Jumping the Gun

In the Studio | Dec 2013

I’m trying to get ahead of my New Year’s resolution to organize by starting before this year is even over.  How is that for motivated? My sewing room had gotten so messy that I didn’t even want to be in there. What’s a quilter to do? One word: destash. That mountain of fabric below is all from my latest destash sale on Instagram. It looks like a lot (and it is, let’s be honest) but I still feel like I could have purged a bit more. I’ll save it for the next sale, I suppose.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

Now my studio is about 75% tidy…I still don’t have room for all of my fabric so some is in bins on my sewing table but that will probably always be the case.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

I can live with that. It reminds me to sew faster!

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{Those bins are from IKEA in case you’re wondering.}

I added a bit of decoration while I was cleaning up…hanging up some old things that were just taking up room in drawers.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

And these putting out these cute new tins…

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{available here}

I don’t have anything in them yet but I  could not resist the vintage look. They’re from a company called Now Designs that also makes a few other retro-styled items for the home, like these tea + coffee tins.

All of this cleaning up is very motivating and I have lots of new projects tumbling around in my brain. Fabulous fabric combinations are everywhere.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{Lush Uptown + Botanics = YES YES YES! Just ignore the Urban Cowgirl bundle on the lower left.}

In the Studio | Dec 2013

{April Showers + Color Me Happy = Made for Each Other}

Ice Storm 2013

We had an ice storm just after Thanksgiving and you’d think that would be the perfect opportunity to sew but I hardly did. Four days in the house was rough on all of us but especially my Christmas quilt. It was peed on twice so I had to wash it. In the middle of quilting. With the safety pins in it and everything.

In the Studio | Dec 2013

It came out just fine and I’m almost done quilting it but I’ve now marked the whole dang thing twice. Horrid dogs.

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

Christmas Wreath

Yes, it really is December already. My door says so.

And he’s going to be here very soon. It seems like Thanksgiving stole a little bit of Christmas thunder waiting until three days before December to make an appearance. I still have pumpkins on my front porch (but there’s a wreath on the door!) I’m actually hoping the squirrels will polish off the pumpkins as they’ve been slowly eating them up since October.

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

Tree lighting at Casa Linda

I have been pretty consumed with projects. I’m actually a little bit panicky that 2014 is so close because I could use a bit more of 2013, please. Just two or ten more weeks.

Christmas Lights

Two very fun things are happening this week that will be a nice distraction – First, the Dallas MQG monthly meeting + ornament swap + cookie exchange. That is always such a fun meeting and um, cookies! Second, there is a Moda Holiday “Pin” Party tomorrow. There’s a party here in Dallas plus an online event for everyone else. We are all going to bring a yummy recipe from Pinterest and chat and share holiday pretty/tasty/fun ideas. I’m sure I’ll blog about it but you can definitely see what we’re doing on my Instagram feed. I need to Pinterest some hair and outfit ideas!

Tutorial: Fabric Waterfall

VMQ-layer-cake-waterfall-coverI have a SUPER SIMPLE tutorial on the Moda Bake Shop today. That cute little fabric bundle above was created using a layer cake but I normally do this with fat quarters. (Never Moda fat quarters because they are already perfectly folded and bundled!)

I call this a fat quarter waterfall. My two-year-old said ‘brella (for umbrella) when he saw it so it could be called an fabric umbrella, too. To make one from a fat quarter bundle, fold the fat quarters in thirds on the long side (21″ side). Then fold that 21″ long strip in half.  Lay the folded fat quarters and top of each other and fan them out so about 1/4″ to 1/2″ of each one shows. Then roll them up and tie with a ribbon. Fold over a corner of each fat quarter to create the waterfall look:

20130802-DSC_2702

Pretty, right?

I’m Thankful Sale!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! I’ve been so thrilled and overwhelmed by your support of my new pattern company. You guys are the best. To celebrate the holiday and say thank you to all of my readers, I’m offering my digital patterns at 30% through midnight on Monday. Just use coupon code TURKEYDAY at checkout.

sale-ad-turkeydayBrowse my patterns {here}.

For the Love of Sewing

You guys! Have you seen what Alyssa over at Pile O Fabric has going on? She’s launching a website for online sewing classes called the Pile O Fabric Sewing Room and the first offering is round 2 of her uber popular skill builder BOM (block of the month) series. I met Alyssa through the Moda Bake Shop and was pretty drooly over her cute website when I realized she does web design. The realization happened at the exact moment in time when my good friend Michelle was looking for someone to design her new website for Urban Spools. Fate. Alyssa also designed websites for the MQG, Lucky Spool, West Coast Crafty, and the brand-spanking-new home of Westwood Acres fabric shop. Alyssa has had so much awesome going on this past year that I honestly can’t see how she did it all. (Time travel?)

But I’m glad she did because I am in love with this project. The theme of this year’s BOM is “For the Love of Sewing.”

Gah! The cuteness! I’m five months into the Gypsy Wife BOM and it’s making me a little bit obsessed with the BOM concept. It’s a fun way to work on a quilt a little bit at a time. And it fits in perfectly with all of the other bazillion projects I have sewing on (see what I did there?).

I’m signing up for this BOM and picking my fabric this week because it’s too cold to do anything I would normally be doing. (If you live up north, do not even Google what the weather is down here in Dallas because you will probably be disgusted. By my wimpiness. ‘Cause it’s not even cold enough to snow.)

You can sign up for the cutest BOM known to woman {here}.

Quilting Snowflakes

A couple of weeks ago I whipped up a Christmas version of Camille Roskelley’s cute new Puddle Jumping pattern. The whole time I was making it, I pictured snowflakes as the quilting. I got busy and didn’t get around to basting it until this weekend and then I jumped right in with the quilting.

Quilting Snowflakes

I came up with a simple snowflake design and used a quarter, jar lid, and a ruler to mark it on the quilt. It’s not fast quilting but it’s not dense so I can easily do a couple of blocks in one sitting. But now I’m second guessing myself. Can you even tell it’s a snowflake? Is it worth it to do such an intricate design when I could have finished the whole top in stipples in just a few hours?

Quilting Snowflakes

Quilting Snowflakes

You can see the quilting a little better on the back:

Quilting Snowflakes

Quilting Snowflakes

Should I continue with the snowflakes or tear it out and do something simpler?

Classic Modern Quilts WINNERS!

Thanks to everyone who commented on the Classic Modern Quilts giveaway post. It was really fun to read all of your quilting fantasies. Many of you had big dreams like a long arm or dedicated sewing space but several of you wanted simpler things like time to sew or to be able to free motion quilt. I also read wishes for unlimited fabric, too….who doesn’t want that one?!

Now time to announce the winners. First up, a copy of the book from KC Stars Quilts goes to….

classic-modern-quilts-coverComment #141  from Sherry

I love how your quilt is arranged with so much negative space! Quilt fantasy = a quilting room complete with the latest machines, a long arm, a real cutting table a design board, natural lights everywhere. Oh well, I’ll keep dreaming.

And the winner of the mini quilt is…

2013-11-11_1384201531Comment #48 from Christina

I believe my quilt dream would be to have a sewing room designed specifically for quilting. Everything would be organized and up to date. Unlike my messy sewing room now.

Thanks to everyone for participating and I wish I had more prizes to giveaway.

Tutorial: Simple Holiday Napkins

{If you’re here for the Classic Modern Quilts blog tour, hop down to this post}

Tutorial: Simple Holiday Napkins

These simple napkins are the perfect way to dress up your table during the holidays (or make a set as a hostess gift). I got into the habit of making a set of cloth napkins every six months or so as a way to reduce my fabric stash. We use them instead of paper products and it add some color and cuteness to the table at every meal. Plus. it’s far less wasteful!

VMQ-simple-holiday-napkins-1This sunflower print was on the seasonal sale rack at JoAnn’s. It’s not often that I find good fabric there but I’ve been on a winning streak lately. This print is called Autumn Inspirations Fabric – Harvest Sunflowers. The orange dot is from my stash – not sure who makes it but its several years old.

To make a set of 12 napkins, you will need:

  • 1¾  yards of seasonal fabric
  • 1¾ yards coordinating fabric for backing
  • Coordinating thread
  • 14½” square ruler*
  • Marking pencil

*NOTE: I cut my napkins to  14½” square because it fits three across 44″ wide fabric.  Standard napkins are generally 17″ x 17″ or 20″ x 20″ . I did not pre-wash my fabrics and had minimal shrinking but if you’re giving these as a gift, pre-wash so you can be confident that they will still look nice once the recipient washes them.

Remove selvedges and starch and press fabric. Using the 14½” ruler, cut 12 squares each from seasonal print and backing fabric (a total of 24 squares). Cut carefully to fit three napkins across the width of fabric. Pair the fronts and backs into 12 sets. With right sides together, sew a 1/4″ seam around each pair of squares, leaving a 3″ to 4″ opening. Use the opening to turn the napkin right side out. Press seams and fold raw edges of opening under to match sewn edge. Pin in place and top-stitch around entire napkin.

VMQ-simple-holiday-napkins-5Using a fabric marker, measure 5″ from the top edge of each napkin and mark a line. I used a black Frixxion pen and you can see the line in the photo below. The line turned white on my dark fabric instead of disappearing so take care when using Frixxion pens on dark fabrics.

VMQ-simple-holiday-napkins-6Pick a favorite decorative stitch (I used stitch number 133 on my Bernina if you happen to have the same machine.) and sew it along each side of the marked line across the width of the napkin. I sewed a top-stitch line down the Frixxion mark to cover it up, too (see white mark in photo below before I sewed over it)

VMQ-simple-holiday-napkins-3Using your presser foot as a guide, top-stitch around each napkin again, 1/4″ away from the first top-stitch line. This will lock stitch your decorative stitches without you having to tie off each end.

Makes 12 napkins measuring 14″ finished.  Easy as pie!

Vintage Darling

{If you’re here for the Classic Modern Quilts blog tour, hop down to this post}

Vintage Darling

How is it that I haven’t blogged about this quilt?! It has all of the elements I love in a vintage quilt: quirky fabrics, faded colors, irregular block and fabric placement, and PINK and AQUA and RED and really, ALL OF THE COLORS. I’m an equal opportunity color lover. {Except purple.}

Vintage Darling

The block is a nine-patch variation that I’ve seen mostly referred to as a Glorified 9-Patch.  I can just see two quilters at a show scoffing at something hanging on the wall and saying, “Ugh. It’s a glorified 9-patch.” Right after they point out the wavy borders and lack of contrast in the fabric choices. (these imaginary ladies are not very nice, are they?!)  The word glorified sounds insulting to me so I prefer the less-frequently-used name: Improved 9-Patch. So much nicer, right?

This is a block to make with templates, for sure. Here’s a {link} for a free pattern if you want to make your own.

Vintage Darling

This one mainly stays folded up because I know my husband finds old textiles kind of icky, even after washing. I’m surprised he was willing to hold it for photos, frankly. ;)

I can’t find fault with his squickiness because that same icky feeling is the reason I don’t own any vintage clothing. For several years I was in search of a vintage winter white coat, 3/4 length with a fur collar (much like this one). I found the perfect one at a darling little vintage store in Houston and was trying it out, preening in front of the mirror, and feeling like I’d met the love of my life. Then I stuck my hands in the pocket and found an old, well-used tissue. My love for the coat died instantly.

That was about 10 years ago and I think if it happened today I could overlook the tissue and just have it laundered.  I’m wise enough to own vintage these days.

Dimensions: 68″ x  82″

Guesstimated Era:  1950s

Condition: Good, one or two small tears in piecing

Piecing: By hand, Improved 9-Patch block

Quilting:  By hand, Baptist Fan

Binding: Edge-turned

What I Paid: $75

Where I Found It: City View Antiques | Dallas, Texas

Around the Studio

{If you’re here for the Classic Modern Quilts blog tour, hop down to this post}

Studio Scenes

I’m sewing a little bit every day – mostly new projects and some little holiday things. It’s all very erratic and unfocused because I’ve quit using my planner and stopped making lists. Those two things are key for me to be productive.

Studio Scenes

But I’m okay with not “getting things done” right now. This time of year is made for just coasting along and enjoying the moments.

Studio Scenes

I’m sewing up pinwheel blocks and ordering fabric for an hourglass quilt top. A just-for-fun project.

Studio Scenes

I flip through these two books almost daily. And I think about buying this book just as often.

Studio Scenes

I’m leaving broken toys sitting about until I come across the right glue to fix them. It will just come to me, I know it. ;)

Bad Dogs

I’m even laughing at my naughty dogs.

Bad Dogs

What else can you do, though? I love them, good or bad. Moose’s punishment was wearing that moose costume. And Will is too tenderhearted to be punished. All I had to do was show him the basket he peed on and he hung his head in shame.

What do things look like around your studio? If anyone is sewing up holiday projects, link up in the comments. I’d love to see them!