Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Little Things Make Me Happy

It’s hard for me to believe that the time has passed by so quickly, but in the middle of January, my blog turned two years old. The first year, blogging was very intermittent for me. As my sewing skills improved that year, I cared MUCH more about sewing than blogging about my sewing. Then last year when I got my new machine, and I attended BOTH Quiltmarkets, I worked on trying to be more consistent blogging.

This year, as part of my plan to move my business and craft to the next level, I drafted an actual PLAN. A calendar. With short term goals and long term goals. And targets. You name it, I planned for it. So far, it has been a smashing success! I have blogged at least once a week and I have watching my subscribers slowly tick up.
I told myself that if I hit 50 followers I would have a giveaway. Just because it would be a cool thing to celebrate.

So here’s the rules for entries in the giveaway…you can

1. Follow my blog
2. Leave a comment if you’re already a follower about your favorite post I’ve done
3. Leave a link to one of your other favorite blogs (if you’re already a follower), or
4. Leave a comment about what you’d like to see more of (if you’re already a follower).

One entry per person please! ** BE SURE TO LEAVE ME AN EMAIL OR WAY TO GET IN TOUCH WITH YOU **

Here’s the fun part…the giveaway!

Because I have been blessed with such amazing fabric friends, I have some gorgeous fabrics used to work on samples for them. I have 5 fat eighths of gorgeous FULL BLOOM fabric by the amazing and awesome Bari J. Her book “Inspired to Sew” can be found on Amazon, and at your local Barnes & Noble, or even on her website. She has an AMAZING new line coming out this spring called "Paris Apartment" that she sneak peeked on her blog HERE, so grab this great bundle from her first line before it all disappears forever. Her fabrics are so much fun to work with!

So help me celebrate, spread the word, and enter to win a great little package of fabric. Drawing will be open through Monday (February 28), and I’ll post a winner on Tuesday of next week (March 1)!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Learning to Wonk

I tweeted some time ago (how long? it all blends together, but I think about 4 weeks ago) that I was interested in trying to make some wonky blocks this year. I got lots of great comments back, and suggestions, but without a doubt, the most common response I got was "Go to Quilt Dad's's the BEST". So I went right there, printed it out, and it sat on my cutting table. And sat, and sat.

Another new time sucker upper I've been fooling around with is Pinterest. It is the most amazing site for inspiration. Every day people add gorgeous new photos they find all over the net. And you can make your own "boards" of any topic you like. Fun, fun, fun. Without question, every few days, I'd see a new wonky block, and my inspiration would grow. My NEED to make a wonky block just became too much to handle. So I dove in.

Now, I didn't do all that formal "planning" and "prepping" Quilt Dad talked about. I just DOVE in. I started digging through my scraps to find fabric and had at it. This is what I ended up with.

One of the things I love the most about wonky blocks is that they look different from different sides. So if you turn the block, it looks like a whole new block. Again, FUN.

I was able to make it an actual trued up square, so I was very happy with that. I really enjoyed the spontaneous nature of making it, too. I'm sure this is the first of many.

Just for a little eye's some of the photos that inspired me. These photos are all courtesy of Pinterest, where they have the original source built into the link of the photo. Go look for yourself!

Aren't they delicious?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Starry Night progress and how to enjoy a snowy winter

It's hard to believe, but February is the 8th month of my Starry Night BOM. With each of these that I do, I can really see improvement in my piecing. I really like the colors on this block too. I'll for sure be making one of the filler blocks with these colors.

Switching you may well know, it has been the snowiest winter in VERY long time around here. The result is that my sweetie has gotten full on back into skiing and has pulled me along with him. Last weekend we drove up to Stratton Mountain in Vermont on Friday so we could ski for the day Saturday.

Here's WBR (that's World's Best Rob) at the top of the mountain...look how low to the ground those trees are and how caked they are with snow!

I'd never been to a "big" Vermont mountain, so I really enjoyed the view from the top. It was challenging skiing for me for sure, but there were loads of trails to try, and many lifts, so we got a full day of skiing in. I went down my first "glades" trail (where they don't take out the trees and you have to ski through the woods) and only fell down four times!

Just so you all can see what a goober I can be...this is a picture I took of myself (with my new iPhone, my old one got dropped in a bathtub and died the night before). You can see how giddy I am, both to be at the top of the mountain, but also to be enjoying my new toy.

We had so much fun on our day away, that when we came home, we decided to take the kids to a smaller local mountain in Massachusetts called Butternut on Sunday to see how THEY liked skiing. These pictures were taken BEFORE any skiing was actually done. Note the happy faces.

And here's Ally, making sure her big brother is actually smiling for the camera (which he wasn't).

For better or worse, they both did ok, but neither of them seems to be clamoring to go back. So for now, it looks like skiing will by my thing to do with Rob. Which is ok by me.

What do you do with your family outdoors in the winter? I'd love to hear about it.

Next up, an update on my argyle quilt for my little (big) man, and my first wonky block!

Friday, February 11, 2011

New York Sewing Weekend Workshop with Heather Ross!

I don't have any pictures...just a teeny, tiny note from Heather that I got in...

On Veteran's Day weekend, I'll be off to NYC to soak up as much knowledge and inspiration as I can from...are you READY???

Heather Ross
Jay McCarroll
Liesl Gibson
Gretchen Hirsch

Yowza! The description is brief, but full of promise...

"Workshop Fees include accommodations (tentatively The Ace Hotel) Friday and Saturday nights, most meals, a sewing machine and workspace in our sewing studio, all instruction and participation in sewing labs and demonstrations, plus guest-teacher-led shopping (with a little culture thrown in) trips to New York City’s best sewing, craft, and design shops. We can also promise loads of inspiration, laughs, and some excellent pastries."

Pastries?? Does Heather Ross know me already??

I cannot wait to share.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

First of the Filler - Starry Night

It was month seven of my Starry Night BOM project, so we got the pattern and specs for the filler blocks in January. Very thrifty design, because you actually use the leftovers of the blocks to make the filler blocks. There will be 13 (lucky!) filler blocks in all, so there will actually be color duplicates.

In an attempt to try to learn how to piece more efficiently, I tried to make these two blocks simultaneously. I chose two of my favorite color combinations so far and dove in.

While I'm happy, overall, with the outcome, boy am I realizing just exactly how crooked my work is! The finished blocks are supposed to be 12 1/2" square. HA! Both of mine were 12" and a mighty crooked 12" at that.

My other observation is that when I press the finished block, clearly I press too hard, because you can see shiny spots! Eww, that's horrible!! I definitely need to press the finished blocks, it does help to make the lines look straighter and set the stitches, but I'm not sure if my iron is too hot, if I should only press on the back (I don't think this will cut it, though, in achieving my goal of straightening my blocks), or if I need a pressing cloth between?

What are your pressing tips?? I need them all.

I have to say, I love way the colors are coming out, and how they look with the black. I think the quilt will be beautiful when it's done.