Friday, July 29, 2011

Blogger's Summer Fair

Ah, the Fair! My favorite time of summer. Corn dogs, corn cobs, quilts, cotton candy, quilts, hypnotists, games, giant stuffed animals, quilts, sno-cones, over-priced beer, and, did I mention, quilts?!

Gen X Quilters Summer Fair

This Summer Fair is for bloggers. You don't have to leave your house to see all the beautiful quilts and drool over the yummy food! I worked on my submission all day today! May I present to you:

Mack and Jennifer's Wedding Quilt

This is actually a replica of the quilt I made and gifted for our Reverend. We got married in front of this quilt at the Burning Man Festival (the most awesome Summer Fair in the world!) last summer. I free-motion quilted large feathery hearts around the heart blocks.

I love how this design expands beyond the square. Like our love is too big to box! In the borders I did a free-hand loop-de-loop and hearts. I also quilted our first names at the head of the quilt and our last name at the foot. On the sides I quilted "Forever and Ever," "Eternal Bliss" (that's engraved in our wedding rings), "True Love", "Love", and "Bliss."

In each corner I quilted a special date. The day we met, the first time we said "I love you," the date he proposed, and of course, the date of our wedding, Sept 2, 2010.

In the border I quilted our sweet special nothings we tell each other constantly. "I love being married to you," "You are the love of my life," "We were made for each other," are just a few of the phrases.

I know it's hard to see the red thread on the red fabric, but I told my husband it was more private that way. It's kind of like our sweet secret.

Have I grossed you out with all this LOVE yet?! I finished the quilting in a marathon quilting session today and then made and attached the binding. It still needs to be sewn down and the label added, but I was so excited to show everyone! It's approx 45 inches across by 60 inches tall. Here's its cousin at our wedding:

Ahh...aren't we cute?! I am completely in love with this quilt and can't wait to finish!

Go to Gen X Quilters
blog right now to check out all the other entries! (WTF?! Blogger won't let me type links in line right now, ugh!) If you'd like to link up, post a submission to the quilt show by August 3rd. Coincidentally, we are going to the California State Fair tomorrow. We will be the ones holding hands and being blissfully in love! <3

Blissfully Finished!

I have a UFO Bust to report today! I'm linking up with Susan from Blackberry Creek Home Arts for the Friday UFO Report.

I finished my Bliss Quilt!

Stats: Pattern Charming Stars by Stefanie from Little Lady Patchwork for Moda Bake Shop. I changed it to make it smaller so I could use 2 Charm Packs of Bliss. It will be my cubicle quilt for when the AC is pumping hard and I'm wearing a dress.

Quilting: FMQ by me. I copied the designs from 501 Quilting Motifs and then did it free-hand. The stars were hand quilted. I really love how it turned out. I wish I would have learned to correctly bury my quilting knot before I began this. I learned towards the end. So some knots are visible. This quilt gave me so much confidence in my FMQ skills.

Backing: Some random piece of fabric I found. It's super soft and cuddly. I had to add a few leftover charm squares and some flying geese units made from the triangle scraps cut from the stars to make it big enough.

Binding was hand sewn to the back. My binding skills improved a lot too! Working with a smaller binding helps so much. I used 2 1/4 strips. I made sure to pack the binding with batting, something that took me a while to catch on to! I found the binding at Joann's Fabrics and it matches perfectly.

What's that? A label?! Haha, my first label. I wrote with a Micron Pen. This little guy was a bonus piece I got from cutting the star corners off. I hand stitched it to the back. This taught me to consider the label as I do my backing next time! I made the label and stiched it last night just so I can finally say:

This quilt is finished!

It's really straight, this angle is just weird :)

Started: Nov 20, 2010.

Monday, July 25, 2011

FNSI Results: FAIL

What?! It’s already Monday? Where did the weekend go? I was soooo lazy this weekend. I spent 80% of my time surfing Failbook.

Weekend Fail.

What a booger.

I had some problems with my quilt and Friday night did not go like I thought it would. This is what happened:

1.Spend a few hours marking quilt
2.Decide I did it wrong. Spend 2 minutes ironing marks out.
3.Spend a few hours marking quilt
4.Quilt a block
5.Decide I don’t like it. Change the thread, quilt another block.
6.Decide it’s not the thread. It’s the design. Change the design, quilt another block.
7.Decide that’s too much quilting. Quilt another block, this time not so much.
9.Spend 30 minutes sitting on the bed next to husband agonizing over which block design and thread combo works best.
10.Decide on the Perfect one from Step 8.

Geez Jen. What a total waste of FNSI. There wasn’t even wine involved. Maybe that’s what went wrong. This is all I got done:

I quilted six of these. Here's a pic of the template:

I thought I would make up some time on Sunday, but this is how that went:

1.Walk into sewing room refreshed and jazzed. Spend an hour marking quilt, all the while jumping up to do laundry or dishes whenever my timer went off.
2.Lunchtime. Hmmm…maybe I’ll check out Failbook while I eat my rice.
3.Spend the next 4.5 hours on Failbook, sitting on the couch with my rice plate on the coffee table.
4.Finally tear my eyes away from my phone (yes, I read 250 pages of Failbook on my iPhone, what a loser!) to watch Harry Potter and bind my Bliss Quilt.
5.Last hour before bed, run around like crazy packing my lunch, picking out clothes, and gathering everything for work today.

Wow! I know, you’re totally jealous of my fabulous life. “How does she do it all?”

If you’re thinking about clicking on this Failbook link, I’m warning you now: Don’t do it!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Woo-Hoo! Let's Sew!

It’s Friday Night Sew In! It’s also UFO Weekend Party, and it all kicks off tonight! I’m super excited.

I pulled out my Love Quilt. This quilt is very special to me. I gave the original quilt to the Reverend who married us, and made another copy for us to keep. At the last moment, we decided to hang the quilt as a backdrop for our wedding ceremony. We’ve been married for almost a year now. I think it’s time to get our Love Quilt quilted up!

The first copy hanging behind us at our wedding.

Last night I picked a quilt design from the book 501 Quilting Designs. I traced the design onto freezer paper and made a basic stencil. I cut the away the outside and the inside of the stencil and traced a few blocks last night. I still need to figure out a way to trace the inside lines.

So that's my plan tonight: trace and quilt! I'll be impressed if I can get the whole quilt traced, but I'll be pushing to start the quilting!

I'm linking up with other UFO Busters at Blackberry Creek Home Arts. I don't have a bust this weekend, but I have a start, and that's just as important!

Woo-Hoo! Let's sew!

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Hello Bloggers! I’ve missed you! Being away for 3 whole days really takes a toll on me, lol! We had a great camping trip: lots of ATV-riding, shooting, sunning, swimming, cooking, and eating! Lots and lots of eating, actually! Corn-on-the-cob cooked in an open fire, beef jerky, potato chips, watermelon, salmon…you name it; we pigged out on it! My mom decided to leave a day early, and like the lemmings we are, we all followed her.

Since I got home a day early, I decided it was only fair to go back to work a day early.


Haha, almost had you there! Of course I didn’t go to work. Instead I spent the day lounging around the house, doing a zillion loads of laundry from camping and playing in my sewing room! What a great way to end a vacation. I think I’ll try to end every vacation that way from now on. A quiet little decompression at my sewing machine.

I finished my Jewel in the Crown BOM block for July. I mostly like this block, except the dot fabric and the pink blend too well together. And I messed up on my paper piecing. I started in the wrong place. There was a lot of cutting and pasting and finagling and crossing my fingers and holding my breath to get the pieces to look right. Luckily, I’m very experienced in covering up mistakes, so it looks fine!

Then I finished my Boot Bash BOM for April. I was afraid it would be too much purple, but it looks really cute in person. The small, dark purple pieces were cut from a Crown Royal bag. I added some pink stitching to it. Now I’m only 3 months behind. I need to get cracking on these!

Any plans for the weekend? I am playing in the Friday Night Sew In ! Woo-Hooo! I’ll also be linking up at the UFO Weekend Party at Pigtales and Quilts and will be working on a UFO. That’s two chances to win on Friday night! Great motivation to convince you to stay home and work on a UFO. I pulled a new UFO out last night, but don’t know if I’m ready to dive in quilting it just yet. I guess you will see tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

X Marks the Quilter

Who’s that? A Generation X Quilter? Wow, look, a Generation X Quilter! I want to be a quilter! I love quilts! Can I see pictures of your quilts?

Those are the comments I am sure I will get when I wear my new Generation X Quilter T-shirt around town. I can’t wait! Annemarie also sent me these gorgeous Hawaiian-style fat quarters and a sweet card. Thanks Annemarie!

Are you a Generation X Quilter? I admit, I had to look it up because I wasn’t sure. Generation X is 1965 to 1981. That’s barely me! I was born in 1981 (stop doing the math, I’m 30!), but I am also considered a Generation Y Quilter, which is 1981 to 1990. I straddle. :)

Gen X Quilters

Anyway, if you fall between these letters and you love to make quilts, link up with Gen X Quilter on the Blogroll page and check out who else is there too!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bustin Out

On Saturday morning we are leaving for a 5 day camping trip. I am so excited. I love camping, and this time we are camping with my family, which is a rare treat. I packed a few hand-appliqué pieces from my Christmas Sampler UFO, and will be working on those. I may or may not also pack my Bliss UFO, on which I am finally hand-stitching the binding. I don’t want it to get dirty, or rather, dirtier, but am excited to finally get this quilt finished!

Hopefully, next week when I link up with my fellow UFO Busters I’ll have a finish to show!

Will you be working on any UFOs this weekend? Grab a few hours and bust one of those lingering UFOs! Pick one now, snap a picture, and link up with Thearica at Pigtales and Quilts. Look what I won last week:

Awesome! I can’t wait to start playing with these appliqué shapes. Thanks Thearica!

This week I won’t be playing in the UFO Weekend Party. So sad. No internet or electricity where I’m going! Have a great weekend everyone!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Weekend UFO Quilt-A-Thon

For the last two days I've been quilting away on my Rehab quilt. I am linking up with Thearica at Pigtales and Quilts for her Weekend UFO Challenge. I'm so happy to be working on it and making some progress. I try NOT to think about how much more work I have to do on it. There is tons more. For this weekend I just picked a quadrant and quilted feather sprays. A reminder of the Before:

I know, you can't really see anything. Here's my paper stencils pinned to the quilt. I started with ten at a time.

My goal was to do 20 feather sprays this weekend. Here's what I did:

That's 25 done! It took me about 5 hours. And another hour to tear the paper off. Grrr.

Here's a close-up

I wish you could see better. When this quilt is finally done I think I'll have a photo shoot professionally done. There's such great quilting on there.

Some good progress! My FMQ is getting smoother and easier. I don't fight with the machine as much and feel more in control. I'm working better at quilting in the lines.

I hope you come play UFO's next week with us. Thearica will be picking prizes from everyone who links up and works on a UFO over the weekend. If enough people play you even have a chance to win a $100 gift certificate to her store, which carries quilting treasures such as buttons, charms, and extra-wide backings. There were only 2 participants this weekend, so there's a great chance you can win a prize! Plus, getting some work done on your UFO's is so worth it!

Friday, July 8, 2011

UFO Progress and Plans


Where I’ve been:

This week not much sewing going on, UFO or otherwise. I’ve been hand quilting my Bliss Quilt. I did not think I would like hand quilting. It always seemed to me that it would be soooo boring. And why do something by hand that could easily (and much better) be done by machine? Surprise! Hand quilting is the MOST fun! It’s so relaxing and zen. Forget needle turn appliqué and hand-stitched binding. Those seem like chores compared to hand quilting. I really like the look of it too. Like it’s been stitched with lots of love.

At first I was just going to do the flower design by hand. Then I finished that and couldn’t stop! I decided to outline quilt inside the star. I thought it would make the star design stand out more. But I was worried it might make the quilting crowded and over-done. I was so wrong! I love how it looks.

I’m linking up with Susan at Blackberry Creek Home Arts. She’s been cracking the quilty whip on us to get our UFOs done. Thanks Susan! You’re awesome and inspiring!


Where I’m going:

This weekend I have some planned sewing time. First up will be my Rehab quilt. I searched every nook and cranny of my sewing room last night for my missing thread. I even dragged my husband from his video game and he helped. I blamed the cats, I found my little brother’s allergy medicine he lost 3 months ago, pulled the cushions from the couch and even had my husband look under the bed in our bedroom (blaming the cats again). Finally found it. In a drawer. Under my sewing machine. So I’m all set to FMQ to my heart’s content.

This is my before picture. I know, there’s not much to see. It’s hard to photograph. But I plan on completing 20 feather sprays this weekend. I think that’s doable. I can’t believe how huge this quilt is. It’s a monster.

I'm linking up with Thearica from Pigtales and Quilts. The idea is to work on your UFO this weekend and write a Before and After post. Thearica will be drawing prizes and you get some work done on some old UFO's. It's a win/win, so come by and hang out!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Civil War Update

I’ve been slowly working on my Civil War blocks. I really do love these. I can see myself working with Civil War Repros after this. I am so languid with these blocks.

My set-up is I spend a day cutting a bunch of blocks and stick them in Ziplock baggies on my bulletin board. Whenever I feel like it, I just grab a bag, lay out the blocks, and guess which block I grabbed. Sometimes I use the pieces as leaders and enders while working on another project. Sometimes I feel like just piecing CW blocks that night. No rush, no stress, no worries. Just right.

This block has been cut since it was posted. The other night I was feeling horrible and wanted some mindless sewing. Real mindless. Piecing was just too much for me. The appliqué stars were perfect. Set the Bernina to zig-zag and zone out.

Last night I put all my blocks in order. I can’t wait to see them altogether. I have a list of numbers and I just cross the number off as I do them. I have 15 out of 27 blocks completed. Not too bad.
There were a few I made wrong or short or cut wrong and didn’t notice until I went to put the block together. Those I circle on my list so I know to go back and re-cut the pieces. Or find another set of instructions for that block.

My basket block needs a handle. I’ll have to find a tutorial for that. Bias stem? Is that what the technique is called? I’m sure I’ll figure it out. I save those kinds of projects for nights when I’m really motivated to sew and want to work out a puzzle. Like I said, languid and relaxed.

BTW, a big thank you to everyone who left a comment on my last post. I feel = so much better and really appreciate the support. Quilters in Blogland are the best!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Insults and Family

Being around family is tough. This weekend I went to a family BBQ. My little brother was there and said something that really hurt me. I don’t think he meant it to hurt, or even thought about what he said before he said it. My reaction was to make a joke, laugh it off, and then hide on the back patio for the rest of the evening before leaving the party early.

I am not going to share what he said, but I have the perfect analogy. It’s like a little 2 year old child who comes to you and says “You’re fat!” Except my brother is 21 years old. And though his comment wasn't about my weight (although there were some of those), it did hit me right in the shame-gut.

I was hurt he would think something like that of me. My first instinct was to lash out: “Well, at least I can hold down a job. Well, maybe, but I’ve seen and done more things in my life than you ever will. Well, at least I have manners.” You get the idea.

My second instinct was to forgive him. He’s young and very sheltered and has very little life experience with which to judge. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He’s just a rude little boy. He meant it as a joke. But thinking on this later makes me not want to forgive him. He is a rude boy. He should know better. He's an adult now and should think before he speaks.

Then last, I faced the truth in his statement. Well, maybe I am? Have I been slowly backsliding and allow myself to become this way? Is this what my family thinks of me? Does everyone think this of me? Is he finally bringing to my attention what everyone else is whispering behind my back?

So now I walk the fine line. Do I let this comment bother me? Do I accept it as constructive criticism? Do I take shame in it and begin to hide what I don’t want the family to see? Do I withdraw from my brother, nursing my wounds and feeding my resentment (aka: here’s your stupid Christmas present, brat). Do I let it roll off my back, and keep the family role as the easy-going-nothing-bothers-me child? I feel as though I’m at a fork in a trail and my decision will affect my future relationship not only with my brother, but with my family as well. Just when you think you can't live without them, somebody proves that you certainly can!

Friday, July 1, 2011

UFO Bust Report

I have been super motivated to work on my UFO’s these last two weeks. I am linking up with Susan's UFO Bust group. I finished the machine quilting on my Bliss Quilt and am working on hand-quilting the center design. Isn’t it cute?! I’m so proud of myself for doing all the FMQ free-hand. Weird Fact: I draw with my sewing machine MUCH better than I do with a pencil.

I also pulled out my ginormous Rehab quilt and quilted some feather wreaths. I’m still paper-quilting (following the design on paper pinned to the quilt). Don’t quite feel comfortable with feathers yet. I did 7 feather wreaths last Friday night. When I first started doing these, I would try to get 5 done in a week. Now I’m zooming right along! This quilt is all about slow progress, and I’m okay with that.

I misplaced the huge cone of bobbin thread I’ve been using and that has stalled me from pulling it out again. I knew I should never have cleaned my sewing room!

Then I pulled out my Christmas Sampler Quilt. This is going to be one funny quilt. It was the second quilt I ever started and there are a lot of techniques in this quilt: photo transfer, paper-piecing, needle-turn appliqué, machine appliqué, embroidery. Most of it was my first time trying that technique. Add that to the fact it was only my second quilt and I was still learning a correct ¼ inch seam. This is also where I learned the difference between “finished size” and “will finish at” size. So some of the blocks look like a kindergartner sewed them. Whatever! It was and still is a learning process. It’s a good quilt to watch my skills evolve. So I’ve been grabbing a few minutes here and there to put together a block.

I am a lot farther than I thought. Hopefully we will be able to put it out this Christmas! I would love to hang it on the wall.

(It's not the camera angle, that block is totally wonky!)

So lots of UFO progress this week! Better than that, I’m motivated and having fun working on these. Thanks for the motivation Susan!