LOVAH! He is extremely friendly (unless you're a cat), is afraid of trash cans (aren't we all?) and won't eat or chew on a rawhide unless I'm right there with him. Goofy guy. I don't know much, but I think he's a terrier mix, and I think he's young based on his actions and his teeth. I think he weighs between 20 and 25 pounds, and is about knee-high.

This is a pretty pathetic picture of him, but I didn't take too many, and wanted to show you his whole self. Doesn't he look happy-go-lucky? No? Hah...that would be the photographer's fault, not the dog's. :o) He's a tail-wagger, he is.

He's great on a leash, and is pretty tame around tame big people and tame 2 year olds, and he is jubilant around 8 year old boys. We've got a great back yard here, but, unfortunately for him, he is slippery and unless you're out there with him, he likes to slip out through the gap under the gate. Which, now that you mention it, might explain why he doesn't have a home!

When we do play in the backyard, we pretty much just run in circles. He will go after a ball, but won't bring it back or even pick it up and run with it. Mookie runs around squealing and laughing because she thinks he's chasing her. And when the neighbor's boy was over, the dog pretty much just licked the boy to pieces. Who needs a bath when you've got that kind of all-over cleaning treatment?

Since he doesn't stay in the backyard, and since I've already got a house full of girls I have to care for, he's been relegated to a crate in the garage. Poor guy. I feel terrible for him, but he barkbarkbarkbarkbarks when he can see us, and is quiet (mostly, sorta, kinda) when he's in the dark garage. Now, I'm a fan of crate-training a dog, make no mistake, but I don't like the idea of him being in the crate 24 hours a day besides walks. That's just not fair to him. So, when it's quiet inside (like right now), I let him out of the crate and hang out with him in the garage. He walks around a bit, sniffing things, then settles down and eats or chews on his rawhide.

Aww...when he lays down, he splays his back legs out behind him. I love that in a dog, don't you?

And, for all you out there who think he was MEANT TO come home with me, I would like you to stop. Look around your house. Look at your yard. Look at the next few months on your calendar. Do you have 2 wee ones to care for? And two aging cats? And a yard that doesn't hold this dog? And a move in 2 months (yes)? No? Well, God, The Universe, and Bob Barker may all have conspired to "give" me this dog, but they will need to reconvene because he is NOT staying here.

So again I ask you...anyone want some extra lovin' in their life?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Fatter and Thinner

Fatter and thinner. My fabric stash and my wallet, respectively. :o)

My friend, Tess, and I took a trip up to Michael Levine's fabric store in the garment district in LA on Saturday. (Then we went to Nickel Diner for lunch, and so that I could stuff myself silly, and then could die a happy woman.)

They had a sale. (Michael Levine's, not Nickel Diner.)

Need I say more? No sales tax (which, in LA, is 9.75%, so that's a good sale!) AND they had some Alexander Henry, some Joel Dewberry, some Michael Miller and some Robert Kaufman on sale for $3.00 a yard. Yes, three dollars. How could I pass that up??

So, without further ado, here's is what came home with me!

Punctuation alphabet panel. There was a bit of a cutting failure with this. I asked the cutter to give me one repeat (about 2/3 of a yard), and she did, however...she cut the "repeat" in the wrong place! Oh, not happy! I can make good of it, though. My plan was to make a little play mat/blanket with it, and maybe get another panel and make beanbags out of each letter so that Mookie and Sprout can match the beanbag with the letter on the blanket. Sooo...I guess I'll be making the beanbags out of the improperly cut panel, and I'll order another panel online and hope to get it right! :o) It's really too cute to not use in a million ways, though, isn't it?! :o)
Punctuation Panel

Sweet Tooth. I got this for some crafts I want to make at Christmas time (haha...maybe Christmas 2011??), but also because I have two girlies and cupcake fabric will always be handy to have around. :o) Plus, it was $3. Nuffsaid.

Kawaii Asian. I just loved the colors. And the design. And each yard was $3. It will live in my stash.
Kawaii Asian

Dill Blossom. It's not really this fuzzy in real life, I just took a bad picture and didn't want to go through the hassle of taking it back out and taking another picture. Sorry. These will go in my stash, and it was only $3/yd, and I love both designs and colors.
Dill Blossom

London Calling. Which makes me giggle because, well, this doesn't make me think of London at all! It makes me think of Liberty of London prints, and I'm kinda thinking Robert Kaufman was trying to jump on that lucrative bandwagon. I like the color combination and the design, though, so I splurged. $3. Big splurge. :o)
London  Calling

Toyland. In darling pink. Because (a) I have 2 darling pink girls at home, (b) it was $3, and (c) do you see those wee little deerlings? And the wee little squirrels and birdies on the wee little mushrooms? Too cute!

Fancy Hill Farm. Purty, ain't it? This is for a quilt for lovely lady who may or may not still read my blogs. Since I don't know, I'm gonna keep mum till I make it and give it to her. I will say it's something I've wanted to do for a while, and I have a good reason to make one for her, but the fabric selection has gone through a few changes. While I love this fabric, it's not something I would choose for me, and I'm pretty sure the LA MQG would kick me out for being too non-modern, but I know she'll love it and use it, which is the point! :o)
Fancy Hill Farm

Panache. I just liked this. I even paid full price for it. The colors do not read right in this picture AT ALL! It's just really pretty in real life.

Thea Lime. I love the bigness of the flowers, and I love the white/black/yellow/lime combination. Alexander Henry also does this in pink, which I love almost as much. :o)
Thea Lime

Brown Bear, Brown Bear flannel. This is to make a receiving blanket/burp cloth combination for a friend who, darn her, isn't finding out the gender of the baby. But it's bright and happy and I can get an Eric Carle book to go along with the gift.
Brown Bear flannel

Yellows. I'm part of a rainbow hexie swap where we all contribute one color of the rainbow (mine is yellow). Good yellows are hard to find! Wanna join us? We've got 3 more slots...let me know if you do, and I'll hook you up with Yolanda.

Boabab flannel. (sigh). I am on a never-ending quest for the backing for my best friend's baby quilt, which I'm really hoping to finish before lil Jack gets married, I'm SO far behind! I've finished the top (hallelujah!) (pictures soon), but now? The back. Sigh. I have hemmed and hawed over the backing for months. I've bought a few different pieces of fabric, and just haven't felt that any of them were right. Then I found this! I bought it thinking the flannel might be a good backing, soft and snuggly, modern and funky, etc. I told the cutter that I would like 1 3/4 yards, and she repeated it back to me. One and three-quarter yards. Yes. I saw her measure at the 3/4 yard point and grab it with her fingers, and I (mistakenly) thought she was going to move it over and measure another yard, so I turned away. That was my mistake.(I should know better because I've had cutting problems there, before. Apparently, I'm the only one, though!) When I got home, I pulled it out, and lo-and-behold, there was only 3/4 of a yard. No yard and. Just 3/4. I can't back a 40x50" quilt with a piece of flannel that is 24x42"!  Grrr...and so I search another day...
Orange flannel

Kona Solids for my Urban Circus. A week, or so, ago, I got an email from Sew Fresh Fabrics saying that I won a fat quarter bundle of Laurie Wisbrun's new line called Urban Circus. I was superdy-duperdy excited, of course. So much so that I took time away from other things to design a quilt or two! :o) Needless to say, I was even more excited when the little package came in the mail on Friday and I could pick the solids I needed when I went to Michael Levine's! I used my Kona Color Card to pick 3 solids per quilt for the backing, and I'm going with Peridot, Corn, and Medium Pink for the Spring colorway, and Peridot, Caribbean (heart!) and Chocolate (which is in the picture, but hard to see) for the Earth colorway. Sadly, MLs didn't have the pink or the peridot, so I have to order those online. But isn't it fun and perfect for a baby quilt?
Urban Circus

Aaaaannnnnddddd...there you have it. The fatter stash and skinnier wallet. You may now have your life back. Good-bye. :o)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mookie's Helping, Too

I discovered that Brady's Smile will send get well posters along with their "comfort bags". The program is called Crayons n' Care, and they encourage kids of all ages to make a mini-poster for children in the ICU. (I don't believe these actually go with the blankets for babies in the NICU, but it's a question I will ask.)

As I make blankets in lieu of a gift, I'm thinking of asking the birthday boy/girl to make a mini-poster to send along with the blanket. Depending on the child's age and maturity level, I think it will help the child to connect a bit with the blanket and donation. What do you think?

I was hoping Mookie would color in the outlined letters (hah!), but when she wasn't interested in that, I just let her doodle, then gave her some stickers and let her go to town.

And to town she went! And back again! The girl loves her stickers. :o) (I didn't realize that sticker-love was a genetically inherited trait, but apparently it is!)

That's it for us - I'm hoping to get a few done this, only if my 2 will cooperate and leave me to my sewing...

Hope you have a great weekend!

Friday, August 13, 2010

For 100 Babies

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my friend, Katy, about how to bind a blanket. See, she had a friend who was turning 30, and her friend asked that instead of giving her gifts, she wanted everyone to make a blanket for Project Linus, which gives blankets to babies that need them. Her friend wanted 30 blankets for her birthday. Awesome idea, isn't it? I mentioned to her that I help some ladies from my church make little quilts for a couple of local NICU units, and explained how we make them. We finished our conversation, and went about our way.

Over the course of the past few weeks, though, the notion of giving blankets instead of presents has been stirring in my brain (which has vast amounts of open space right now). I've given blankets to Brady's Smile before, and meet monthly at church to make 45 blankets for the local babies, so it's nothing new to me, really, but I really feel like I need to do something more. Also, I know of quite a few littles having birthdays over the next few weeks, and they all have PLENTY of toys. Pah-Len-Ty.

So rather than give them a gift and add to their toy stash, I've come up with a plan. My plan is to personally donate 100 baby blankets over the course of the next year. I'm not going to include the ones I make at church because that would be cheating. :o) If I did that, I would meet my goal in just a few months! And I want it to mean something more to me. I need it to be a real challenge. (And it's not like I don't have enough crafting challenges on my dining room table already!)

And I'm going to start my clock ticking from August 8th. My sweet friend, Megan, has an adorable little boy who turned 2 on August 8th, and I'm going to be sending a blanket in Peabody's name to either Brady's Smile or Project Linus. And my next door neighbor's two sons are having a birthday party tomorrow. I'm going to give each of them a small gift, and give their mom a note saying that I'll be donating a blanket for each of them.

I'm not going to do anything complicated...believe you me, I've got complicated and over-committed coming out my eardrums right now! For now, I'm just going to make fleece bow-tie blankets like I made for Sprout. And I'm going to figure out a way to keep track of how many I've donated right here on my blog. Somehow. Any ideas?

Anyone want to play along? After these birthdays, there's Christmas. And Valentine's Day. And Easter. And Mother's Day and Father's Day and July 4th. :o) I know I can donate 100. Can you?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rainbows and Stars

I finally started sewing my Bee Happy Bee blocks again. It took a little while to settle into our routine as a family of four, ya know?

I finally finished my May blocks for Alison (in July! Eep!). She asked us to make Liberated Wedding Ring blocks, which is a design by Gwen Marston. Alison gave us the scraps and some white solids, and asked us to make two blocks, and make them as scrappy and "liberated" as we wanted to. :o)

I took a while to start these because I, well, my brain freezes at the thought of lots of scraps floating around on my table. Plus, I knew I had to match points. Matching corners is tough, but matching points? Yuck!  Thankfully, Alison gave us a bit of grace and said the only points that mattered were where the colored strips came together, not necessarily the one in the middle. Whew!

For my first block, I did my best to arrange the scraps in a rainbow fashion, and sew all 4 sides in that order. For my second block, I put all the scraps into a big bowl, and literally reached in, pulled a scrap out and sewed it down. Reached in, pulled another scrap out, sewed it down. Totally randomly.

Next came the tricky part. Putting the 4 smaller blocks together into a "ring." (and matching the points, ahem). I chose to sew the "random" ring together first, so I put two smaller blocks together, made sure the points would match, and sewed. I got the other two smaller blocks and sewed them together. Then I took the two halves, carefully pinned so the points would match, and stitch-stitch-stitched it all together. My points matched, it looked really good, and the heavens rejoiced with me!

The random block:
Alison's #1 Bee Block

All high on my own confidence and abilities, I grabbed the remaining 4 small blocks, laid them out to make the rainbow effect, and realized I had a wee problem. Rainbow, rainbow, rainbow, random. What? Wait a minute! How did I get a random side? I'm supposed accidentally sewed one of my "rainbow" strips to my "random" block. My block that had perfectly matched points. My block that I toiled over. Dangit.

I quickly took pictures and emailed Alison and asked what I should do. Should I rip it out (please, NO!), or should I just sew on?

Thankfully, she told me to sew on. Whew! More grace! Here's a picture of the rainbow and the random:

Alison's #1 Bee Block

Alison's blocks side-by-side:
Alison's Bee Blocks

If I hadn't told you about my error, you wouldn't have noticed it, right? Plus, Alison said, and I agree, that those kinds of things make the quilt's story, give the quilt character, you know? That's my job! Add character to the quilt.  :o)

Here is a picture of the blocks she had (mine weren't done yet) at our July LAMQG meeting. You can see that she wants to have some separation between the blocks so they look more like rings and less like a lattice. It's going to be beautiful when she finishes it!

Next up? June!

The June blocks were for Blossom. She gave us (perfectly) precut 4" squares of the solid tan, and a mixture of Denyse Schmidt's Hope Valley line. Frankly, I found that line to be boring and drab before I got my paws on it. Now, I love it! It's a lot brighter when the pieces are mixed together, I think. She asked that we make "wonky star" blocks, and I was intimidated. Again. Always intimidated by these Bee Happy Bee blocks! First the spiderweb, then the liberated wedding ring, now this? I know I joined this bee hoping to have fun, and learn some new stuff and build my confidence...and that's all happening, but it's more challenging than I thought it would be! Good challenging. Pushing-me-out-of-myself challenging. But my confidence level when sewing is pretty low, and so, because of my fear, I tend to stall and procrastinate and delay rather than dive right in and figure my way out. 

As a member of the LA Modern Quilt Guild, I can participate in the monthly sew-alongs. When I prepared to go to the July one, I decided to work on Blossom's blocks. What better way to complete an intimidating project than surrounded by 13 people who are WAY more talented than you, right? I mean, I had experts all around me, and, believe you me, I used them! :o) I think I only finished one block, but I learned enough (and built my confidence enough!) to come home and finish all 4.

Here is a (poor) picture of all 4 blocks sitting next to each other. As per my usual quilting behavior, I goofed one up just a smidge, but it's hard to find (even though it jumps right out at me!)

Blossom's Bee Blocks_June_

I'm excited to see what Blossom's final quilt looks like! You can see other blocks on our Bee Happy Flickr site. (Warning: you'll have to go back a bit since I was late to the party! You will notice my next source of severe intimidation and quilter's-block...Lori asked us to make dessert blocks! And the blocks the other Bees are making are STUPENDOUS!)

Regardless of my intimidation and fear, I really love being a part of making quilts with other people. Plus, at the end of the year, I can say that I've made 13 quilts, right? Just not all by myself! :o)

August is my month, so I need to get my fabric cut and packaged and ready for our LAMQG August meeting...they're going to be making a quilt for Sprout's new room!

And speaking of Sprout, I hear her starting to stir...have a great week!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Are You An Addict, Too?

I'm over at Aunt Spicy's place today, talking about my addiction, and talking about how humbling and incredibly awesome it is to be a member of the LA Modern Quilt Guild.

You should head on over there. Plus, there's a cute picture, or two, of my little Sproutling. :o)

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Going Random

I was very deliberate when I was making Alison's first Liberated Wedding Ring block, but for the second? I'm going random. Improv at it's best. I hope it turns out because strip piecing doesn't leave much room for error. I've learned that the hard way. :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Emerging from The Deep

...I think.

I'm slowly spending more and more time with needle and thread -- whether it's at my machine, or hand stitching something. I can only spend about 10 minutes at a time, but at least I'm getting my fix. :o)

Here is a sweet little project I made for a friend's new baby. I'm also going to make a rocket (his dad is a rocket scientist, too), and maybe one with a Fourth of July theme. The package of 5 solid color onesies came from Target, and I'm just using scrap fabric. It's a SHORT and SWEET present to go along with the requisite diapers and wipes I'll be gifting. :o)

And here is the tutorial for that:

(ETA: Here's a picture of the rocket ship onesie)

I finally finished a couple of blocks for my Bee Happy virtual quilting bee. Yay me! I finished Leslie's April blocks. In JUNE. Nice of me to be so prompt, eh? I did ask, and she gave me a bit of grace, seeings how I just had a baby. :o)

Now I've got to get on with making Alison's (scary-hard) May blocks. And Blossom's June blocks. And then, very soon, Lori will give us the fabric for our July blocks...sigh. And there is also a little birthday present I'm working on for Kelly.  Plus, I would like to find the motivation to finish the baby quilt for my best friend...who probably doesn't feel much like my best friend these days :o)

I guess I'll just eat this elephant one bite at a time, and try not to add too many more projects to my to-do list! I am enjoying the process, and enjoying the work, and enjoying what I'm learning...I just wish I could do it more. :o)

Hope you have a great, and crafty, week!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sprout is OUT!!

So, yeah. Everything went pretty quick yesterday. Aww, who am I kidding. It went like a ROCKET!! Man!

When last I blogged, I had progressed from 1 cm to 10 cm in about 3 hours. And two of those hours were spent progressing without proper medication numbing my lower extremities. THAT was not fun. Holy cow. May God bless that second anesthesiologist richly. Is all I have to say. :o)

My OB got there, and got all suited up about 10:30, we got Dave holding one leg, the nurse holding the other, and I commensed to pushing. I think it was harder this time, pushing the baby out, than it was with Mookie, but she came out quicker. With Mookie, I pushed through 4 contractions, and with Sprout, I only pushed through 3. It took about the same amount of time, but it was just a smidge different. :o) And...

Sprout was born at 10:48am, and weighed 6 pounds, 7 ounces, and was 19.5 inches long.

A few minutes after birth

The proud Papa

My friend Emily came to the hospital Monday night to take pictures.
This is MAGICAL!!

Sweet sister smooch

A family of four.

Sweet Cherub Cheeks
(awesome quilt made by Kelly)

Mommy and baby (and Papa) are doing fine. We all got a bit of sleep last night, which was luxurious. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for more of the same tonight.

But for now, I've got to go fight with Dave for some snuggle time. He is Mr Grabby Hands with her. It's almost as bad as trying to pry the remote out of his hands!