Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas wrap-up

Now that Christmas is over, I can finally share some of what I've been working on!




1. DSCN3727, 2. DSCN3711, 3. DSCN3710, 4. DSCN3709, 5. DSCN3703, 6. DSCN3653, 7. DSCN3652, 8. DSCN3759, 9. DSCN3783

Since getting my embroidery machine, EVERYONE has asked me for embroidered stuff. The first picture is a saddle pad for my sister-in-law--I thought that was absolutely adorable when I found it, and then I embroidered her horse's name on it. The towels and sweatshirts I did as a favor to my mom, for my cousins and their kids. The Bride tank was for my other sister-in-law, the coasters were for cousins, and the monogram wreath was for decor at my house. (Not pictured are the two sets of placemats that I embroidered--one for my parents, one for my grandparents--and the 4 pairs of boxer shorts that I embroidered with the words Thursday for my brother because he is strange.)

Then we get to the big ones--quilts!

My Skill-Builder Sampler quilt has always been intended for my mother-in-law. I knew she wanted a Christmas throw so since I was beginning that quilt-along, I started it in Christmas fabrics. I've posted six of the blocks already, here are the remaining six--


Virginia Star


Breaking Out--LOVE this block, will do more with it in the future


Ohio Star

Then I decided that the Skill Builder blocks were either not to my taste, or didn't go, or involved paper piecing (my printer just wouldn't cooperate, making paper-piecing a challenge!) So I ventured outside the Skill-Builder blocks and did the following:


Quatrefoil block, from Modify Tradition (LOTS of great blocks here, I'll have to remember that as a resource)


Christmas Star block, from Happy Quilting via the Celebrate Christmas Quilt-Along


Starflower block from Ellison Lane Quilts


And here they are all laid out.

At this point I decided to use 3.5 inch white strips for sashing. I wanted wide sashing because I used embroidery applique in the corners. I did 6 appliques total. This was on December 23, while my husband ran our last-minute errands prior to leaving to drive 5 hours to his parents' house for Christmas. Then I realized that the only batting I had on hand was about 5 inches short of what I needed... and I realized that I was not going to get the quilt finished before Christmas. Oh well. I wrapped up the top, backing, and binding and his mom was thrilled!


Here you can see some of the appliques--the Christmas tree and ornaments were laid on there for test purposes, but I did go ahead and do those directly on the quilt top as well.


Finished quilt top--opened on Christmas Eve! The green and red flannel there is going to be the backing fabric. More pictures will be forthcoming once I actually finish the quilt.

The secret project that I couldn't say anything about? Well, I haven't mentioned anything about my Supernova quilt in quite some time... with good reason.


It was a birthday present for my mom! Her birthday is two days after Christmas, and I really wanted my mom to have a quilt of her own. She is also a quilter, and has made beautiful quilts for various family members. Her big thing is photo quilts, so she and I have different tastes, but I'm confident I wouldn't have started quilting if I hadn't been exposed to it my whole life. And she has NEVER made herself a quilt!! So the Supernova quilt was for her.

I backed the quilt using a navy fabric with tiny yellow and green flowers (which actually, Mom picked out from my fabric stash!) and bound it using a yellow fabric from Connecting Threads. I used straight-line quilting through each of the horizontal, vertical, and diagonal lines--three lines of stitching for each. (You can't see in this picture, but the center line is variegated orange and yellow, then the outside lines are variegated purple and variegated green--to match the colors of the quilt.)

Unfortunately, because I had so much going on leading up to Christmas, I was stitching on the binding the morning of Mom's birthday. She had a hair appointment before we went out to lunch, so I got as much as I could done, which turned out to be not quite all of it (hence the lack of pictures and the clips still on the binding). Rather than give it to her and then immediately take it back, she held on to it to show to my family members, and I'm going to finish it after the next time I see her, in January when I travel down south to take my kiddos to a math competition. I'll take more pictures then, too.

So that was my handmade Christmas. I took on a little bit too much, probably, and stressed myself out. I also managed to break the embroidery unit of my sewing machine--lesson learned, don't travel with embroidery unit! But everyone LOVED their gifts, even the ones that weren't quite finished. So everything ended well after all.

And what did we receive for Christmas? The highlights--

  • A Keurig coffeemaker from my in-laws (SO looking forward to hot chocolate in the mornings before work!)
  • Tickets to Universal Studios Islands of Adventure from my parents (YAY, Harry Potter World! I've only wanted to go there since it was announced!!)
  • Tickets to see Cirque du Soleil--La Nouba from my in-laws (we saw it the day after Christmas, and it was wonderful!)
  • Joann's gift cards (I'm saving up for a Cricut!)
  • The best present of all (IMO... my husband would probably disagree)--a KITCHEN-AID STAND MIXER!!! I've regretted not putting one of these on our wedding registry for sooooo long. My mom paid attention and kept it totally secret from me--I had no idea! So now, thanks to my mom and dad, I have a gorgeous blue stand mixer sitting in my kitchen, just waiting for me to bake something. I didn't get to bake Christmas cookies this year (no time--whose idea was it to work up until the 21st, anyway?) so I'm going to have to make something soon to get it out of my system.

I hope all of you had similarly wonderful Christmases, and best wishes for 2012!


Linked up to


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pay It Forward

I'm participating in a Pay It Forward! I saw it on Little Island Quilting's blog during Giveaway Day, she had only ONE spot left. Sadly, I was too late for that one spot, but.... I got this e-mail from her--

"It is but as it's Christmas and the season of goodwill to all men, I don't mind doing a fourth!

Send me your full name and address then sit back and wait!
So in honor of Alison's generosity, I am likewise going to send FOUR handmade gifts! :)
The Rules: (copied and pasted from somewhere out in blogland... actually from My Quilting Addiction because hers was most convenient)
1. Important! You have to have a blog.

2. I will make a little something for the first FOUR blog owners who comment on this post. It will be a surprise and I will make it and send it to you some time during the next 365 days after you have commented.  

3. Make sure you let me know your email address, or that you aren't a no-reply blogger so that I can get your contact details.

4. To get a handmade present from me, you have to play too! This means YOU pledge to send a little handmade something to 3 readers of your blog. It doesn't matter what you give, as long as it is handmade by you!

5. Once you comment here, you need to post about your Pay It Forward on your blog(within 48hrs) to keep the fun going! *you can just copy the rules from me and please include the Pay It Forward badge in your post. Also, feel free to join the Flickr group to see what else is being sent!

6. Follow my blog - I'd like that but you don't have to :)
How fun is this?? So, the first four commenters (who aren't no-reply bloggers) will be in! And you will get a handmade gift from me, sometime in the next year. Hope you'll decide to join me!

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Thank you to EVERYONE who entered! I loved reading all your Christmas crafting ideas, and I will definitely be trying some of them out in the future.

The winner of the handmade ornaments is commenter number 50!


And commenter number 50 was...


Congratulations, hwscutie! I've just e-mailed you to let you know you are the winner!

This weekend... sigh. Here's the list of things that have to be finished before Christmas:

  • Finish Christmas sampler quilt for my mother-in-law (I've finished 10 of 12 blocks... need to assemble top, quilt, and bind... gahhhh!!)
  • Finish something else... no details until after Christmas
  • Embroider 3 sweatshirts and 2 towels for my mom (as a favor to her, not a present) (2 sweatshirts and the towels are done)
  • Embroider 2 sets of placemats, one for my parents and one for my grandparents
  • Embroider saddle pad for sister in law (first have to purchase saddle pad)
  • Christmas present for my mom... no details as she reads my blog, but will require a fairly significant amount of time in front of computer
  • Embroider boxer shorts for my brother (he wants all of his underwear to say "Thursday" on it... how weird is that?? He's a 20-year-old college student, so I've stopped asking questions...)
  • Embroider tank top for other sister-in-law
  • Figure out one more gift for each grandparent (3 total)
  • Buy presents for my husband and my sister (I know what I'm getting my sister, but the husband... not so much)
  • Holiday baking (cookies for my coworkers and both families, dog treats for the approximately 12 dogs in the extended family)

Oh and I also have three more days of work in which I have to give (and then grade) 5 midterm exams. Fun!

This is the first time that I've really done any major crafting for Christmas presents. I usually give a couple of handmade ornaments but that's been the extent of it. Clearly I have bitten off a little more than I can chew... wish me luck!

(Christmas cookie recipes are coming later this week...)

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day!

It's been two months since I posted last... holy cow!

Most of what I've worked on I can't post, or don't have pictures of yet. But I've been pinning up a storm on Pinterest, decorating for Christmas, and trying to get all my Christmas presents done (more on that later!)

And since today is Giveaway Day, I have my very first giveaway to share!


I LOVE decorating for Christmas and I have had so much fun doing Christmas crafting. So up for grabs is this set of handmade ornaments!


These were made using this awesome tutorial that I found on Pinterest! This giveaway is open to international entries.

To enter:

  1. Post a comment telling me your favorite holiday crafting project!
  2. (for a second entry) Follow my blog and post a comment telling me you're a follower.

This giveaway will close on Friday, December 16 at 8:00 Eastern!

Thank you so much! As soon as Christmas is over I will have LOTS to share!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids--done!

Just in time, too--today is the last day of the last link-up!


This is the Storytime Squares quilt-along pattern. I LOVE this pattern, I LOVE how quickly it comes together, and it will definitely be a go-to pattern in the future!

I've already posted about how much I loved putting together the quilt top. I also used this quilt as my first attempt at free-motion quilting. DSCN3415


Here are a couple of close-ups of the quilting. It's not nearly as bad as I expected it to be--I'm going to continue practicing with the Free-Motion Quilting Friday project. It's a LOT easier now that I'm using the appropriate foot on my machine, that's for sure!

I backed the quilt in a puzzle print fabric that supports autism awareness:


The binding is a black fabric with rainbow stripes that I had in my stash--I think that it came from a garage sale where a lady was selling quilting fabric by the pound. I'm glad I had enough!

I did not take a close-up picture of my binding, because it does NOT look good. I machined on the binding on both the top and the bottom because I was short on time, and I don't think I'll be doing that again. This is the second time I've done that and I haven't been happy with it either time. Maybe I need to try binding clips instead of pins and that would give me a straighter binding on the back, but I think hand-sewing it on would have looked a lot better. Also, there were a couple of places where the backing fabric got folded over and the edge stuck out, and that wouldn't have happened if I had been hand sewing. I will take the time to do the hand-sewing next time.

This quilt, along with my Sunkissed Squares quilt finished a couple of months ago, are both going to Newborns in Need, which provides quilts to sick or impoverished babies. My local chapter is doing a Moses Basket project to encourage safe sleep--this area has a really high infant mortality rate, which has been linked to lack of a safe place for babies to sleep. Hopefully both these quilts will be going to babies and families that need them!

I've not had tons of time to sew recently with everything going on at work, but I've been working on a mug rug for a swap and a couple of blocks. Today on the agenda is finishing up the mug rug, and FINALLY getting back to the Skill-Builder Sampler quilt-along, I hope! I also need to get back to quilting my Supernova quilt. I'll do that while listening to the FSU football game--we don't have cable and it's only on Sun Sports, which we don't get, but I like the radio announcers better anyway. Then it'll be time for my school's football game--it's homecoming! And we're hoping to win our first game of the season... we're 0-4 right now. It's a unique experience to have a pep rally at which the football team is not mentioned in the slightest. :)

Part of homecoming is spirit week, of course! I don't always dress up for spirit week (I'm not particularly a fan of Wacky Tacky Day, which we seem to have EVERY year) but I got into it this year. The best day of all was yesterday--Dress like a Celebrity/Movie Character Day! 2011 10 14 11 21 58 56

I'm the one on the right :) I dressed up as Hermione--one of my students lent me the Gryffindor robe, though now I want one of my own. The tie and wand came from Party City, and I wore a white button-down, black skirt, black tights and flats. Not pictured is my 2001 Florida Statutes book wrapped in a brown paper cover to pretend that it's Hogwarts, A History. :) I had a great time.

And just to leave you in the mood for Halloween... I am one of THOSE dog owners. DSCN3384

Peanut is wearing candy-printed pajamas, and Izzy is wearing a t-shirt with a ghost on it. They were less than happy.


Love those puppies. :) Have a great week! :)

Sunday, September 25, 2011

100 Quilts for Kids Quilt-Along WIP

I'm working on a quilt for the 100 Quilts for Kids Quilt-Along!  This weekend is the link-up, so here it is... DSCN3295

(this is upside down... oops)

A while back I sent off some charms for an I-Spy charm swap on Ravelry's Quilters Knitting group. The idea was that they would all be kid-appropriate fabrics. Since there were about 60 charms in the pack, it was perfect for theStorytime Squares quilt!

This quilt came together SUPER quickly. Like, ridiculously so. Two evenings, maybe, for the top. Working with pre-cuts makes things SO much easier--I hate cutting! I decided to leave off the final borders, feeling like it was big enough without it. I've backed it with a puzzle-print that is an autism awareness fabric, apparently, and I'm working on quilting it using FMQ for the first time (loops and curliques). I will post the finished version when it's done! In the meantime I have a Christmas block to make for a swap, a Halloween mug rug, and I'd like to get caught up on my Across the Sea quilt and my Skill-Builder Sampler--in addition to all my grading, test writing, math team stuff, and hosting a bridal shower next week! Soooo much to do!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

For the Love of Solids... sent and received

So I signed up to participate in the For the Love of Solids swap on Flickr. I've posted a little bit about my project for this swap already--well, now it is FINALLY finished and in the mail.



This is a 27" by 27" wall hanging. I used 8 different colors of solids--mostly Kona but a couple were from Connecting Threads. The quilt block was from here (and, not to toot my own horn or anything, but how much better does this look in solids than in the fabric used in that quilt?) and the background is a coal gray from Joann's. I handquilted by outlining the whole way around the outside of the quilt and inside the larger gray squares with charcoal embroidery floss. Then I cut strips of each color used (about 10 inches long, I think) and pieced them together to make a scrappy binding. I also added folded triangles on the back for my partner to hang it.

The pros of this quilt: I made almost NO mistakes in piecing these blocks. I can't stress how amazing this is. When considering that the first block I considered making was this one (haha, yeah, I'm crazy) this was infinitely preferable.

The cons: I'm not necessarily thrilled with the color layout--I wish I had spent some time planning out what color mixes I was going to use in advance instead of jumping right in. Also, the blocks aren't particularly well aligned and the binding is not sewn on perfectly. I attached the binding by machine, and didn't have anything to put in the bobbin that would blend in with the binding (now, after it's done, I know to use monofilament thread) so instead I used the same dark gray on the top and bottom, which doesn't look great in my opinion. But hopefully my partner will like it.

Close-up of the hand-quilting:


I am not a fan of hand-quilting. If it weren't for the fact that my partner specifically said that she loves hand-stitching, I wouldn't have bothered. I much prefer the process of quilting by machine.


We also had to include a small item in there, which did not have to be made by hand. My partner had mentioned that she wouldn't mind receiving a hoop, so I got a variety of sizes and made three hoops, all using a four-patch in blue, teal, and chartreuse.


This was my first time making a decorative hoop, too, but I think they turned out pretty well. I wish I had read the tutorial ahead of time so that it would have been easier for me to trim the edges and whatnot. I also threw in 4 fat quarters of Loulouthi. I shipped it yesterday, and I'm hoping she likes it!


On Thursday I also received my package.



This was a GREAT package! A tote bag made with linen and a rainbow of solids, including lots of pinks. A matching zippered pouch. A cute embroidered keychain, and a charm pack of City Weekend by Moda. I love all of it and think that my partner (chloeandme) did a fantastic job! I must admit, though, that I had a whole lot of feelings of inferiority when I got it--all the piecing, topstitching, etc. is SO perfect! I hope mine is that good someday.


Sorry for the lack of blogging lately--sewing is happening, but not with any regularity, and I have so much work to do all the time that I feel guilty about taking time out to sew and/or blog. :( Is it winter break yet?

One more thing--thank you SO much to Sharon of Craizee Corners! I won a giveaway on her blog and received two Tula Pink patterns in the mail a couple of weeks ago. I'm really looking forward to using them! :)


Thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WIP Wednesday... a day early


Since I know I'm not going to have time tomorrow...


New Project: Across the Sea Modern Quilt-Along



Across the Sea Quilt-Along

Because I've been SUPER great about finishing my other quilt-along quilts. (Supernova is still waiting to be quilted, I'm not even finished cutting fabric for the Kaleidoscope, and my Garden Fence quilt has completely stalled out.) but I really like this one and it looks pretty easy.


I cut the crosses from my first 8 FQs tonight, two of each. I'm making the lap sized quilt. The fabric is Loulouthi... love it! I bought the FQ bundle at my LYS, Wooly Bully in Tallahassee. They started carrying fabric earlier this year and this was my first fabric purchase from them. Love it! However I need 5 more FQs unless I want to have another repeat of each cross (which I don't). So I'm picking out 5 more from the quiltalong sponsor, one of my FAVORITE online fabric shops, Sew Fresh Fabrics!



I'm not married to these FQs--I want to add more blue, so I need to find some Triflora in the blue colorway to replace either the hugs and kisses or the Summer Totem. We'll see.


For The Love of Solids Swap



I'm actually almost done with the top of this mini-quilt--just need to finish sewing the last two rows together then add the border. However, my husband and his friends started saying as I finished the 9 blocks on Saturday night that they looked too much like swastikas. I don't think they do--what about you?? I do feel like I'm getting better overall at piecing evenly, so that's good--and this required virtually no seam ripping! Happy day!

Since it's a mini-quilt that will likely be used as a wall hanging, the back will probably be just the coal gray, though I may include some of the leftover triangles in there, we'll see. I'm definitely going to do a scrappy binding with all eight colors.





Basted and the quilting has begun. I'm doing straight-line quilting through each star, three lines total--one in a variegated orange and yellow, one in a variegated purple, and one in variegated green. So far I've only gotten the vertical and horizontal lines of the orange/yellow done--I'm using a heavier batting this time than last, and this quilt weighs A LOT and I'm sick of dragging it through the machine. I'll get it finished eventually. I also realized that the fabric I bought for binding (Gardenia from Connecting Threads in Marigold) is completely NOT the same yellow as the one used in the quilt top--I'll post a picture soon, but I'm hoping it's not too noticeable. I need a yellow or a green to contrast well with the backing fabric.

Finally, the most pressing project of the last week--my classroom got finished and my students came back on Monday.






This is the cleanest and most organized it will be all year.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday! (Also, go vote for Lee's super cute fabric on the Connecting Threads website!)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Pets on Quilts

Haven't had any time at all this week for sewing (I went back to work on Monday, and I'm planning to work both Saturday and Sunday to be ready for the kiddies to come back) but I wanted to post an entry for the Pets on Quilts show before it ends tonight.



This is Peanut. She is about 2 years old. We adopted her at a Petco adoption event for the shelter in the county south of ours. She is a MESS. She likes to eat plastic things... which can include disposable razors (she swallowed the blade!) and Tupperware containers full of cookies and brownies. She also likes to eat leather (like expensive flip-flops). She is a giant mess but we love her anyway.



It's an upside-down dog!




This is Izzy. She's 6 years old and we think she's an American Dingo.


In January 2009, we saw Marley and Me, and then the next day went to the animal shelter. My husband had seen her on the shelter's online kennel and liked her. When we went there, we noticed that she wasn't barking and hadn't pooped in her kennel. So we took her for a walk. As soon as she jumped up and gave me a hug, we decided that she was ours. Fortunately, we came to get her just in time. Izzy was heartworm-positive and had been in the shelter for over three months. If she hadn't been adopted that week, she would have been put down. Instead, we took her home, got her heartworms treated, bought a house with a backyard for her to run around in, and we couldn't be happier.



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Want to see some cute cats and dogs? Go to the show!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Skill-Builder Sampler Series--caught up again

Here they are!



This month's blocks were a plethora of mistake-making, and I officially hate HSTs now.




Block 4: Pinwheel


So I wasn't thrilled about this block while I was making it (and oops--I totally JUST realized that the pinwheels on the right side are backwards from the rest) and I'm still not. I wish that instead of using white for the plain squares I had used one of my other prints. I feel like that would have made this block more exciting. I'll remember for next time.


Block 5: Arizona



OMFG I HATE THIS BLOCK SOOOOO MUCH. It's cool looking (or it would be if I hadn't screwed it up). But sooooo many HSTs, soooo many mistakes made. By the time I realized what I'd done with the top row, I was just done. It's a design element. Whatever.


Block 6: Bow Ties




This one, I like. I've actually liked the bow tie look for a long time and I've meant to do something with it, but this is the first time I have. I also tried to bring together the red/green and the blue in this block, and will continue trying to do that in future blocks, so that the couple of blue blocks that I will have (the value nine-patch, for example) won't look out of place.


This quilt is going to end up being a throw-sized quilt for my mother-in-law for Christmas (shhh, don't tell!) and so I will likely stop after the 4th month at 12 blocks. I plan to add at least one, possibly two blocks with machine embroidery, though, so we'll see what I actually end up doing. I'm really enjoying this quilt-along, though, and I'm sure I can definitely use the practice, so what I may do is continue the quilt along with either different fabrics or the same fabrics and make a different sampler quilt for me.


In other news... I'm working on my For the Love of Solids project. At first I was going to make a tote bag, using these fabrics:



I might still, I don't know. But I think my swap partner would prefer a mini-quilt, and I know she prefers rainbows. So yesterday I went to Hobby Lobby (which, btw, I had NO IDEA they carried Kona solids, and I'm super thrilled and plan to shop there more often now) and picked out these.



This is a very "me" color palette--I'm worried that it's a little too "me" and not enough of my swap partner--but she said she likes rainbows, sooo.... I think I'm going to go with it.


In terms of the block pattern: I am insane, and thought I would do this:

Innersquare01 copy

(photo from The Parfait Cafe, tutorial here), but yeah, I am insane. I tried it yesterday with the teal palette, and after much swearing, gave up and went shopping. So I THINK I'm back to my original plan, and going to do this:

IMG 0269

(photo and tutorial from Moda Bake Shop, click on the picture to get to the tutorial). I really like this block but when I posted a link on the Flickr group most people were pretty "meh" about it. I think, though, that the fabrics used in the sample just aren't "modern" enough for most people, and in solids it would have a totally different look. So I'm going to try it out.


I go back to work on Mondayyyyyyy.... noooooooo.... summer vacation is almost over!!!! :(