Monday, January 31, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Happy Monday! Hope everyone had a great weekend. I had to cut back on some sewing time this weekend to make time for family. I sure do love living closer to my family! My mom took the family out to a delicious dinner on Saturday night to celebrate my birthday! Then my best friend took me to lunch on Sunday! What a lucky girl!

And now to share that luck with someone else. I recieved my charm packs of Hoopla and was so impressed! The colors are bold and they just pop! I love this line a lot more than I thought I would! If you are thinking of buying this line, I highly recommend it!

*clicks over to Randome Number Generator*
*can't post a picture of the winning number*

Thanks to everyone who entered and to all my new followers! I had such a great time hosting this giveaway that I see many more in my future!

The winner of my giveaway is: Linda from Stray Stiches! I've mentioned before how much I enjoy reading Linda's blog; it's such a fantastic way to start my morning that I always save it for the last morning blog I read. Click over to check her out. Congrats Linda!

Have a marvelous Monday!

*starts work, pretends I haven't been blogging for the last 15 minutes*

Friday, January 28, 2011

Giveaway at Bee in My Bonnet

Have you ever seen any of Lori Holt's quilts? They are amazing pieces of vintage-fashioned applique art. Check out her blog at Bee in My Bonnet. Lori has a style that's completely her own and will just blow you away if you ever see her quilts in person. I never have, but you can bet that's on my bucket list!

For now, check out her post on her Valentine Quilt. I absolutley love when Lori takes us into her quilts for a tour and shows all the close-ups and explains some reasoning behind her thinking. Of course, it's a great way to notice the small details you don't pick up on a computer. For instance, the way she re-named her crayons, and the Smarties made up of thread. Brillant!

I have always admired Lori's quilts. Now she's hosting a giveaway on her blog! If you grab her button and post about this giveaway, you can earn a chance to win 3 patterns! I was so excited when I heard about this I almost fell out of my chair! I really hope I win! If you win, maybe you can make the quilt for me and send it my way *wink, wink*

I love her winter themes: How to Make a Gingerbread Man, How to Make a Scarecrow, Thanksgiving Dinner.

But I reserve the right to change my mind! Several times, in fact! So what are you waiting for? Go check out her blog, her amazing quilts, and her giveaway!

Pictures all taken from Bee in My Bonnet blog, for promotional purposes only.

Monday, January 24, 2011

What's All the Hoopla?!

Good morning! Today I turn 30!

I thought I would wake up slightly depressed and a bit achy and fat, but mostly I'm just excited it's my birthday! And fat, but that's a whole other post :)

Hula-Hooping in Maui, pre-fat

I'm hosting a giveaway for my birthday! Yay! My first giveaway!

Did I ever mention that I love to Hula-Hoop?

I know, it's a weird hobby (so is quilting, by the way). I have an adult-sized hula hoop and have learned a few tricks. It's a great (lazy) way to do ab exercises and a good way to get your cardio in too! 30 minutes of hooping burns about 200 calories. And it's fun and sexy! I love to put some fabulous music on and hoop it out; practicing some tricks, twirls, and jumps!

Once you get the hang of playing with the hula-hoop, you can be a bit more adventurous. Light the hoop on fire!

This is a fire hoop. It actually comes with wicks to dip in white gas and alight. I don't have one, but I love playing with them whenever I get the chance. Which strangely, is more often than you'd think! (Disclaimer: I am wearing a bathing suit in this picture, it's just hard to see)

Which brings me to my giveaway! Don't worry, I'm not going to make you do a hoop-off or stand in a spinning ring of fire!

**All you do is leave a comment.

**For another entry, blog about this giveaway and link to this post. Come back and tell me about it.

That's it! If you'd like to follow, I'd appreciate it, but it's not required. What's the prize? Of course...

2 charm packs of Hoopla! Picture stolen from Green Fairy Quilts, where I bought them on sale! Sale ends tonight, so if you want to pick up some heavily-discounted fabric, do so now!

I will pick the winner in exactly one week. So enter by Monday, Jan 31 before I draw the winner! Good luck!

and Happy Hooping!

Friday, January 21, 2011

My Dirty Little Secret

I've been participating in The Layer Cake Quilt Along hosted at Moose on the Front Porch Quilts.

Oh…you mean I didn’t tell you?

I'm sorry! It just always seems like whenever I complete a block, something else comes up that I just have to blog about! But this time I'm ready!

I'm using Tweet fabrics from Robert Kaufman. I looked for a Layer Cake, but these just jumped into my arms. I have 10 different fabrics to work with, some are part of the Tweet line and others are from other lines that just looked good together.

Block #1 This is my favorite block. Maybe of all time. I love the spinning star with the appliqué in the middle. Too cute! I fussy cut a small butterfly from the fabric and zig-zagged the little guy in place. I could make a whole quilt of this block. Love it!

Block #2 I had high hopes for this one. I don't know what went wrong. First, I copied a participant's block layout instead of following Vickie's instructions. I used too much of that yellow checkered fabric. I'm still debating whether I should unstitch or not. I think I will.

Blocks #3 and #4

I'm not going to lie. I haven't started them!

Block #5 This one was a headache! Since I'm using yardage and not a layer cake, I had trouble following the directions (that's my excuse!). I cut out all the pieces, then thought: Wow, Cara Wilson is a great designer to make that big block out of these small pieces. Guess what? I only cut half the pieces I should have! The instructions say:

Cut the 1 5/8" x 10" strips to 1 5/8" x 4 7/8" strips.

And I thought that meant I needed 1 strip, not 2. So I put half the block together, the whole time waiting for this big finale where I wave my magic rotary cutter and these pieces somehow multiply into enough fabric to make a large block. I was seriously holding my breath. Maybe the next step, I thought. Maybe the next step. Then it slowly dawns on me that I read the instructions wrong. Then I got insulted I just couldn't strip- piece 4 strips together and then rotary cut them. But I'm supposed to be using a layer cake, and that wouldn't work! Argh!

I'm not really hot on the finished block. First off, it's wonky. In a not-supposed-to-be-wonky kind of way. And I think it's too busy. It needs some solid in there. So my next step is to find some matching solids I can mix in with these fabrics. Not just for this block, but for ones in the future too. Which means a trip to the fabric store. Sigh. My life is so hard.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What I did this Weekend

Three day week-end. House is clean. Weekend cooking is done. A million sewing projects to do. Where do I start?

With a nice long nap! I curled up with my Johnny Cat and was out like a light! Right after breakfast Sunday morning (French Toast, yummy).

Then my other kitty, Azrael had to join the party. Ever notice how hard it is to wake up when you're all cuddled up with a kitty? Sunday was mostly a bust, since I napped half the day away and then felt like my sewing room was closing in on me. So instead of sewing I picked up my sewing table. I know, right?! What was I thinking? Don't worry, I didn't get all crazy and pick up the whole room!

Monday was supposed to be my Grand Ole Sewing Day. It turned into ennui. I felt listless and restless and moped around the house. "I'm bored. There's nothing to sew." It took me about an hour and a half to sew one seam about 3 yards long (for a backing). I think I'm getting cabin fever from being stuck in the house so many weekends in a row.

I call my theory Backlash. You go without a house for awhile. Without a sewing room. Then, when you get one, all you want to do is sit in your house, and never leave your sewing room. It's like wandering the desert and finally finding water. You over-do it.

Yup, we are finally getting bored of staying in our house.

Just in time though. Next weekend we are taking a day trip to San Fransico to celebrate my birthday. We won't be doing the usual tourist thing though. I've been to San Fransico a few times and have done all that. We will visit China Town and eat crab and drink beer and wine and eat sushi and maybe stroll along Pier 39, but mostly we are going to Fabric Stores!! YAY!

Because it's my birthday, and I get to pick what we are doing! YAY!

It's my husband's first trip to the city and poor guy will be dragged through every fabric store I can find. *evil laugh*

So if you know of any good stores, let me know! I'm already doing my research and making a list!

PS~The kitties don't know yet. I don't have the heart to break it to them. They love having me home all weekend and hardly leave my side. Poor babies.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Quilting is a Battlefield

I got my Civil War Reproduction Fabrics! I ordered the Moda Fat Quarter Bundle of Civil War Reunion by Barbara Brackman from Green Fairy Quilts. This was my first time ever buying a bundle. I practically stole it. The prices at Green Fairy Quilts are always the lowest, and this was on sale. Guess what I'm going to do with these?!

That's right! The Civil War Quilt Along with Barbara Brackman! *squeals and claps* I was so excited when I came across this blog. I've never worked with a Civil War Repro palette before, but I am drawn to them. This is the perfect way to dive right in.

Have you checked out Barbara's blog? I had so much fun poking around my first time there. She is a quilt historian and shares history of fabric, techniques, patterns, and theory. She has a great sense of humor too. Seriously, I spent about 2 hours just looking through her blog my first time there. If you like to read quilt history this is definelety the place to do it. But that's not where she's hosting the Block of the Week. That's here, another fun blog that Barbara writes. Every week she posts a block tutorial and a short history lesson to go along with it. And she's doing this all year long, so there will be 52 blocks when we finish!

It's just a coincidence that I'm using Barbara's fabric for Barbara's quilt along. I was looking for some fabric to go with quilt, found it, and purchased it. Then later that day I was reading the blog more intently and realized I bought the designer's fabric! Too funny!

What do you think? Should I cut into them right away, or just carry them around with me all weekend and look at them?!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Want This Boot!

What a great weekend! It was too short, of course, but very productive! Between the usual running errands, grocery shopping, chores, and marathon cooking sessions I managed to sneak in a big chunk of sewing time. We drove out to the country to visit my grandmother on Saturday and my husband even went through our outside storage and dug my hula hoops out for me.

The most fun of this weekend though was making my first Boot Bash block. Look how cute it turned out! I want this boot! I successfully used fusible web for the first time. Yes, I've used it before, but not successfully! This time I knew what I was doing (more or less!) and the only mishap was that I ironed a little bit of the sticky stuff to my ironing board.

I'm using old men's shirts for the backgrounds. I used brown felt for textural effect. I'll have to look around for some soft pieces of leather for the next few blocks. Wouldn't that be pretty? I also used an old bandana stolen from one of my personal favorite cowboys; my good friend Cactus. Cactus is one of my favorite people: a fabulous poet and a bartender and a terrific dancer who has great taste in music and movies. He's so much fun. I would drive an hour outside of town just to sit at his bar to listen to his stories. He worked at The Bar in Indian Springs, NV. According to Cactus, it was the bar that Garth Brooks sings about in his song "Friends in Low Places," but I have not been able to confirm nor deny that. The Bar was called The Oasis before it became The Bar, and the old sign out front still says that.

Anyway, I used a piece of his bandana for the foot part of the boot. Then I fussy-cut some designs to spice it up. I know there's this odd, floating tear-drop shape in my block, but I decided I like it. No reason for it to be there, but that's okay! I sewed the boot strap to the boot piece to make it 3-D. It sticks out a little bit. I found out I'm not good at blanket stitching. I think I had the wrong setting on my machine. A Blind-Hem stitch is different than a Blanket Stitch, right? I can't wait until the end when I have a quilt of fabulous looking cowboy boots. Yee-Haw!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Tie One On!

Tonight I was poking around Jenny of Elefantz's blog. I was checking out her free BOM stitchery when I noticed this post. Turning old skirts into cute aprons, what a great idea!

I jumped right up. "I have a cute skirt!" The perfect skirt that I've been saving for years!

This skirt was given to me. I had to lose weight to fit into this skirt, which I did. I wore it for about two summers before the zipper broke. I never wanted to fix the zipper since the skirt never fit right anyway and was too hot and I could never find the perfect shirt, blah, blah, blah. But it's too cute to give away! Apparently that was my plan, since I had to dig it out of my Goodwill bag.

So I cut it up, hemmed it, added a cute tie and modeled it for my husband. Half an hour, including search time. Too cute!

Here it is hanging in my kitchen, all ready to go! What a fabulous idea for recycling cute skirts. Keep an eye out at the thrift store for that perfect skirt. The best part: It doesn't even have to be in your size for you to wear it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

These Boots Were Made for Sewing

Happy Friday! Let's have a great weekend full of sewing!! Yay!

Have you been to Molly's Place yet? She has the cutest blog ever. She's a die-hard Texan girl who loves everything country! I was just over there listening to David Allen Coe and George Strait and studying her Boot Bash BOM. This BOM is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I was so excited to start this when Molly posted a teaser picture.

I can't wait to have a whole quilt of just cowboy boots! I think I'm going to skip the Month Embroideries (eg, I'm not going to stitch January or February onto the blocks). This is perfect for me. I LOVE shoes. And I LOVE cowboy boots.

Yes, I even decorate with cowboy boots! I have some great cowboy fabrics in my stash too. I was already planning on doing a cowboy boot quilt and bought all the fabric for it. Then I took the time to really study the pattern and decided I hated it. So the fabric has been sitting in my closet for two years now. How sad, huh? But this will be a fabulous quilt to use it on! The boots are so stylish!

I'm so never going to be a stager. I don't know how to take pictures of stacks of beautiful fabric. Is there a tutorial for that?!

Ok, I'm super excited now. I have Molly's blog playing country music on an open tab and now it's time to put the boot to the grind, so to speak. I'm off to make my first block, right after I post her button!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

2011 Goals

With a new year comes a time to make changes. I am definitely a goal-setting kind of girl. I love to set goals all day long. I set goals for the week, the month, the year. I don't wait for New Year's Day to start working on my goals. But might as well start some new goals for the New Year!

Goal #1: Get healthy. My husband and I are working on this together. We started the Body for Life diet on Jan 2. I've been feeling a bit like a stuffed sausage lately and am getting tired of it. We are doing the Body For Life Challenge. We also quit smoking again on Jan 3. We quit smoking this summer but it didn't stick. This time we are more serious!

To help me stick with my new diet and exercise plan I've joined in the Weight Loss pool at A Feathered Nest. Abby writes a super cute blog with all kinds of crafty ideas. She is hosting a Weight Loss Challenge right now. Everyone throws in $10 and the person who loses the most percentage of weight gets the money! Cute, huh? I've already lost 2 lbs!

Goal #2: Spend 15 minutes per day in my sewing room. I already mentioned this as one of my goals for this year. There are most nights I'll let slip by and spend my free hour on the couch. Squeezing in a work-out and nightly sewing into my already jam-packed schedule is asking a lot, but I have faith in myself. Besides, I do the dishes and clean the cat box everyday, why not sew?

Goal #3: Learn how to embroider. Or stitch. I'm not even sure what it's called. I see it all over BlogLand though and I love them! I'm going to join Birdie Stiches BOM. Looks like fun!

Goal #4: Practice more FMQ. I've never been an artist. Well, I've never drawn. So I don't have that natural flow that comes with doodling and playing. I need to get that. I've been hoarding scrap paper from work and need to start doodling in my free time.

Goal #5: Buy a home! My husband and I are saving money every month for a down payment on a home of our own. This will happen more towards the end of the year, but is weighing on our minds now.

Those are some awesome goals to get me started. Wish me luck!

Monday, January 3, 2011

2011 UFO Bust Bash

Susan over at Blackberry Creek Home Arts is hosting a UFO Bust! Susan has a great blog with lots of recipes, quilts, dishes, and beautiful home decorating. I love her Yellow House! Come join the party while we bust some UFOs and earn the chance to win prizes! It doesn't have to be quilty UFOs, it can be any crafty project that has been languishing in the back of your closets or under your beds. The only rule is that it has to be started. So my cute Cowboy quilt that I never cut a piece on but bought two years ago doesn't count. Yet.

I'll be posting my progress every Friday. You might see a lot of "I thought about working on this project but read blogs all night instead posts." Actually, you might see a lot of those!

I don't have many UFOs, but as I mentioned before, I normally get to the B's of quilting then get sidetracked. The B's being Borders, Backing and Basting. So here's my list:

1. Love Quilt -backing, quilting
2. Bliss -backing, quilting
3. My very first quilt -backing, quilting

4. Floating Lilypads -backing, quilting

5. Rehab -unpicking, re-sewing, backing, quilting

Yeah, I totally didn't iron these before taking pictures. And they've been balled up in some box since we've moved. The one above even has a weird spot. I think a bottle of soy sauce broke above it and leaked onto it. I'll try to hand-wash it this weekend, since I have some cashmere sweaters to wash too. This quilt has been a nightmare, but that's another post.

6. Twilight Sampler -1 last block, sashing, setting, etc.
7. H & I's -I don't even know. Pull out squares and see where I'm at
8. Christmas Sampler -blocks half-done
9. Layer Cake Quilt Along -2 blocks made so far
10. Finish Binding Purse -needs a button and a button hole. I'm intimidated and it's sat for over a year!

No pictures, I'm lazy!

I have a big resolution for myself. I want to try to spend 15 minutes per day in my sewing room. Doesn't sound like much to most people, but my schedule is jam-packed already and I only really have time on the weekends. But come on, I can find 15 minutes per day, right?

Maybe. But that's why it's a resolution.