December 31, 2016

Moving Toward 2017

2017 theme: REFOCUS

Lately I have felt things are spinning out of control. I have too much going on, too many commitments, and too many things to do.  I cannot give all my commitments the care and attention they deserve, not to mention myself!

On the blog I have been rushing from project to project like it's a job.  Spending all my free time sewing to meet an unrealistic deadline I created for myself. The desire to maintain a constant flow of new material has me feeling a little burnt out. My parents always said I burn the candle at both ends. As much as I enjoy being busy, there also needs to be a balance. (Pretty sure I talk about finding balance every year around this time). This year I tend to refocus. Finding what matters most to me and putting those priorities first. 

As much as I love the sewing and the blogging community, this is one of the areas I plan on scaling WAY back. Instead of stressing to put out 9 mediocre posts a month, for 2017 I am planning on sharing to 2 or 3 posts a month. Thus giving more content and focus to my posts. All the work that goes into a blog post has been weighing me down. Hopefully, by sharing only the best of what is happening around here I can relieve some of the stress I put on myself. 

Almost every aspect of my life has been under scrutiny these last few weeks, do I want to keep doing this activity? do I need to move on? is this something that brings me joy? will this inspire me? So many things didn't make the cut and it feels good to walk away.  All the noise in my head is quieting. 

Here is to a focused year in 2017. What are some changes you all are making for the 2017 year? 

December 21, 2016

The Soap Trials

Short quilting interruption ... for SOAP!

One weekend in November my sister and I got some 10 pounds of melt and pour soap and got creative. Conveniently, Mom had expanded her herb garden this summer and we had a variety of dried herbs to add to our soap. We got goat, oatmeal, and shea butter for the bases.  The oatmeal is my favorite!

Favorite Recipe:

  • 1 pound oatmeal melt & pour soap
  • 15 drops of lavender essential oil
  • 1/8 cup of honey
  • 1/4 cup of rolled oats
  • Pinch of dried lavender

To explain the 10 pounds of soap madness, we are planning on giving them away for Christmas gifts. In equal insanity, I have knit up too many wash cloths to complete the gift. (The string ends still need to be woven in, it's my least favorite part) Pictured is only a small portion of what has actually been completed!

Tomorrow is our last day of school before the holiday break, please pray for my survival!

December 16, 2016

Herringbone Quilt

Rachel @ Stitched in Color has been a long time inspiration. She was one of the first quilt blogs I followed, and is still blogging. Last year she updated her Herringbone Block Tutorial to use 2.5 inch strips and I have been dying to make one myself. Plus her color use of pinks, browns, and blues made my heart patter. Truth be told, all her color combinations make my heart patter! 

The tutorial is super easy to follow even though the block looks complicated! I did a few test runs before cutting and was impressed with the ease.

I have been working this pile of fabric for a while and finally settled. Les Fleurs was the final addition before the cutting began.  The darker colors provided a nice contrast to some of the pale fabrics. Some metallics also snuck in at the last minute! 

Here are my testers, this quilt has me quite excited.

December 12, 2016

ABC - 123

Back in my "The Simple Life" post I made the confession that pre-cuts are not my thing. After years of trying to make them work, they really just don't follow my personal style. I have been slowly trying to use up what I have stashed. Bit by bit these precuts are finally dwindling.

Next on the chopping block is ABC 123 by American Jane ... 

This might be one of my oldest jelly rolls on hand! The plan for these classic prints is the Jelly Roll Jam II, a free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop. Linked to the PDF. It's simple and quick.  Using a full jelly roll creates a small lap quilt (48 inches by 57 inches), perfect for solo snuggling on the couch. The whole top took one afternoon to whip up.

Now I for the quilting, not sure if I should do something with straight lines or stipple all over? Thinking less quilting than more. The one thing I am sure about is a black binding. Those two random black prints need some company!

December 07, 2016

Tula Pink - 100 Block Sampler

In the spring a 100 blocks in a 100 days quilt along happened on Instagram. #100blocksin100days, check out their hashtag.  It's impressive. 

The idea was sew up Tula Pink's City Sampler quilt doing one block a day. Well, I missed the beginning of that bandwagon. Last week I finally made the leap, just as many people are finishing up.

Everyone who participated had such a cool spin on the sampler. Many blocks were downright gorgeous. It inspired me to borrow the book and get cutting. I have wanted to make a neutral quilt with shades of grey and a pop of blue for sometime. Fingers crossed, this pattern will look great in these colors.

CROSSES: No. 1 - 15

**Not all the blocks are photographed here.

So far the blocks read more blue and grey. I will be starting to phase out most of the blue and work more with grey/black for the next cutting round. 

P.S. Isn't that fabric second from the right just amazing! There are more ladies that demand a fussy cut. Anyone know the name, design, or anything about it? I would love to order more. 

December 03, 2016

So, Chelsea: Finished

It's done! And ... It's So, Chelsea! 

A while back I shared the start to this "So, Chelsea" quilt. The majority of the fabrics were selected by Amy Garro and my Grandma who both have given me quite the pile of "Chelsea" themed fabrics. These were then matched with some of my stash favorites and it all came together perfectly.

The pattern is Daydream from the book Striking Strip Quilts

  • Finished Size: 64 inches by 64 inches 
  • Pattern: Daydream 
  • Fabric: gifted fabric
  • Batting: 80/20 blend
  • Thread: Connecting Threads - Lavender
  • Quilting: straight lines

November 27, 2016

The Simple Life

It's official, my sewing area is in order! 

What better way to celebrate then making a mess of it again? 

Confession time. 

Over the last couple of years I have slowly stopped purchasing most pre-cuts. Although it's a practical way to purchase a whole fabric line, it's also limiting. 

Reflecting back my favorite quilts are those where I have pushed my color combination limits and not one of them came from a pre-cut. So, for me they aren't working in my stash. Now other people can rock a pre-cut like no-body's business, just not me.

That leaves the question, what to do with the 5 jelly rolls, 4 layer cakes, and 15 charm packs still in my stash. My only solution so far is to use them up! I have been cruising through books, patterns, and online to see what would work with the cuts I have on hand. 

Let's start the de-stash with a junior layer cake of The Simple Life by A Little Sweetness for Riley Blake. This was Tasha's first line of fabric and I fell in love. The pre-cut came with 21 squares, so I limited the pattern to 20 blocks in a 4 by 5 arrangement.

After much debate, I went with Framed by Silk Road Life. It definitely helps that the sample quilts used are Hello Luscious, an all time favorite, and PB & J. It was simple to cut (also fussy cut) and worked well with the colors in this line. Some of my favorite fussy cuts are pictured below :) 

Right now I am resisting the urge to "stack and wack" all the layer cakes in my stash ... 

If you are looking for some good pre-cut patterns I enjoyed this U CREATE post linking to many A+ blogger's tutorials.

November 23, 2016

Be Thankful

Here goes, 16 things to be thankful for in 2016 ... 

1 - Family: without their love and support my world would be much different
2 - Mike: well most days ;)
3 - Friends: the ability to make me laugh until it hurts and be there for me in all my life's ups and downs
4 - Indoor Plumbing: winter is coming ...
5 - Kindness: it must happen all the time
6 - Health: those surrounding me (and me) are in good health
7 - Coffee: some mornings wouldn't/shouldn't/couldn't happen without one/two/three cups
8 - My Sewing Machine: hand quilting would put a damper on my productivity

9 - Skinny Jeans: not the cut, but finally putting on those jeans you wore the last time you were "skinny"
10 - Creativity: what kind of world would we live in without creativity?
11 - Finances: finally being in a position to buy a house, even if the right one hasn't come along
12 - Snow Days - here is to the unexpected one day weekend, teacher perk
13 - Wine: the opposite end of the day to #7
14 - Fall Clothing: chunky sweaters and cords
15 - Podcasts - to fuel my knowledge and pass the sewing time
16 - Snooze Button: mornings are the worst

What are some things you are thankful for this year?

November 20, 2016

The Quilter's Planner: Review


One of my hobbies, is my planner. I love planning, planners, decorations, pretty much everything and anything to do with these little miracle books. In the past I have always used the Erin Condren planner. It worked but I still had a separate planner for my blog/quilting, and 4 notebooks to keep me organized. So it wasn't working all that great. 

What I really needed was a planner for quilters. A planner that understood my blogging/quilting needs and how my hobby works with the rest of my life. Enter Stephanie from Late Night Quilter's brain child, the Quilter's Planner. Winner.

* I love the color scheme so I don't feel like I need to decorate the pages as much (time saver)
* There are sections that replace 3 of my 4 organizer notebooks!
* I can use ONE planner for my blog/quilting and my life
* Price: compared to similar planners on the market the paper quality is the same for a fraction of the cost. 
* Comes with an eBook to some awesome patterns showcased each month
* Each week comes with a quilting tip, many have to do with free motion quilting. 

humble brag ... this is ME!

* One thing I did love about my EC planner was the changeable covers that could be customized
* All the stickers and extras that are on Etsy for EC planners (Steph just let me know you can get 1.5 inch stickers that fit the width for each day)

To order one, click here.

I cannot wait to have some time to get started filling in my 2017 dates! 

November 17, 2016

The Best Giraffe Quilt: Ever

My "quilty crime partner" Michelle over @ From Bolt to Beauty, decided to participate in a choose your own adventure quit for ME!  Yes, check out her posts here and here on how she "built" this beauty.

Can I just mention, that I LOVE it!  

Really, what's not to love? It has a giraffe in the middle in Basic Grey fabric! The fabric Michelle choose for the center was the perfect choice for a giraffe. The flowers do a great job mimicking spots. Then all those Basic Grey squares perfectly round out the center.

Michelle looked long and hard for the perfect giraffe pattern and this was one definitely a win! It has a mature feel, which most do not. Out of the million giraffe things I own, this is my first giraffe quilt :) 

I love this one so much, it went into my off-limits to others quilt collection.  This one is ALL mine! 

November 13, 2016

Sunday Stash: Fall Fabrics

Autumn colors have never drawn me in, but I couldn't resist the pumpkins :) Plus, it brings out my peach obsession in these fabrics. 

I did do a little 9 yard splurge this month. Morgan Kelly did a string of projects involving Les Fleurs and metallic dots that had me inspired. Modern metallics. Not your Benjamin Franklin circa 1990 fall leaf metallics. My world has expanded ... 

Still unsure, 2 yards of the stuff landed in my cart. Why waste shipping ... fill up the cart! 


and Basic Grey Grunge in Sugar Cookie

These fabrics are even more charming in person. To break the ice I picked two lightly printed metallic fabrics. They are beautiful, but I now I want something a little more densely printed. Guess I'll have to make another order :) 

Even with this order coming in I have still managed to net -123 yards this year to date. Doing the math, 1 pound is 3 yards, I have sewn approximately 40 pounds of fabric. Now if I only had the same dedication to the gym! 

November 05, 2016

Sugar Blocks 2016: Finished

Wowzers! This is to date the biggest quilt I have ever made.  Poor Mike didn't even know where to start when holding it up! His extendable arms were out of service.

The project started as the 2016 Sugar Block of the Month Club. Then after a few months of blocks I didn't love it turned into "all my favorite blocks club". Makes perfect sense this has become my favorite quilt!

Earlier Posts: 

The color combinations in this quilt makes my heart flutter. I love the aqua, magenta, peach, mustard combination with some chambray. Swoon. 

When finishing this quilt on retreat, I went to a local quilt shop (Thimbleberries on Cape Cod). There I found more of the Kate Spain fabric I used in the quilt for the border. I had been looking with no luck, so that was my lucky day! Not being a border person, I love what it adds to this particular quilt. May need to rethink borders ... 

For the backing, I used the other sheet from my "Today is a Good Day for a Good Day" Quote quilt. They actually match in colors, binding and backing. Oh, and awesomeness! Love this pair.

To find out more about using a sheet for the backing click here. 
It's economical and worked great both times :) 

If only I could snuggle under them both at the same time without looking like a crazy quilt lady!