Archive for September, 2010

Coffee, Despearate Housewives & a Challenge Finish!

Thanks to Terri’s post and her Autumn Spice Coffee, I decided to start my Saturday morning with some coffee of my own, and get some progress made on my One Week Challenge.  And guess what?  It worked!  I set up my computer on my sewing table to watch some episodes of Desperate Housewives (season 1), and I got my test sandwich done!  I didn’t watch the show when it started.  I thought it was just another soap opera for night time TV.  I recently found out it was more of a mystery show which caught my attention.  And it doesn’t hurt to know that Nathan Fillion shows up in a later season. ♥

Hopefully I’ll be able to post a picture of my test sandwich later today.  I wasn’t able to find my “real” camera this morning.  But I can use my cell phone later, if that’s all I’ve got.  I’m not ecstatic about the results of my quilting.  But I am happy enough for my first real attempt.  It ended up too big for a pot holder or trivet.  I might try to finish it as a place mat, but one side is Pink Panther fabric, so no one in my house will want to use it!  I had bought a bunch of that fabric for a potential project for a friend.  But I ended up only making a purse, so I still have some yardage left over.  My quilting was an attempt at the lovely rounded meandering paths that I see so often.  The path itself is fine, but you can definitely see places where the free motion foot & my machine were not getting along.  They seemed to dislike each other more & more as I progressed.  Or maybe they just didn’t like me…  I expected the unevenness of my stitching.  In fact, I think for the most part the stitch sizes are a lot more even than I thought I’d get on my first try.  But there are some half-inch stitches in there. 🙂  I changed my tension a few times during the process, and from looking at the results, I’d say that 7 or 8 is where I should probably keep it for quilting.  I wasn’t able to try it at full speed, because I had to fight the fabric so much to move around under the foot sometimes.  But sometimes it moved great.  I’m sure it’s something I’ll either get better at with practice, or I’ll learn to live with it until I get a machine that’s really intended to quilt with.

So my coffee was delicious, (Guatemalan Antigua with Swiss Miss, sugar & milk – yum!) my challenge was completed, & I started a new TV series I enjoy, which I can watch while sewing!  I’d call that a successful Saturday for me!

And since I had such success on Saturday, I’ve decided to try out the Friday Night Sew In for October.  The motivation will be good for me, and I love joining the giveaway drawings!

What about you?  Did you get your goals accomplished this weekend?  Anyone else want to join me for the FNSI on October 15th?  I think I may work that night on an afghan I’m making.  If I’m really focused, I bet I can finish the fifth & final panel for it that night.  Then I’ll just need to figure out how in the world to put them all together!

S&Y Green Turtle

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Another Giveaway!

I can’t believe I forgot about this!  Go check out Wedding Dress Blue for a patterns giveaway!  She found a great bargain of yard sale quilt patterns recently & she is so awesome and sweet that she is giving away a set of table runner patterns to one of her readers!  Six seasonal patterns and she is giving them away for FREE.  So head on over to her blog and check her out.  She has a lot of cool stuff on her site.  She did a lot of scrap work over the summer and turned out some beautiful projects!  Now that my friend is talking about wanting me to make stuff for her shop, I’m looking at these scrap projects in a whole new light!

S&Y Green Turtle

Happy Autumn!

LeafHappy Second Day of Autumn!

Originally, this was a “Happy First Day of Autumn” post.  But that was last night, and that post got auto-saved to death, and I was too tired and frustrated to re-write it then.  So now it is a “Happy Second Day of Autumn” post! 🙂

I generally prefer the summer months because I like heat much better than cold.  But this year has been too extreme, so I am really looking forward to some cooler fall days.  Plus, I love Autumn colors here in Kentucky!  When the trees start changing, my woods take on all different colors.  We get varying shades of orange, yellow, red and even purple.  This year the wildflowers have been mostly purple & yellow.  Pretty soon the trees will start changing to match.

I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but somehow, I ended up on an old (but new to me) blog yesterday, and found myself fascinated by the idea.  Rachel, from p.s. i quilt, had created and hosted a blog group for a Calendar Quilt project for 2009.  I had never heard of such a thing, but I looked through the numerous photos and they were very neat.  I had previously been thinking that I might want to do a fall quilt, since I like those colors so well.  Or that maybe I would try a quilt of all four seasons.  But after going through those calendar quilts yesterday, I’m thinking that would be fun too.

The idea is that you start at the beginning of the year, (or at any time you’d like to start, really) and select a piece of fabric to represent each day of the year.  As each day comes along, you find something that represents that day to you, and add it to your quilt.  For example, one quilter used some black & white fireworks fabric for New Year’s Day.  People would choose special fabrics for special birthdays during the year.  Many of them were selecting a scrap fabric from a project they worked on each day.  So basically, they were journaling the year, in fabric!  I love that idea.  Most of the participants added their daily strips (or squares, &c.) into a monthly block.  Then they were going to put the blocks together at the end into a full year quilt.  Many of them were simply long strips stitched side-by-side to make long blocks.  Some were put together into more square shape blocks.  My favorite though, was done by Karen, a.k.a. OtterDaughter.  I was not able to find a picture of her finished quilt, so I’m not sure whether she completed it.  But I hope she did, because her idea is so simple & perfect.  Rather than using uniform sizes of fabric strips, she used varying widths & lengths.  She fleshed each strip out with the same solid brown, and turned each of her months of strips, into a shelf of books!  This is such a fabulous idea, and the months I saw completed turned out wonderfully!

So now I’m thinking that 2011 is coming up.  And this project would really only take a couple minutes each day.  So maybe, maybe, maybe – I will try this one.  It was quite interesting for me to see the drastically different ideas people came up with, for this project.  I think most participants were trying to use it as a “stash busting” project.  But there were a few at least who were actually using it to build up their stashes instead.

If you’re interested, you should check out the blog.  When I came across it I had no idea what they were talking about.  So I went all the way back to the first post and then followed along from there.  It is over a year’s worth of blog entries, by up to 90 quilters.  So it took quite awhile to go through.  But I didn’t stop and read everything; after awhile I only stopped to look at the  photos and read a post every once in awhile.

In other news…. nothing.  I haven’t done my challenge yet.  I find it difficult to carve out crafting time in the evenings after work.  When the boys are up, I want to spend time with them.  Once they’re in bed, I want to spend time with my husband.  And once he’s in bed…. well, so am I.  So hopefully I will be able to find time this weekend, but we will be on the go every day, so even if I find some time, it probably won’t be much.  But that’s okay.  Because even if I can only find one hour, that is still one hour closer to finished on my Secret Christmas Project!

Speaking of Christmas, did you realize that Halloween is just around the corner?  We have two young ones at home that dress up and go Trick or Treating.  Typically, we make the costumes.  Do you ever make Halloween costumes for yourself or anyone else?  My older son always enjoys his costumes (the baby has only had one Halloween so far, and we didn’t make that costume).  But he usually chooses to be something that is obscure to everyone else, so he spends a great deal of time explaining it!  I think that’s part of the fun for him though.  We have our idea for this year.  I think it will be mainly poster board for a change.  I’m excited because the boys costumes go together 🙂 …but that assumes that they will work out.  LOL  We always have a backup plan, and we have had to use those backups a few different times!  So we will see how it goes this year, and I will let you know!

S&Y Green Turtle

I want!

$I try not to spend much money on fabric for my quilts.  I don’t look for specific designers.  I shop the clearance & sale sections of my local fabric store.  I can’t afford to spend a lot of money, so I would never pay $9.00 for a yard of fabric.  Well… I would never have paid that *before.*

Then I was directed toward Tula Pink & her new, coming-not-quite-soon-enough-for-me-but-soon-to-be-released Parisville line.  I LOVE it!  I’m pretty sure it will be about $9 a yard when it comes out, and I’m pretty sure I’ll be buying it.  I’m not too keen on the Sprout color line, but the Pommegranate & Mist color lines are perfect for me!  If you check out her site, you can see some of her inspiration & sketchwork for designing this collection.  I love the patterns & colors & the strangeness of the hair designs.  The lion is my favorite, but I don’t think it made it into the collection.

So yeah, I’ll have to get some of those this fall or winter.

And since I was enjoying Parisville, I thought I’d check out some of her other lines.  Each of them were neat, fun, creative & distinctive.  But none of the others caught me quite how Parisville had… until I looked at the Full Moon Forest collection.  Now, I want these fabrics so bad it hurts!!  The Hushabye line uses some of the same designs with different colorings, but the Full Moon Forest colors are amazing!!  And I Love the “seek & find” style to her artwork.  I tried looking for these fabrics online, but I only found a few pieces left, mostly of the fish.  No owls, no squirrels, no raindrops, no bunnies, no trees.  So sad 😦  Hushabye does have some raindrops & bunnies that would work well for me.  But it doesn’t have the squirrels & the owl colors aren’t as much fun.  They’re much more subdued, which suits the name very well.  But I just Loved the pink & purple versions in the Full Moon Forest!

I also have to mention the adorable snail in the Flutterby collection.  Apparently, I have a thing for the critters among her designs.

So if you know of anywhere I can get *REAL* Tula Pink fabrics from her older lines… Please, Please, Please let me know!

* I say “real” because she’s having an issue with knock-offs of her designs being sold @ Wal-Mart right now. 😦

S&Y Green Turtle

One Thing, One Week Challenge: September 2010

I’ve decided to try Amy’s Challenge again.  This time, I’m going to make a test sandwich for practicing my free-motion quilting.  I’m excited about the advice I’ve received so far, and if anyone has any others ideas, I’m eager to hear them!  Do you have any projects that need just an extra bit of motivation?  Amy’s challenge is great because the point is to set a reasonable, one week goal.  It doesn’t have to be a one week finish.  It can be just starting a project, or maybe getting through that next step.  Did I mention there are prizes?  She hasn’t posted the prize yet, but I’m sure it will be something fun!

Click the button to head over and check it out!

Amy's Creative Side
S&Y Green Turtle

I could use some suggestions

I can’t believe it’s been over a week since my last posting!!  Mostly that’s because I haven’t had time to work on anything lately.  I finally sat down this weekend and cut the strips for the next part of my “secret Christmas” project.   I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out, but I still can’t show pictures yet.

One interesting thing did happen this past week.  A good friend of mine owns a catering company & she has leased some shop space in her hometown.  She’s going to be running her company from the kitchen there, and she’s also going to open a small cafe & possibly a gift shop.  She’s hoping to sell locally crafted items, and is wanting me to provide her with some inventory.  I’m not entirely certain what to do about it.  While I would love to be able to make tons of money from making & selling my quilts, I know that won’t happen.  For one thing, I’ve heard it’s extremely difficult even for excellent quilters to make a living from selling their quilts.  For another, I am far from an excellent quilter.   I am happy making quilts for family & friends, but my current level of ability is not what I would be comfortable selling in a shop (YET).  I am, however, fairly happy with the quality of my baskets.   I would be okay with letting her sell some of those in her shop.  But I’ve only ever made six of them in my life.  I don’t know where I would find the time to make enough to sell.  So far, I’ve only ever made them during instructor led classes.   If I were to start making them for her shop, I guess I’d just fill my weekends with basket making.   I admit that I am slightly jealous of a lot of the crafty bloggers I read, who do not have to fit a standard 40 hour work week into their schedules.   I would love to be able to focus on kids & crafts all day, instead of just trying to cram them into evenings & weekends.  But on the other hand, if I didn’t have my job, I couldn’t afford my craft supplies anyway.  So it’s necessary.  And I am fortunate enough to at least have a job I enjoy – even if I would enjoy staying home with my family more. 🙂

I suppose I could also make little stationary sets for her to sell.  This one was an easy to make project, but I didn’t make the actual stationary that’s in it.

Okay, so now for a crafty question.  I have made a number of quilts, and my favorite part is the piecework, rather than the actual quilting.  Thus far, I have only ever used straight stitch quilting and I’ve had trouble with puckering on the backs.  (That is a seriously strange looking word.)  I have read that the best way to prevent that is to tape the backing to the floor, making sure it’s stretched tightly, then lay the batting & top over it…. & pin like crazy!  So that is my current plan for this secret project.  BUT, I’m not sure straight line stitching is appropriate in this case.  I’d *really* like to branch out a little and try some designs.  I can get stencils, if I decide to use someone else’s design.  Or I can create my own designs.  I haven’t really figured out exactly what designs I want to use for the quilting yet.  But what I’m having trouble with, in my experimenting, is getting a decent look from free-motion quilting.

I figured out how to get my feed dogs lowered, so they aren’t moving the fabric along.  And I purchased what I believe is a quilting foot for my machine.  But when I tried to practice with it, it just didn’t seem to work very well.  Is this something that you have any experience with?  Do you have any suggestions, tips or tricks on how to improve my free-motion quilting?  My machine is just a little Singer.  It doesn’t have room to twist full size blankets around under the arm.  So being able to move the fabric to follow the pattern in any direction (instead of just forward, with the walking foot) is essential if I want anything other than straight lines.   I am considering an alternative, if I can’t figure out free-motion by Christmas.  I have said in the past, that I don’t particularly like the look of tack & tie quilts.  However, if I can’t get the free-motion quilting to work, I may search out some very thin satin-ish ribbons in the appropriate colors.  Tiny satin bows would, I think, be very pretty in this case.  But I would prefer to have nicely quilted patterns instead.  Any ideas or suggestions?

S&Y Green Turtle

I’m Confessing a Giveaway

Sarah, from Confessions of a Fabric Addict is hosting a giveaway!

She is celebrating her 100th post by giving some beautiful fabrics away to three lucky guests.  I love giveaways.  I’ve yet to win any, but the quiltin’ & bloggin’ community is so generous!  It’s a great way to get new people interested in reading your blog too, but I’m always in awe of the wonderful items that are “up for grabs” on these sites.  Personally, I’m hoping to win the vintage fabrics.  It’s funny – I never really liked fabrics that looked “old” when I was a kid…. not even the simple ones with the tiny little flowers.  Now I just love them!

I have a small stash of repro prints bought in Williamsburg, VA that I love.  I still haven’t decided on a project for them yet.  Maybe soon I’ll post pics and find out how you would use them.  Click on over to visit with Sarah for a bit.  Sign up for her giveaway &let me know what you would do with her fabrics!S&Y Green Turtle