Saturday, May 31, 2014

ALYOF-- May Finish

I know it's the last day of the month, but I did finish a few days ago.

I'm here to report that I finished my May goal: complete and deliver the teacher gifts!

They were very excited! Gift-giving my quilts and handmade gifts is my favorite part of creating. I love the amazed looks on faces and hear their first words of reactions!

In April, I asked one of the techs to have the lead teacher and the other techs to trace their hands on paper. Then I traced the hands onto squares of Kona White to match the backgrounds, and back-stitched the hands. Then I traced my son's hand inside their hands, and stitched his handprint and each teacher's name. I used the bonus HST units from the Hugs & Kisses quilt top, with the Pieces of Hope Autism fabric, and pieced little 6 1/2" blocks. (Since my son has autism and he is in a unit class for autism.) I added sashing strips around each block, then joined the handprint squares to the blocks.
After quilting, I trimmed and bound them completely by machine. And hand-stitched my pre-printed name labels to the back of each one. After all, I was on a time crunch!

I delivered their gifts at the end if the school day on Thursday; pretty much last minute because school ended yesterday, Friday!

Fronts and backs, to show quilting and the little labels.

Oh yes, and what's a mug rug without a mug? I had a "recipe" for individual cake in a mug in the microwave. I separated the dry mix into servings in baggies, attached the mixing and cooking instructions on a tag with ribbon, and stuffed the baggies in the mugs. Then I rolled the mugs in the mug rugs and wrapped in tissue paper. S. was so excited to help me pass the gifts to his teachers, and even wanted to help rip off the paper. 

Do you like my new photo collages? 
I found a cool, new, free app for my iPhone called InstaCollage. Since I take most of my photos with my phone and blog on the phone app, it's now easy to put a watermark on my photos!

Here are three of the other four HST blocks that I've completed so far, with the bonus HSTs from the Hugs & Kisses quilt. These are just the small 2" unfinished HSTs from the tops of the hearts and x's and oh's. The large HST from the bottom of the hearts measure 4 1/2" unfinished, and I will do a bigger block with them (36 total HST).

Linking up with Sew Bittersweet Designs

"You take the Cake!"
1 cake mix
1-4 oz box instant pudding.

Mix together cake mix and pudding mix (dry!)
Measure 1/2 cup mix into baggies and seal. Tie with ribbon if desired. Add another Baggie with toppings, like 2 tbsp chocolate chips or sprinkles.
Tag has mixing instructions:
Add mix into mug. Add 1 egg white (or 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce if you're allergic to eggs like me), 1-2 tbsp water, and 1 tbsp vegetable oil. Mix well.
Microwave on high 2 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes. Top with chocolate chips, sprinkles, chocolate syrup or other flavored syrup.

Cake flavor ideas:
Yellow cake + French vanilla pudding
Yellow cake + coconut pudding
Chocolate + chocolate pudding
yellow + lemon pudding
spice cake + lemon pudding
Butterscotch ?
Pina colada?
Be creative!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Lucky me

Lucky Lucky Me!

Now I sound like Lola from "Charlie and Lola" on Disney Junior.

I think I totally forgot to post about the Kate Spain Charm Swap Round 2, hosted by Michele at Quilts From My Crayon Box. Aren't they lively and lovely?!!!

April and May were pretty lucky for me. I won several giveaways!

Quiltmaker Magazine's 100 Block Tour:
I won two times!

Once from QM itself: I won a copy of 100 Blocks Vol 9, and a pattern book from Accuquilt for their cutting machines. Not that I have an Accuquilt to use it with, but the patterns are nice.

The other QM 100 Blocks win was from Sassafras Lane. I received a copy of 100 Blocks Vol 9 and several of their latest patterns! I think it's so cute that all of their patterns are named like street names.

Next, Pile O'Fabric had their two-year blogiversary, and I won a gift certificate to Pink Door Fabrics' Etsy shop!
I chose the Sidekick Ruler and Hex n' More Ruler from Jaybird Quilts. And they didn't have the patterns I wanted to go with the rulers, so they were sweet enough to order the patterns for me! I chose Night Sky and Rock Candy. I might use some of those Kate Spain charms for a Rock Candy!
I recommend Pink Door Fabrics and they are definitely on my Etsy favorites list to order from in the future. They have cute fabric and are super easy and nice to work with. Very fast turnaround, too.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Sewjo weekend

Under pressure!
But having fun!
Developing and then getting into a rhythm for FMQ is really great. I wish I could finish quilts more quickly so that I could practice more quilting on them!

I was able to do all the quilting for these five mug rugs in about the last three days.

These little mug rugs are so adorable! I hope they mean a lot to my son's teachers. It's been a lot of fun trying newly learned techniques and designs and some I'm more comfortable with, too.

For example, I finally found a tutorial for puzzle piece quilting! And it's really simple! I was so worried that I wouldn't be able to FMQ straight lines, even with a ruled line, but I think I did alright. Perfect for filling in negative space on my autism projects. This tutorial was by The Inbox Jaunt.

When I felt comfortable with my practice sandwich, I started on the rugs. The puzzle print is super cute and already "marked" for me.

To give you some perspective, the puzzle print is small. About two puzzle pieces to the inch! There's my ruler and my bobbin to compare the size. So, these little puzzle pieces were more labor intensive than I thought, but really fun and easy. And produced lots of lint!

Just look at the depth and "pop" that the quilting in the puzzle pieces gives the border!

The puzzles don't look as great on the back, but they'll be alright once I trim and put binding on.

Now on to trimming and binding !

Yikes, anyone have a great tutorial for fast machine binding that the stitching on the back isn't visible from the front?

Linking up with Kim's Go-Go Life "SewJo Saturday.

And goodnight.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Don't wanna stop FMQ

I'm finally in a FMQ groove and desperately trying to get the quilting done on the mug rugs for teacher gifts. The last day of school is Friday! However, if I don't go to bed now, I probably won't get much sleep. But I don't wanna stop quilting, mom! (oh wait, I'm the mom!)

Hubby is off to work early in the morning, and is already in bed.

Baby and I haven't gotten much sleep this week. He's had his first cold, and I think I headed off the croup too. Then to top it off, he had his well-child checkup and got a bunch of vaccines. Poor baby has been sore and cranky (my baby is not a cranky baby), stuffed up, not nursing well, fussy, and not sleeping well. Up every night in the middle of the night, multiple times a night.

So I haven't gotten much done as far as sewing is concerned. No time and I'm exhausted. And feeling anxious and cranky myself because I haven't gotten my quilting therapy and my deadline is staring me in the face!

Someone posted this on Facebook today, and I totally feel like it was meant for me!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Crunch time

I'm starting to feel the pressure of two weeks left of school! I was going back and forth so much on what to do for teacher gifts.

My son has a main teacher, and three assistants, and has also been going to a regular 1st grade class for 30-45 minutes a day. That is 5 gifts. And I'm not counting his speech therapist or Occupational Therapist! Ooops. I decided on a completely different idea:

Mug rugs with a mug and either hot chocolate packets, or "cake in a mug" mix.
And the mug rugs will be personalized.

Here's a sneak peek:

Yes, I'm hand stitching, but it's a simple back stitch and it's going quickly.
Then I will attach the handprints to little blocks made from bonus HST from the Hugs & Kisses with the autism fabric. Should be pretty quick quilting and binding them too.

Wish me flying fingers and needles!
(and time to do it, with baby brother having a little cold.)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

HMQS--Home Machine Quilting Show 2014

I had a great day at HMQS in Sandy, UT, USA today. It's great that I have a big show just about an hour away from me. I think it's starting to get quite a bit of national attention!

My best friend and I had a great time chatting and hanging out as we soaked in all the gorgeous quilts. I mentioned all sorts of things about styles and techniques as we wandered around.

Baby was a sweetheart and a trooper, and I had one of the "To The Rescue" quilts tucked around him in the stroller. He got quite a bit of attention, paired with the quilt ! (He's smart--he grabs fabric in his little fists and stuffs them in his mouth already!)
Some of the surprised and awed comments came while I was standing and shopping at the Superior Threads booth. 
"he's so cute!" 
"Dressed like a firefighter" (Daddy is a firefighter.) 
"are those fire trucks? How did you do that?" (They're paper pieced and it's a Quiltmaker Magazine pattern)
 "Did you quilt it yourself? (yup, using Superior threads here!) 
"Do you have a long arm?" (Nope--I do everything from piecing to quilting on my little Bernina domestic!) "Wow!"

Sometimes I felt a bit overwhelmed. Sometimes, I looked at a quilt and thought "I can do that" or "I want to do that". Sometimes I was caught between feeling envious of their time and experience and fabric and $ for other materials, and wondering if I could ever get time and skills and a bigger machine to do all the intricate quilting.

I visited the APQS machine booth to practice. I sat down to "play with George", their 20" sit-down model, as I put it to Marilyn, the rep and teacher. I had really hoped to chat with Dawn Cavanaugh, like I had last year, but Marilyn said she'd already left for home. I love Dawn's teaching and her articles. Last year, I wanted to test drive a bunch if different machines, and sat with Dawn as I tried George. She was so kind and personable, and willing to answer my questions and help me improve my techniques. I was so thrilled that when we were done, she said that after she'd seen what I'd done, she thought I was well on my way and past being a "beginner" FMQ. Wow!

Now I gotta share some of my favorites.

Talk about taking the quilting beyond the block...this time the quilting made wedding rings around the pieced flowers and tied everything together. That's why it won a ribbon!

I love this Triple Irish Chain. I'd like to do a double chain in the family colors--dark green and gold--and quilt more Celtic motifs inside the open spaces.

This pine burr was stunning in Christmas red and green with touches of metallic gold. We saw the same quilt but in purple and green in a vendor's booth. She said it could be done in jelly roll strips. Cool!

Oh I love the barn-raising layout of this log cabin...a whole log cabin quilt is on my bucket list.

 And just "wow" at this Viking quilt.

and two-color quilts are stunners! This quilt had lots of different tiny blender patterns in the same tones of green with the cream. Wow! More inspiration for an Irish Chain. Look at layer upon layer of quilting!

This Celtic spiral is amazing! Blue and brown quilts catch my eye. The info paper says those half Mariners Compasses in the corners are not paper-pieced! The compass arms are probably  at least 12" long; talk about long, tricky bias edges without the paper to stabilize!

and I just love the cream, aqua and purple color scheme together!

Here are my goodies: monofilament polyester thread, and color cards for King Tut cotton and So Fine! 50 threads from Superior. No shops in my county carry Superior threads, and only a few in Utah, so I'd need to order online. (Which is weird, because Superior's headquarters are in my state of Utah.) I want to match thread before I order. Thread is an expensive but necessary notion. These cards are wrapped with real threads in all the colors manufactured. Perfect! He tossed in the Thread Therapy DVD for free!
And I couldn't help but grab the stackers and Rolie Polie of Pieces of Hope..they were a great price and they almost can't be found now.

Whee! What a fun day.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Backing and Tops

Yay me! I finally got the backing pieced for the Hugs & Kisses quilt!
I think it's the scrappiest backing I've done so far. When you've only got so much fabric left, you improvise. This is about how much improvising I do, though. I didn't bother to do any math. I just measured, overestimated, and started sewing. Then I cut edges even.

I guess it looks a little odd.  Oh wait, now I'm seeing a bit of Tetris going on here! LOL!
Here is the top, laid on top of the backing. I wanted to make sure that it all fit.

Then, I also finished piecing and trimming my large Little Lone Star, or Blazing Star. Here it is, laid on top of its backing. When I was enlarging the block from 6" to 12", for my Sylvia's Bridal Sampler, my math didn't turn out right for the strip piecing. I discovered that when I got the diamonds pieced together and two sections joined. I measured and said "Whoops, too big."

I took my measurements, plugged the same block from the block library in Quilt-Pro, and let the program tell me what size background diamonds and squares to cut. I also did that with the 12" block, cut the strips to Quilt-Pro's cutting widths, and the 12" block turned out perfectly. For the bigger block, I pieced the estimated patches in, then had to trim and square the whole block, because the pieces were too big. The block ended up about 17 1/2" square when trimmed. Then I added a 2" unfinished border all the way around. I plan on making this block into a pillow. I think so. I might change my mind and hang it on the wall.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

ALYOF--May goal

Hi! This year is flying by!

Little S and the baby woke up as hubby was leaving for the fire station. I nursed the baby back to sleep, and have to sit yawning, waiting for the bus with S, so I'm writing to keep myself awake for a few more minutes.

Here is my goal for May:
1--Quilt and bind the Hugs & Kisses, and finish the teacher gifts. I think I've finally decided what I will do for the rest of them.

Other goals:
2--Piece the Hugs & Kisses bonus quilts: Happy Hearts and the HST bonus in two sizes.
3--Learn how to use the Hearts and More templates and try a project.
4--Quilt some of the Swoon!

I'm almost finished piecing the backing of the Hugs &Kisses quilt. I'm using up all my yardage and remaining fat quarters, as well as remaining x's and oh's that I didn't use. It's going to be the most pieced together backing that I've done so far. I love this Pieces of Hope fabric and I love using it, but it's almost gone and it's really hard to find now!

If you see some, let me know?!

Riley Blake did say they're working on a second edition of Pieces of Hope. I thought it was going to be released this year, but it sounded like there's no release date yet from the Facebook comment reply they made.

Other news: the Home Machine Quilting Show starts today in Sandy, Utah (Salt Lake City)! It's the biggest show closest to me, and it's a lot of fun. Someday I might be able to take some classes and work on Make and Take projects. This year, I'm planning on attending with my best friend again, and I need to take the baby (hubby will stay home with the older boys). Hopefully, I can find a quiet corner to nurse him.

And here's the school bus! See ya later!

Linking with Sew Bittersweet Design's  A Year of Lovely Finishes