Page Buttons

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Taking a Little Break

I kind of feel like I've been coasting a little with my blog since right before Thanksgiving.  I just haven't had the time to read and comment on as many blogs as I normally do, and my sewing has been mostly limited to small projects to finish up Christmas gifts.

Anyway, we're in the holiday home stretch, and I'm pretty sure I just cannot cram one more thing into these next couple of weeks.  Aside from all of the holiday hoopla, tomorrow also happens my 15th wedding anniversary!    The weeks will be filled with wonderful things, but a full plate, nonetheless.

                                                       Needle and Thread Thursday

So, all this is to say that Needle and Thread Thursday will be taking a two week break.  Don't worry though!  I'll be back on Thursday, January 2nd.  If you're like me, you're just waiting for your days off to steal a few extra minutes of sewing time, and I hope you'll share it then!

I wish you all the happiest Christmas ever, and a wonderful New Year.  I hope you are able to share it with loved ones.  And maybe...just maybe if you've been very good this year, I hope Santa brings you all of your fabric wishes!  Catch you in 2014!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

One More Quilt Before Christmas

Recently, I got a sewing machine with a special history.  It's an Elna 6003 Quilter's Dream, and was purchased brand new by my great aunt when they were first introduced.  The machine made only a few quilts before my aunt passed away, and the machine has been sitting in the closet of one of her daughters ever since.  I rarely see that side of my family, so I don't think they realized that I was such an avid quilter until I started posting my finished quilts with blog links to facebook.  To make a long story short, the machine was offered to me, and as a "thank you" I am making a quilt.

My grandmother ended up with almost all of her sister's stash when she passed away, and she asked if I would like to choose from her fabrics for the quilt.  I only added a few fabrics from my own stash to balance the colors a little bit.  Although the fabrics are more traditional than I would ordinarily choose, I like the color palette a lot.  I have plenty of fabric left to make a great, scrappy pieced backing, and I'm planning to get this one all finished up this week so I can take it when we visit family for Christmas.  

I absolutely love my Bernina, but after being without it for two weeks in October for regular service, I realized that a backup machine is essential.  This machine has all of the accessories and tons of feet, and still works beautifully, even after sitting in storage for several years, and I'm sure she'll be just perfect after a tune up!

Even though I've been reducing my grandmother's stash, I've actually been adding to my own (bad girl!).  I could not resist these gorgeous Amy Butler prints.  These are a mix from the Cameo, Alchemy, Lark, and Love lines, and I'm cooking up a plan to match their fabulousness.

If you want to add to your own stash or get a gift for your favorite fabric hoarder, I'm totally willing to be your enabler!  There are some great deals going on that you won't want to miss.

Southern Fabric has daily deals going on.  Each day has a new way for you to save on your favorite fabrics.  Check it out!
Southern Fabric
Here's the run down of what's going on-

December 15 - Free U.S. Shipping Code: freeship
December 16 - 25% off all Full Priced Yardage Code: 25yardage
December 17 - 10% off Store wide - Code : 10off
December 18 - 25% off all Full Priced Layer Cakes Code: 25cake
December 19 - 20% off Store wide all full priced items Code: 20off

Although I feel like I haven't been able to be as present in the online community as usual, I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas Postage Stamps and NTT

Hey all!  Welcome to another Thursday!  The days between now and Christmas are dwindling fast!  I had planned to leave my Christmas sewing list finished as it was last week, but Monday was just one of those days.  You know- the kind of day where all you can think is, "I really need to sew something, or else I might just go insane!"  Yeah.  One of those.

Our school district and community are currently in upheaval as municipalities break off and form their own school systems, and it so happens that my school is caught in the crosshairs.  Of course, I live and teach in the same neighborhood, and wild thing attends the school as well, so many different facets of my life are in a bit of turmoil.  Definitely one of those days where sewing is badly needed to distract from the drama.

So, instead of dwelling on things, Monday night I did some late-night sewing, and made a Christmas postage stamp pillow.  You know I love a fast project and it was a great scrap buster!  The squares are 2 inches finished, so the pillow is 18 inches square.  'Tis the season for giving, so this one will go to a friend for Christmas!

Last week, I had so much fun browsing through all of the links and marveling at all of the accomplishments.  Y'all rock!

Made by Chrissie D did a little holiday sewing and finished this gorgeous quilt, all for herself!

If you missed this quilt by Growing Stitches, you should definitely check it out!

and Christa Quilts linked up her finish for the Modern Trees QAL.  I simply had to show you Christa's quilting in all of that negative space- love!

Y'all inspire me each and every week.  So, without further ado- show me what you've got!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Welcome Back to NTT!

I hope you all had a fantastic week last week.  I missed hosting Needle and Thread Thursday, but I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family.  Other than working on my holiday gift sewing in fits and spurts, I haven't been able to get to my machine very much since getting back home.  You can read all about how I've been spending my time HERE.

While I was in Baton Rouge, I visited a new quilt shop.  By new, of course I mean it didn't exist the last time I actually lived in my hometown- which has been 15 years, but I'm sure it's much newer than that.  For me, anything that didn't exist at the time I left is "new," but I digress.

Oh.  my. goodness.  I could have gotten into some serious trouble in there!  As it is, I couldn't resist putting together this mix of Bonnie and Camille fabrics (all are B&C except the aqua dot fabric, but I thought it blended so well).  I'm working on a plan to really show off these gorgeous prints.

Well, it seems like two weeks was forever ago, so here's a little reminder of a few of the fabulous projects linked up-

Kelly @ Blue Bird Sews shared this happy, scrappy log cabin!

Samantha @ Making Life Prettier showed off her beautiful orbit quilt.

and Lauren @ Charlotte's gRACE For a Cure linked up this sweet quilt!

Although I was able to do some blog reading over the holiday, I've still felt a little bit out of the loop for two weeks.  So, I can't wait to see what you're up to!  Let's party!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Advent Calendar

Right from the outset, I'll let you know that this is not a sewing post, which is very unusual for me.  In almost 7 months of blogging, I've never written a post that didn't have at least something to do with quilting or sewing.  Well, I am unapologetically getting only a little bit of sewing done these days, and the reason is very special to our family.

I just love Christmas time;  and as much as I love quilting as one of my favorite activities to do year round, when Advent rolls around, I don't get a whole lot of sewing done.  And that's okay by me.

My family has an Advent calendar (as many families do) to count down the days until Christmas.  I made the calendar out of small galvanized buckets (4 inch) and used stamps, cardstock, scalloped scissors, and twine to give each bucket it's number.  The buckets are hung on an antique iron screen in our family room.

The thing that makes our Advent calendar different from many I've seen is that we don't fill our buckets with treats, but with experiences for our family to share together.  Each bucket has a card (handwritten by me) with an activity for the day.  We read the card together in the evenings and look forward to the surprise inside.

The cards have a mix of cooking, arts and crafts, outings, scripture, and service.  Some of the activities are quick and free, like calling grandparents and singing a Christmas carol to them (these are great for school nights).  Others require more time and expense, like going to the local pottery studio to paint ornaments.

If you're interested in creating an Advent calendar for your family, it doesn't have to be a big craft project.  And it's still early December, so there's plenty of time left!  The activities would be just as much fun typed out on plain paper and put into numbered envelopes.  The "cutesy" is not what makes it special.

The activities have brought us closer as a family during a time of year when it is so easy to get wrapped up in shopping, to-do lists, and hectic schedules.

You can make the activities personal for your family, of course, but here are a few of my favorites if you really want to jump right in and are stumped about what to include.

*read the Christmas story in the Bible and set up your Nativity
*make hot chocolate, put on pj's and take a drive to look at Christmas lights
*purchase a toy and donate it to help a needy child have a Merry Christmas
*make Christmas cookies and surprise your neighbors with a plate
*make paper snowflakes
*make a gingerbread house
*purchase mittens, scarves and gloves and donate them
*make a winter bird feeder with a pine cone, peanut butter, and bird seed
*make a list of at least 10 things you're thankful for.  Say a prayer of thanks to God for each thing.
*make reindeer food with oats and glitter for sprinkling outside on Christmas Eve
        (Santa's reindeer smell the oats, and the glitter sparkles in the moonlight, which guides the sleigh  
         right to your house)

Of course, there are more than these ten and if you're interested in the rest of the list, I'll happily send them to you!  I wish you and your loved ones a happy Christmas season.  Although I won't be completely absent over the next few weeks (I'm sure I'll get a little sewing time in), now you know what I'm busy doing lately instead of quilting!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Holiday Sewing

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!  I really enjoyed being home with my family for the long weekend.  Now that I'm home, my lights are on my house, and my Christmas trees are decorated, it's time to get some serious holiday cheer.  It'll be here before we know it!

I feel like I've been a little out of touch for awhile with Thanksgiving last week and traveling.  I have been able to read and keep up with lots of posts, but I haven't had time to comment as much as I would like.  I have been doing some sewing though.  I've managed to get some more of my Christmas gifts finished up!

I've finally finished that huge stack of Christmas coasters- all 52 of them.  They're just waiting to be all tied up into sets of four.

I have to be honest here.  I'm pretty sick of looking at coasters.  I actually thought of a couple of other people that really should be on the list to get a set, but I just can't bring myself to make 8 more.

I've also managed to make two pillows- my first two ever!  The first one is made from an orphan Purse Strings block left over from my table runner.  It's 14 inches, and is destined for my family Christmas swap game (along with the table runner).

I made the second pillow by improv piecing some Christmas scraps.  It measures 18 inches, and I hope my friend loves it!  Of course, I still have to get the pillow form for it, but you get the idea.

So here's the thing- I had the best of intentions when I was thinking of what to make as Christmas gifts. I had planned to make another pillow (or two), but I'm not so sure I'm going to do it.  I absolutely LOVE Christmas, but I'm really ready to look at some different fabric.  And with the rest of my hectic holiday schedule, I just don't know that it's going to happen.

More than that, I'm ready to make another quilt.  Since finishing Around the Block, I've been focusing on getting my gifts done.  Although I love being able to get things done so quickly, I've missed working on an actual quilt.

Has that ever happened to you?  Have you ever had the best of intentions with gift-making, and then just lost steam?  I hope I'm not the only one!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Needle and Thread Thursday

I am thankful for so many things in my life- my church, my family, and my friends are just a few.  Though I try to remember my blessings every single day, here in America, this Thursday is a special holiday dedicated to just that- Thanksgiving.

                                                      Needle and Thread Thursday

Today, I will be leaving to spend Thanksgiving with my family, so I decided to take the week off from Needle and Thread Thursday.  I'll be back next week with all of the highlights from last week's link-up and updates on all of my Christmas gift sewing.

I hope you'll join me next week, and if you're here in America, I hope your Thanksgiving holiday is filled with the blessings of family, friends, food, and fun!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Needle and Thread Thursday!

It's Thursday again, and that means that we've almost made it through another week, and that the weekend is almost here!  And it also means that it's time for another Needle and Thread Thursday!  I finished up the huge quilt I've been working on, and had to settle for just a few shady pictures.  It gets dark so early this time of year- boo!

Overall, this quilt is just different enough from Hopscotch that I was able to finish it without getting bored.  I always worry about that when I repeat a design or colors close together.  Surprisingly, even though most of the fabrics are the same as Hopscotch, the absence of navy blue, and the extra punches of orange and lime green really give it a much brighter look.

I had lots of fun with the backing on this one, and used several one yard cuts along with the scraps, rather than one main backing fabric.  One of my students told me that he really liked the green honeycomb print (from Amy Butler's Midwest Modern line) because it looks like turtle shells.  That made me smile, and realize that this quilt will suit a little boy perfectly.  By the way, that dark spot on the quilt is an acorn that dropped right at the moment I snapped the picture.

I used a fun royal blue hexagon print for the binding, and even though I really love it, I forgot to take note of the name of it.  There are so many positives about buying from a local shop and playing with all of the pretty fabric in person, but I always find that I forget to pay attention to the fabric line or designer when I'm staring at all of the bolts.  

ps- it's late November and my roses are still blooming!!!

I've decided to name this one Around the Block.  I wanted a name that was still playful, but obviously I couldn't name this one Hopscotch as well!  I quilted it with a simple meander which, besides the fact that y'all know it's my favorite, is all I'm brave enough to do on a quilt this size.  80x100 inches is doable on a regular machine and totally worth it, but it is a little bit daunting!

Now, on to the party!  Last week, the link-ups were amazing!  So, let's get right to the highlights-

Joanie's Trendy Quilts shared this pretty blue and green quilt-

Megan at Tales of Ineptitude revealed her stunning HST star quilt.

and Kelsey at Everyday Fray linked up this awesomely manly plus quilt.

I hope you're ready to bring it this week!  Check out the party rules-

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Another Monster Quilt

I finished the quilt top yesterday for the friend who loved my Hopscotch quilt, but wanted a queen sized one.  This one is not exactly the same, but is pretty similar.

With a little more orange than Hopscotch and no navy at all, the overall effect is that the quilt is brighter.  I like it a lot and I hope they do too!  In person, the quilt does actually have a lot of blue in it, but for some reason in the picture, the oranges and greens are really jumping out.

I'm working on quilting it right now, and every time I quilt one this big I just feel like I'm drowning in quilt.  This one is 80x100.  No matter how much table space I have set up, I never feel like it is quite enough.  Of course, it's always these big ones that I'm the proudest of.  Even still, it feels a little bit weird to do two such similar quilts with so many of the same fabrics back to back.  

How about you?  Do you like to repeat designs or colors or do you always try to do something different each time?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Southern Fabric Giveaway

Hey y'all!  Welcome to the weekend!  I have a friend at school that always says that "Fridays are perfectly timed."  This week, that could not be more true!  Friday came exactly when I needed it the most.  I have a fun weekend planned with family and friends, and I might just squeeze in some fabric shopping.  You know no weekend is complete without it!

On that note, I'm happy to welcome Southern Fabric as a new sponsor.  Southern Fabric has a wonderful selection of fabrics from Moda, Riley Blake, Free Spirit, Michael Miller, and lots more.  They also carry a wide selection of precuts.  Check out a couple of their newest collections-

That True Colors collection is really calling my name.  And oh yeah, their sale section is huge!  Lots of fabrics, up to 50% off!  You've got to hop over and browse their shop and take a look at the special Thanksgiving Sale going on right now!

Aubrey at Southern Fabric is offering a $25 gift certificate as a giveaway!  All you need to do to enter is check out their site HERE, and let me know what you'd spend it on by leaving a comment.  Mr. Random will choose a winner next Friday.  Followers get a second entry!

*If you're a no-reply blogger or a wordpress user, be sure to leave an email address with your comment so I can contact you!

Happy weekend and happy shopping!

Edited- Lisa E, comment number 50 is the lucky winner!  Lisa, I've sent you an email and forwarded your email address to Aubrey at Southern Fabric!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Needle and Thread Thursday- Link Up!

Wow, this week has flown by!  In fact, I feel like the last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind. This is the week of repetition for me.  I don't have any finishes since cranking out 15 tablet sleeves, but I have been plugging away on the mass of Christmas coasters I have to get finished to give as gifts.  These are all turned right side out, ready to be quilted.  I've been trying to work on those a little bit at a time so I don't get completely sick of them. I'm trying to keep the boredom at bay.  It's not that they aren't fun and cute, but 52 (13 sets of 4) of them all at once can get a little mundane.

I've also started a new quilt.  I don't know what's come over me lately with working on more than one thing simultaneously.  I have to admit that it is making me a little bit crazy, but I guess since I don't really want to plow through all those coasters at once, I might as well do something else!  

Someone I know saw my Hopscotch quilt, and loved it for her little boy.  The only thing is, she wants it in a queen size.   Although it won't be exactly the same, it will be the same pattern and color palette.  Although I have made quilts that are similar to each other before, a complete repeat is new for me.

I've managed to get all 80 blocks done (the quilt will be 80x100), and now I just need to press them!  They live in my hometown, so I'm planning to get this finished up and ready to deliver when I go home for Thanksgiving.  There's nothing like sewing at a leisurely pace, right?  ha!

Last week, there was lot of quilty eye candy!  Check out a few highlights!

Designs by KC shared this beauty- a hand quilted finish!

Quilting Gal linked up this gorgeous quilt with such a great illusion!

and Good Golly Ginger shared this fantastic Weekender bag!  I swear, one day I'm going to make one!

Anyway, what's going on in your sewing space this week?  I can't wait to see what you link up!

Here are the rules!

1.  You can link finished projects or WIP's , but just keep it about quilting and sewing!
2. Link to your specific post to make it easier for others.
3. Spread the word and post my button or a text link.  
4. Spread the comment love far and wide!
5. Following me is not a requirement to link, but is so very appreciated!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Simple Tablet Sleeve

Hey y'all!  As promised, here's a tutorial for the simplest, quickest tablet sleeve you will ever see.  I love things that are easy, speedy and most of all- cute!  You know that I'm not into fancy-schmancy stuff like zippers and pockets, so if I promise it's simple, you can count on it!

First of all, let me say that the sleeve I'm making fits a Kindle or an iPad mini (more snugly).  It will probably fit other eReaders and small tablets, but since I don't own any others, I can't actually test that out.  So, just know that if your tablet is no bigger than an iPad mini- you should be good with these measurements.  I've included the directions for calculating the measurements for bigger tablets at the end of the tutorial.

What You'll Need-

*Fabric for the outside of the case- cut 9x15 inches
      If you would prefer, you can also use scraps and piece them into a block measuring 9x15 inches

*Fabric for the lining of the case- cut 9x15 inches

*Fabric for the binding- strips- cut 2.5 inches and made into binding.  You'll need about 55 inches of binding, so if you're using yardage, you'll need two strips.  If you're using fat quarters, you'll need three strips, cut along the longer side.

   **If you're new to quilting and have never made binding, or put binding on a quilt before, it's no big
       deal!  Check out my full tutorial on binding by machine HERE!  My tutorial walks you through
       this process step by step with lots of pictures.

Have fun with your fabrics!  You can go as matchy or as funky as you like!  It's lots of fun opening up the sleeve and seeing an unexpected surprise of color in the lining.  This is also a great use of those fabrics that you love, but never quite make it into a quilt because they're hard to mix with others.

*Batting- cut 9x15 inches.  This is a great use of scrap batting!

*Velcro- you only need about 4 inches for one sleeve

Now, just make a tiny little quilt!  Lay your lining fabric face down.  Add your batting, and your outside fabric and baste.  It's so tiny that you don't have to worry about your "backing" fabric wrinkling, and it only takes about 5 pins (one on each corner and one in the center).

Next, quilt however you like!  Of course, I chose to meander because it's my favorite.

For the rest of this process, I use my walking foot.  Choose one side to fold over, and add binding to it, sewing to both sides.  Don't worry about leaving the raw edges of the binding exposed.  Just trim your binding flush with the edge of your quilt.

Next, sew velcro just under the binding strip.  My velcro is cut into sections about 2 inches long.  It's so much easier to sew the velcro on at this point, because once we stitch the sides together, it would get awfully tight!

Now take a look at your sleeve.  It's really just a little square quilt with part of it doubled over.  Just add your binding to it as you would any other quilt.  Be sure you give yourself plenty of seam allowance so you cover all of your raw edges completely.  Here's what it looks like when you attach the binding to one side.  It can get a little bit thick where it's doubled, but just take your time, increase your stitch length a little bit, and you'll be just fine!

Finally, flip your sleeve over and sew it to the other side.  I sew both sides by machine, but let me just say from experience, be careful that you don't pull the binding too far around the front.  Remember, sewing the binding further in will make your case more narrow.  Pull your binding just past the seam, and you won't make your case too small.  Another option would be to add a little width to your fabric, but I really like my cases to fit my devices snugly.

The very last step is to sew the other velcro to the closure flap at the top.

And, voila!  A sweet little tablet sleeve that's the perfect mix of functional and fabulous!

Alright, all you full size tablet owners, this part's for you!  The construction is the same, but you'll just vary your measurements!

*To determine the proper width of your fabric, measure the long side of your device.  Add 1.5 inches to it.

*To determine the proper length of your fabric (the part that will be folded over), measure the short side of your device, double it, and then add five inches.  Since your device is bigger, this allows for a closure flap that is slightly bigger (which may also affect velcro placement).

Use these measurements to cut your lining fabric, outside fabric, and your batting.

*Rather than do all sorts of calculations (unless you're into that sort of thing), just know that three binding strips cut WOF should be long enough to make a case for any tablet.

**Edited to add- If you make a sleeve for a tablet, and would like to send me the measurements, I'll be sure to add it here!

-from Hilary, Young Texan Mama- Nexus 7 measurements- 9.25 x 14 inches

I hope you give this a try!  These are great when you need a quick gift, or if you want to do a little bit of selfish sewing!  And there is so much opportunity to change the look just by changing the fabrics!  Check out my post HERE to see lots of different ones that I've made.

See?  Definitely cute, and totally simple!

09 10 11 12
Blogging tips