Thursday, September 30, 2010

Customized--Award-Winning Speech Edition

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to make one of those acceptance speeches, you know, like "First I'd like to thank the Academy..."

When I got an email from Kristin Link of Sew, Mama, Sew, asking me to make a pincushion for her friend, Mo Bodell, well, it sorta felt like being nominated for a major award.

I love Mo's fabric, Party Dress, and making a pincushion from this fabric was really fun. I hope she likes it.

*gasp* They just called me name. (trying not to stumble over my designer dress from Target as I go up the steps to make my speech....)

"First, I would like to thank the director (I mean, fabric designer)  for such beautiful designs. Your talent is amazing. I would like to thank  the producer (uh, fabric manufacturer) for giving me such great 'material" to work with. It makes my job so easy. I would like to especially thank the script writers for all the wonderful information you put on the selvages. Without you, it would be a lot harder to 'selvage my sanity.'

I would like to thank my fellow bloggers, who are a constant source of inspiration. This one is for you, Amanda Jean.

 I would like to thank the supporting actors who made this pincushion possible, especially  Robert Kaufman for designing "Crazy for Dots and Stripes," MoMo for allowing me to use just part of your name, and "Quilts," wherever you are--and you know who you are (because I don't remember...)

Further, I would like to thank Jennifer Paganelli, for having the most amazing selvages, and using lots of names in her fabric lines--Jennifer, without you it would be a lot harder to customize. And to Jean Ray Laury. You are a legend in the quilting community--a lot of newer quilters may not be familiar with you, but you followed your own path and made some amazing contributions, including designing six lines of fabric for FreeSpirit and having a quilt included in the 20th Century's 100 Best Quilts. And you come from central California, right where I live.
Finally, I want to thank my husband, Mark. You give me unwavering encouragement and support. Without you, none of this would be possible.

(Hope you all heard that last part, because they just cued the music for me to

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Serendipity: "That Girl, That Quilt" style

One of my best bloggy friends, Jennifer, just put her first pattern up for sale (just click on the pattern picture to purchase and it will arrive in your email box lickety split). It's called Serendipity, and as she defines serendipity, it is the faculty of making fortunate discoveries by accident.

However, I'm sure this discovery yesterday was no accident:  the very same day she posted her first pattern, I got my shipment of AMH's new fabric, Innocent Crush, in the mail (thanks to whipstitch, by the way). Jennifer's pattern calls for fat quarters. Can you believe it? That is exactly what arrived in the mail!

I'm starting to cut this afternoon. How very serendipitous!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stitch. Snip. Snip.

I'm only giving you little snippets about this quilt project, because it's not my project--I'm just helping out a bit. For more pictures on what this super cute quilt will look like, go here.  

Here's the basic procedure. Start with lots of strip sets carefully pinned together:

Stitch. (but only 1 1/2 inches each time).



Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Etc. (you're getting the idea, right?)

Take a look at the view.

Back to work.

Stitch. Snip. Snip. Eventually you will have a pretty pile like this.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Things that start with "s"

Ashley posted a couple of things today that start with "a," definitely worth checking out.

Today I have things that start with "s".

Stripes. "Eliza" by Jennifer Paganelli--it's getting hard to find but I found some here--and next to dots, I love a good stripe.

Swap: Lindsay and I traded 2 1/2" squares for hexagons and we also did a pincushion trade. I made her a 2" selvage pincushion for her sewing kit, and she sent me this super adorable pincushion that you wear on your finger. In fact, I think one of my 20-something friends wants to grab it and wear it out to dinner. (And of course I did a little happy dance for that top square of FMF!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Does Not Compute

Totally ripping off the blog post title from Audrie's post of yesterday. And thanks, Audrie. Hope you don't mind too much. Your conversation posts are some of my favorites!
Have any of you had to make the little wooden cars for a Pinewood Derby race? When Aaron was 10 or so, he and Mark carefully carved and painted a car each year for four years. Their cars weren't always the prettiest, but they were pretty fast. I was going through boxes in the attic trying to find some of Aaron's old storybooks that Charlotte and Levi would enjoy now. And I found four of these Pinewood Derby racecars.

Last night, Aaron was looking at his car from 1988, and on the bottom it said "a Grand Champ" (I think that carved out area was for weights or something to give the car some heft and make it speedier...).

Then this short conversation took place:

Aaron (handing the car over to Charlotte, who just turned 4 on Sunday): "Charlotte, this is what victory feels like."

Charlotte (handing the car back to her father): "Daddy, it just feels like wood."
Bonus picture:

Friday, September 17, 2010

Third time's a charm...sort of

Like a lot of you, I'm in a couple of bee swaps. This month's swap leader requested Drunkard's Path.

No problem. In my day, I have set in a lot of sleeves into garments, without any puckers, I might add.

In preparation, I even ordered a special foot, called the Curve Master, as it claims pinning the convex and concave pieces is unnecessary. I printed out the tutorial. I watched the video. Ready to go.

Wait a minute....this can't be right. I must have done something wrong...

Something is definitely wrong. No problem. I'll just try it again, this time without the Curve Master, and with pins. Carefully pinning the center, then both ends, and working my way back to the center.

I don't think so...I'll try it once more, pinning closer together this time.

Ugh. Still not right. (Question: would you keep me in your bee??)

Let me read those directions again. "Place those pieces together matching centers with the white on top. Pin from the center to the outer edges. You will have some little white hangovers on each side. This is okay."

Okay. Wait a minute. Where is that homemade pecan pie Mark brought me last night? I need sustenance.

Don't worry. This is not a full-sized pie. It is only 5" across, and I already ate about a fourth of it last night. But I know a couple of bites will give me the energy I need to try it again. Ran out of other "practice" fabric--(sure hope I don't need it for the sampler quilt-along I was using it for). Oh, well, I'll try this fabric.

Not too bad.

The real fabric pinned together. Feeling a little nervous...

Look! No puckers. Hmmmm...why is there more white fabric hanging over on one side than the other?

I probably need some more pie.

Tangent thought: are you a "geometric" eater? Do you like your pie/brownie edges nice and neat? I'll just eat trim that pie so it's a little neater as well...

There. Much better.

After the edges are trimmed and all four components put together...

Our bee partner said we only had to make one block, but I was kind of on a roll, so I sewed the rest of the parts together too...

Not bad. Maybe my bee partners will keep me after all. Now, where is the rest of that pecan pie?


The pie worked its magic, because then I turned around the did this (oops--sorry for the untrimmed threads--I was just happy to be done).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Color Therapy Thursday--the hexie lovers edition

I know there are lot of hexie lovers out there.

Jessica Jones from How About Orange (and I also know there are a lot How About Orange readers out there too...) posted the link to this freebie the other day, a hexie notecard!

Or possibly the inspiration for your next hexie project using Kona cotton....

You can get the free download here. Isn't it amazing? Yeah, I knew you all would think so too...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

More info on interfacing (than you might have wanted to know...)

I hope you have all ordered your copy of The Bag Making Bible by now. Yesterday I mentioned my confusion about interfacing, which is one of the major things that keeps me from plunging into bag making. Interfacing, interlining, different weights, fusible, nonfusible, fleece. Ack!

Lisa has a lot of information on interfacing. She has information on every component of bag making that  you can think of.

In fact, that is why I love this book so much (from her blog post of 9/13):

"My bag making book is written more with a focus on bag making techniques. Before I sat down and did any writing I looked through as many of the other bag making books that I could get my mitts on. On reading them I noticed that none of these books concentrated on how to make the various parts of a bag. They were more likely to be 'how to make 20-30 bag designs'. I wanted to do something completely different to the other bag books so I wrote about how to construct the different parts of a bag; like how to do/how to understand linings, pockets, handles, structure, piping, interfacing and stuff like that."

I buy probably 95 percent of my fabric from my favorite online retailers. Then I use my 40% coupon to buy the non-fun but necessary stuff from Joann's. Here's the thing about interfacing. At least at my local Joann's, it is behind the counter so you have to tell the clerk what you want (lightweight, medium, nonwoven, etc.) and hope they are well-versed in interfacing knowledge. What I really want to do is go behind the counter and feel everything for myself. Barring that, I would like to have a stack of bolts brought to me so I can be the judge of what I want. Not a good idea when you have a line of people behind you with their little pull-off number in their hands, waiting for their turn, and you are standing there saying, "Hmmm... which is better? A or B? 1 or 2?" You know, kind of like when you are getting your eyes tested for glasses...

Lisa also has an online shop where she stocks all the components necessary to make fabulous bags, so of course, she has all the interfacing, etc. She lives in the UK, and while I certainly wouldn't be opposed to ordering from her shop, I started a little google search to see if I could find something comparable here in the US. She stocks a brand called Vilene. In searching a little further, it looks like Vilene and Pellon are quite similar. And then I found this on Amy Butler's website:  a comparison chart. And you would be amazed at how excited I was to find that. Apparently I'm very easily excitable...

Amy wrote the foreword for Lisa's book, and aside from Amy and Lisa ringing my doorbell one morning and saying, "Oh, you're sewing the Fashionista bag today? Well, here you go. This is the interfacing that you will need for that project," and handing me a nice little package tied in a pretty ribbon (and then me fainting from the excitement of Amy and Lisa at my front door), this comparison chart is exactly what I'm looking for.

What kinds of things keep you from starting projects you really would like to attempt?

 pillow available from Raindrops23

Do tell....

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My new favorite book

I received my copy of The Bag Making  Bible in the mail last week and it has totally blown me away! Now I know a lot of you make bags, and some of you design your own bag patterns. So you have no fear. I want to add some cute bags using selvages into my etsy shop, but for some reason they totally intimidate me.  It's not the zippers, as I sewed my own clothing for years. Actually, it is the interfacing. Yeah, I know, some unimpressive and boring-looking but oh-so-imporant fusible interfacing has me whipped. It confuses me. Even when I worked in the local quilt shop. A customer would come in with questions about fusible interfacing and I would pawn them off on another employee.

No longer!

This impressive book by Lisa Lam  (who also has an amazing blog) has all the information you need about anything having to do with making spectacular bags. It is geared toward the beginner with lots tips, secrets, information and advice for more advanced sewists. I can't wait to get started.

Last fall I was given this skirt. I had contemplated what to do with it. Now I have a plan!

After I wash it to make the wool nice and "felty," I'm going to attempt this:

Isn't this an awesome bag? Lisa takes you step by step through all the amazing designer details. The skirt has some great orange taffeta lining and some orange leather around the waistband and I'm going to attempt to incorporate both of those somewhere into the bag.

And speaking of orange, it just makes me so happy that my Cheetos (baked, not fried--I try to be as healthy as possible with my junk food) bag has "selvage" color registration dots on the package. And you can thank Mark for pointing that out to me...

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Photo Op

A few of you may have gotten emails from me asking how you blur the backgrounds on your pictures, especially you, you (yes, flea market fancy, so nicely blurred...), you, and you. And I have received many helpful suggestions. I went to our local camera store, which specializes in Canon. I read countless suggestions in chatrooms, blogs, etc. And along the way, I learned a lot more about aperture, shutter speed, ISO--the "photographic triangle" that is responsible for getting me the look that I want (note: I highly recommend the book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson for a lot of easy-to-understand information). The bottom line: nothing worked for my Canon G9 (something to do with the sensor). Now in all fairness to the G9, it is a great camera. Except it loves keeping things nicely focused. Which is great. Unless you are obsessed interested in having a blurred background.

Mark got really tired of hearing about my blur obsession generously said, "Honey, just go get a Canon SLR." Really. He is just the greatest husband around.

And he even said, "Yes, of course add the 100 mm macro lens" (used, because a new one carries a price tag that even a super generous husband wasn't going along with).

You'd think I could give you a better picture of this new addition to our family.

But it's taken with my G9, totally in a hurry.

And so, of course, everything is nicely in focus...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Variety Show

This weekend I worked on three very different customized pincushions.

Felicity wanted a pincushion attached to a thread catcher. She sent me the link to a great tutorial and this is how it turned out:

The name of her blog is Felicity Quilts, so we're both pretty happy that Emily Taylor for Riley Blake Designs came out with some fabric called "Felicity," which included the great polka dots that I used on the outside of the thread catcher.

Lindsay and I started corresponding through Flickr because we each wanted some more variety for our hexie quilts. We're doing an exchange of 2.5" squares. She also makes the cutest pincushions that you wear on a finger, but she wanted a little 2" square pincushion she could put in her sewing kit. So along with the fabric squares, we're doing a pincushion exchange. And for the record, smaller does not mean easier...

Terri likes the square pincushions, but wondered if I had ever done a round one. So another experiment...
And she likes rock music. I have yards of this fabric for a Hard Rock Cafe t-shirt quilt that I will eventually make, but I could certainly spare a square for the back:

Someone also gave me the idea of making a wrist pincushion. So that is next up on the drawing board. Any other ideas I should think about?

Friday, September 3, 2010


I'm at Lakeview Cottages until tomorrow morning, working and hopefully sewing. Mark informed me that he is tired of looking at Britney Spears' underarms. Charlotte and Levi spent a couple of nights at our house the beginning of the week, so until I can show you some pictures of the blocks I'm working on, this will be a good alternative: