Thursday, August 11, 2016

On The Wall

My longest-running UFO (Unfinished Object for you newbies out there) has finally come to a conclusion--

--of sorts


Waaaaaay back in 2010, when I first started Seriously Quilting, and blogging about it, I began an absolutely EPIC project:

Lollypop Trees Quilt 470x480
photo courtesy of Glorious Color

The awesome Lollypop Trees pattern by Kim MacLean.  It was an exciting project for me, since I was teaching myself machine applique and had yet to learn or even attempt free-motion quilting. Plus it's an absolute stunner of a quilt.  I even became a contributor to a blog devoted to Kim's designs (click here to go to the blog and see some fabulous eye candy of this quilt and some of her other designs).

But there's always SOMETHING that can be an obstacle when attempting a project like this, and of course it was TIME.  You won't be surprised to learn that this is an incredibly time consuming project.  At the time that I started it I was also a new Etsy store owner and had no idea how much time it would take to build up, and then maintain, even a modestly successful crafting business.  I quickly learned it takes a lot of time and if you want to have a successful business (even on a small scale) building that business needs to take priority.  Personal sewing definitely had to take a back seat. Plus, there was Life as well:  I was married, my son was a young teen, work, orchestra work, maintaining a rather large home, all of that.

So I made 6 blocks, loved every minute of their construction (blogged about the process here), and put them away. Always wanted to do more with them.  When I had the time.

Fast forward to maybe 2 weeks ago.  Saw the blocks hanging in the closet of my sewing room.  I had of course moved them to this new house 2 years ago with the rest of my sewing gear, but while freshly divorced their exuberant design didn't suit a season of mourning.  So they sat for a little while longer. 

Then suddenly it was time.  It didn't take long.


I knew I had a perfect spot for a wall hanging, so I purposefully left off any sashing or borders that would have made the quilt wider.



To hang the quilt I used this tutorial which I found on Pinterest. The author links the method to the one used at the San Jose Quilt and Textile Museum.  

I sewed a fabric cylinder to the back of the quilt, then used a piece of quarter round and two 
eye screws, plus 2 screws to go into the wall.   It was literally less than $2.00 of supplies.
  



A few quilting details:


I don't like how free motion quilting looks on top of fused applique, so I used the walking foot on my sewing machine to do some straight line quilting on top of the applique pieces.

I have since learned to "window" my applique, which eliminates stiffness and lends itself better to free motion quilting.

I've also learned how to free motion quilt, which I did around the shapes in an echo pattern.









 The quilting is easier to see from the back.

I have lots of white muslin at home so that's what I used for the backing.  And since there's no outer border that purple binding adds a nice pop of color.


















Wednesday, July 6, 2016

New Fabric and Summer Musings

I had a weak moment and succumbed to a fabric collection I've been eyeballing for awhile:

It's 1/2 yard pieces of the "Type" collection from Windham Fabrics.

I bought it at JAQS fabric on Etsy (here) but I think it's still pretty easy to find at quilt shops and other online stores.


I love the cool retro/geeky look!












As soon as I opened the package I started digging around in my stash for some coordinates.  Florals won't work for this project, but I found several geometric and semi-solid prints that I think will work just fine.

I'm planning on a large block, modern lap quilt that will really show off those fun prints.  (Final pattern choice TBA)












Also, some nesting in my newly-purchased home (see this post to catch up).


When I first moved here I bought these 2 bar stools at a consignment store.  They're super comfortable but that beige microfiber seat cover was blah at best.

That black and white dandelion upholstery fabric (on sale at Joann's) is a vast improvement!  And there was no fancy process here-- I just unscrewed the cushions from the base, stapled the new fabric over the existing cushion, and reattached it to the chair.









I wanted to make new pillows for my sofa and incredibly, these are my very first envelope-style pillows.  I used this tutorial  and yes, they're just as easy to make as everyone says they are.  Where have these been all my life?





I've been wanting to expand my knitting skills for a couple of years so I've been taking classes at the Dunedin Fine Arts Center (here) which has been a blast.  I'll post pictures of projects as they are completed-- but I'm thrilled to be moving Beyond The Scarf.  I've also been going to yoga classes, volunteering at Trinity Cafe (providing meals to homeless and food-insecure individuals in our community), creating for my Etsy store, and just in general staying very, very busy.   Orchestra work starts up again in mid-September so I'm trying to get as much done before then as possible!








Tuesday, June 14, 2016

For the Girls

The twin quilts are finished!

This was a memory quilt/clothing project made out of baby and toddler clothes of 7 year old twins who live in my neighborhood.

I didn't want to inspire any sibling rivalry, so I constructed both quilts exactly the same way, making 12" (finished size) blocks, 4 across and 6 down.

This quilt is for the Fashionista sister.


















Each quilt contains their clothes but also one or two special fabrics just for them.

That fun dress-up fabric is from the "Dress Up" collection from Robert Kaufman fabrics.














Her favorite color is green, so I used this soft green print on the back.

And both quilts received the bold black and white stripe binding.














Her sister is less concerned about fashion, and there was a strong animal theme to her clothing, so that's what I went with for her quilt.
















Her favorite color is pink, so that's what is on the back of her quilt.

It's the same fabric as the back of her sisters' quilt, just in a different color.  Again, I was trying to avoid any potential feelings of one quilt being better than the other.

Their mom said these quilts will be either Christmas or birthday gifts.  Either way, I hope they love them!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Coming Home

Incredibly, I'm a homeowner again.


When I moved into this little Craftsman-style bungalow as a renter almost exactly 2 years ago I never imagined that I would end up buying it, or any house, again.

Of course, when I moved into this house at the end of my long, long marriage simply getting out of bed and breathing was considered a victory (see this post).   Forget about long term plans or financial decisions. Just keep living until you're alive again.














But as most of us know, grief is finite.  And at some point, after a long time, it's time to empower yourself, take the reins of your life, and kick some ass.  Or at least try to.





By the way, that's not my cat in the picture, although it is my porch.  She lives next door, but likes to nap here.  I think of her as porch decor.









Throughout this journey, this house has been so much more to me than a place to live.  It's truly felt like home since the day I moved in.


The couch-- and those pillows-- were here when I moved in.  I want to make some patchwork pillows for it this summer.

Click here for my tutorial to make your own Dresden Plate table runner like the one on my coffee table.









Several months ago the former owner of this house (and my former landlord) said that he wanted to sell the house and that he would offer it to me first.  At first I thought it would be impossible, but as I have been learning over the past 2 years, many things are possible.

And needless to say, the opportunity to purchase a house that I was already living in and wouldn't have to pay a realtor fee for was a great opportunity.













And how could I possibly walk away from a bedroom painted lime green?  If that's not an omen that this house was meant to be mine then I don't know what is.


















Closing was April 29.

Welcome home.


   



Thursday, April 21, 2016

One Quilt Top Done

You might recall from this post that I'm working on 2 custom memory quilts for twin girls.  The girls are 7 now, and their mom brought me a bunch of their baby and toddler clothes to be made into quilts.

This first top is done!

The recipient of this quilt loves animals (particularly aquatic ones) and her favorite color is pink.

















I saw this fabric and simply had to include it in this quilt.  It couldn't be more perfect for this project!

It's called "Mermaid Play" from the Out to Sea collection from Michael Miller fabrics.














That whale was appliqued on a dress, so I cut it off and reapplied it to pink whale fabric ("Tossed Whales" from Timeless Treasures )

















Next I will start on her sister's quilt!


Monday, March 28, 2016

Quilt Show!

Last week I had the pleasure of finally attending the Sewing and Quilt Expo in Lakeland, Florida-- about a 40 minute drive from my home.

This show has been coming to Lakeland for quite a few years but it's always been scheduled during a busy work week for me so I've never had the time to go.

This year my Spring Break occurred during the same week as the show so HURRAY!  I finally got to go!









There are loads of really fun classes offered at the Expo but when I saw this one it seemed like a wonderful opportunity to get some technical skills to use on my HQ Sweet 16.  Plus, the class was actually taught on the Sweet 16 --there was a whole classroom of them!






Here's a quick shot from the class.  We worked with handouts breaking down the basic shapes like straight lines, S curves, loops, and hooks (shown in the picture.)


Some of the students were new to the machine, others were like me and had owned them for awhile.  (I've had mine for about 3 years.)












This was a technique class, not a project class, so I just had this sampler at the end. But I learned a lot!

















Some skills were brand new, like this attempt at pebble quilting.

Looks more like a bunch of grapes to me!















I LOVE THIS.  It's feathers done as "l's" and "e's".  Make your spine, then work your way down with the l's and e's done as figure 8's.  Really easy and I love the modern look.
















This fern design was one of my favorites too, working all with "S" shapes.  And I like how it looks really good if the 2 sides of leaves don't match.
















As usual at an event like this there were lots of vendors plus some beautiful quilts on display.

I loved this one from the Tampa Modern Quilt Guild.  That's some really adventurous quilting in the white spaces.














Now THAT'S what pebble quilting is supposed to look like!

Monday, March 7, 2016

For The Girls

My first custom order of 2016 has arrived in the form of clothing quilts for twin girls who live in my neighborhood.  They're 7 years old now and their mom brought me some of their favorite baby/toddler clothes to be made into quilts, one for each of them.  What a great idea!

Like all memory or t-shirt quilt projects, it starts with a full bag of clothes.

Actually, there was one bag for each child, but I decided to work on each quilt separately-- meaning, I will complete one child's quilt top entirely before I start on the other.  That way there's no danger Clothing Cross-Contamination between the sisters.














When I started really digging into the bag there were some beautiful dresses!

The pink and green one on top has a Lily Pulitzer label-- fancy!















Also, due to the pleating on a lot of them they yielded a surprising amount of usable fabric once I started cutting them apart.





The clothes also had many pretty embellishments, which are always fun to include in this type of quilt.

I always try to reflect the recipient's personality in the quilt.  I have found out that this child loves animals, is concerned about the environment, and her favorite color is pink.  So I'm thinking a pink animal print plus coordinating fabrics might work well in this quilt.

I was feeling a twinge of guilt over not having made a quilt like this with my son's baby clothes, but then I remembered:

He was a cutie all right, but not much of a fashion statement.
1998