Where have I been?

Apparently it’s been a very long time since I’ve visited this here blog. VERY LONG. How embarassing. And it’s not like I haven’t been busy sewing, I’ve been very busy. I’ve been sewing up a storm. I made some clothes for my girl, I made several quilt tops, I made some bags and embroidered some shirts. I had a booth in my first ever craft fair and sewed up a storm for that. And probably a bunch of other things that I can’t even remember.

But of all the things that I worked on in 2014, it was something that I started in 2013 that I may be the most proud of.

Way back in January 2013, I signed up to participate in Alyssa’s block of the month over at Pile o’ Fabric. There were many of things about this quilt that intrigued me. It was free motion quilting for the entire thing, but you broke it down and quilted each block individually. The great thing about this technique is that you can practice on a smaller scale, as opposed to sticking the entire quilt into the machine at once. I hadn’t done a lot of FMQ prior to this quilt and had been wanting to increase my skill set and get more comfortable. I think it’s safe to say that by the time I finished this king size quilt, I was pretty comfortable.

Alyssa also covered some techniques that I didn’t have a great deal of experience with and it was nice to have some instruction and insight from someone else. There was a bit of EPP (English paper piecing) applique that I hadn’t done much of, and that was very cool. I’m not sure I’ll ever make a full size hexie quilt, that block was a bear, but never say never.


This is by far the largest quilt I’ve ever made. It’s almost a full king, it’s a wee bit narrow. I don’t think it was supposed to be that big, I didn’t exactly follow the directions as they were written (not shocking considering I’m not the best direction follower). Alyssa’s blocks were 14″-ish when trimmed and mine were 16. Consequently, everything was bigger. No matter though, I LOVE this quilt. There are some glaring quilting errors and I didn’t follow some of the tried and true quilting “rules” but I don’t care. I LOVE it. It washed up beautifully and is perfect for my bed and these cold nights. I’m seriously motivated to keep it up and continue improving my skill set.

Hello again

Apparently I took the summer off from writing. And part of the fall. I’ve missed you. I’ve composed many a post in my head but haven’t put much on paper. Or screen, as the case may be. But I’m still here, working away, raising children, sewing, exercising, wifing (I’m not sure that’s a real word), friending – busy. Busy busy.

My sewing life has been insane of late. There are days when I feel like I really know what I’m doing and things are beginning to click. I’m ripping out fewer stitches and finding it easier to follow directions. I’ve been doing all kinds of sewing – quilting, dress making for both myself and Courtney, applique work for my kids and friends, bag making, clothes making and on and on.


The 2 dresses I made are both for me, as well as the skirt! I’d seen an image of the black dress, for a pattern I already owned, on Pinterest and I knew I had to have it. It’s the perfect dress to pair with leggings or jeans in the fall and winter or to wear on its own in the summer. The skirt I made following this Craftsy class following the Sew Mama Sew Online Challenge. I didn’t win for the skirt, which I love, especially the hidden pops of color in the pocket and waistband, but the dress below DID win!

I almost didn’t enter this little dress in the competition because there were some amazing dresses in the challenge. Dresses that I wish I had made! But I love how this dress came together. It’s hard to tell but the bottom section has trees with flower blossoms blowing and the top has cute little blue birds. The one thing I did learn while making this dress, Courtney is now big that she requires more than 1 yard of fabric to complete a dress! She’s getting so big. I had to add the orange band at the bottom to complete the dress length but I do think it looks great with the fabric.

I have also been working on tons of new applique designs – all in my Etsy shop!

And of course there’s the quilting! The quilt on the left was more of just a fun, play piece. Something I could put together without a ruler, cutting on some angles and just generally playing around. The quilt on the right is the 12th Street Quilt that I helped test for Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics. I’d been dying to make a “fall quilt” in browns and greens and oranges and I an thrilled with how quickly this came together. Of course, it’s taking me forever to get it quilted and bound but that may actually happen in the next 24 hours!

The bag on the left is a little cosmetic bag I made for a dear friend while the shirts on the right I made for another friends twin 5-year old boys.

A birthday gift for a 5 year old princess!

And lastly, I put together this table runner for my quilt guild. We were doing a fabric challenge with Hip Holiday fabric that Blend was kind enough to give us. I can’t wait to add this to my holiday table this year!

Well that’s enough for today. Hopefully someone will actually read this but to myself, I promise to do some more writing!

Where have I been?

Apparently I haven’t posted here in a while. I’ve been busy but not that busy. OK, pretty busy. “Doing what” you ask? I have no idea. The kids are out of school, so there’s that. We’re swimming and driving around and camping (not as in sleeping in a tent but as in going to) and swimming some more and sweating and playing outside and trashing the house. Repeatedly. And I’ve been sewing. A lot. But I feel as though with each passing completed item, I’m getting better and better at what I’m doing. More confident. I’m not googling sewing questions, as much…

I’m currently enrolled in an online class through Whipstitch on summer dresses. I’m loving learning some new skills and sewing things for me for a change. I ended up adding a lining to the skirt of this baby doll dress. In hindsight I don’t think I needed to but it was good practice for me. The dress is fun and summery and flow-y and I’m going to enjoy feeling relaxed and comfy in this dress.

I’ve also been on a bag kick. I’m getting ready for some summer travel and I’m super excited to have some new luggage to carry all my goodies. No one’s going to mistake these bags for theirs at the airport!! I’m loving the purple polka-dot interior with colored zippers and fun pockets of the Aeroplane bag on the bottom. While most people won’t see that, I’ll know it’s there and know the pop of color surprise is in there for me! I feel like both of these bags are fun colors and will bring some sunshine to my life.


I recently finished a custom order for someone in honor of 3 sisters. I’m used to sewing clothes for smaller kids and I couldn’t get over how large a size 10 shirt is! I can’t imagine that Courtney’s ever going to fit in something that big but I imagine that day will be here before I know it (insert sad face here)!

I’ve also been doing some quilting here and there and completed this quilt top:

This picture is no good so while you can see the design, you can’t tell how awesomely vibrant the colors are or how cute they are too. Once I get the quilt sandwiched and quilted, I’ll get much better pictures!

And finally, I made this cute little shirt for Patrick. Nothing says summer to me like beaches and sailing. And while we don’t do much (any) sailing, I can’t help but love it! Maybe this summer we can get the kids on a boat…

How’s your summer been? What are you up to? Anyone else loathe applying sunblock to their children as much as I do???

A quilt in the making

I picked up some fabric (shocking, I know) at my local quilt shop a month or so ago. They’d pre-cut the fabric and there were these adorable little bundles and it just screamed little girl quilt and so I bought some. Or maybe I’m just a sucker and I can’t resist ANY fabric. I think that’s more likely.

Anyway, I’d seen this quilt on Pinterest and I was all inspired. So I cut squares and then made triangles and then sewed them back together and then ironed this huge stack of fabric. And then I had to figure out how to lay them all out. So I played.

And then I played some more.

And some more…

And I felt I was getting closer but knew this wasn’t quite it.

And then I got it! I’m thrilled with how this is working. Except for the fact that I’m short fabric. HOW CAN I BE SHORT FABRIC!?!?!

But I did have a few extra blocks, just not in the right colors. I was thinking of making a couple of pillows but Patrick decided to make a bed.

(Please excuse my terrible pictures, this is what happens when you take pictures in your pathetically lit basement.)

Blocks for Boston

In the wake of the Boston bombing, the Boston Modern Quilt Guild formed Quilts for Boston, a relief effort to make quilts for those that have been directly affected by the bombing and subsequent events. The only requirements were that the blocks be at least 12.5″  on one side as well as blue, yellow and grey in color.

I decided to go ahead and order some fat quarters and use some of my stash to create a few blocks.

The first 2 blocks were from a pattern. A few easy HST’s, a cool layout and voila! I love these blocks although the second block is pretty busy.

This block I just made up with some of the fabric I had left. I wanted to highlight the flowers and wanted to do something fun.

This isn’t much for me to do in light of what happened in Boston. I feel like as a New Englander and as a runner, the bombing hit close to home. A run like that should be peaceful, fun, safe. There’s a big run here on the 4th of July, it’s a 10k but there are tens-of-thousands of people that run it, myself included. It’s a wonderful event with tons of spectators and goodness and camaraderie and it’s a great time had by all. But this year it won’t be quite the same. There will be uncertainty and a sense of uneasiness. Life shouldn’t be like that.

My hope is that the recipients of these quilts find some peace and comfort, some love and maybe a virtual hug. It’s the least I can do.

My Velocity Girl Bag

An embarassingly long time ago, Sara from Sew Sweetness had a shout out on Facebook asking if anyone wanted to try one of her bag patterns and post about it on their sewing blogs. I immediately emailed her to express my interest. I’d seen her Dot Dot Dash bag live and in person at a West Modern Quilt Guild meeting and was instantly smitten. My big dilemma – which bag do I choose? Sara sent me 3 designs and eventually I settled on the Velocity Bag as my bag of choice. Then, because I’m a dork, I spent WEEKS trying to decide what fabric to use. If you’re going to make a kick-butt bag like this, you don’t want to use just any fabric. And while I don’t 100% love this fabric, I’m pretty pleased with how it looks.

What’s not to love about this bag? It has NINE pockets. NINE!!  Five outer pockets, 3 inner pockets that are perfect for keys, slipping your cell phone into and other items that you may need to access quickly. But it also has an inner zippered pocket. I mean, COME ON! Awesome.

The strap on this bag is adjustable, which I love. I hate when you love a bag but it just doesn’t seem to hang right. The Velocity bag also has a magnetic snap to keep it closed. The next one I make (and I will make it again) will probably have a zippered closure. I have a knack for throwing my bag in the car, the bag falling over and everything falling out of it. Not awesome.

And this bag is super sturdy. Sara suggests Annie’s soft and stable as well as another interfacing for extra reinforcement. The Annie’s alone is crazy sturdy, this bag isn’t going anywhere.

I love this bag and hope to get a ton of use out of it. This could be the perfect summer bag with lots of pockets for extra small water bottles, sunscreen and everything we’ll need for life out and about and on the go.

Slow sewing

Things have been moving slowly in my house the past several days. On Friday I had surgery, it was planned, and yet I was surprised at how it knocked my on my butt for several days. The doctor said I’d be uncomfortable but having never had surgery in my life, or at least the kind where they knock you out, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Apparently 3 days of complete exhaustion is what I should have expected.

My surgery was outpatient so I was home on Friday morning by 9:30 or so. But I spent all of Friday on the couch, as well as all of Saturday and all of Sunday. As a matter of fact, I felt far worse Sunday morning than any other morning. I did decide on Saturday night that perhaps the drugs I was taking were making me feel worse, crazy dizzy and lightheaded, so I stopped taking them and that may have helped. But the anesthesia. Ugh. Who knew that would be the worst part? Needless to say, here I sit on Monday afternoon and I’m still fall on my face tired but I have walked more today than the past 3 days combined. I mean, I walked ALL THE WAY to the mailbox, it was huge.

By yesterday afternoon I was able to do some work on my hexies for my block of the month quilt. I think I’ve decided that hexies may not be my thing. But at least I had them to work on because sitting on the internet for 48 hours was melting my poor brain. Poor, poor brain. And my poor fingers, this hand piecing thing is causing me sewing calluses! Gross.

What next?

My dad came to visit this weekend and we had a wonderful visit. I love when we get to spend time together and he gets to spend time with the kids. They just love my dad and he’s so great with them. The weekend went quickly, as they always do, and I was sad to see him head out early Sunday morning. While he was here, my dad asked me how many projects I have going at a time. Ha, funny question. Maybe 10? Maybe 12? I’m not totally sure. In my head I have about 1000, or so it seems. 
Now that I’ve finished both Courtney’s quilt and my star quilt, I’m without a couch project. Sort of. I enjoy taking a break from the machine at times, relaxing on the couch and watching a movie or catching up on my Hulu queue. But I’m not a person who can just sit so being able to hand sew on a binding or sew buttons is a nice way to pass the time. Sure I can sit and lose myself on the Internet but I get bored and can’t help but feeling like my mind is turning to mush.
When I was at QuiltCon in February, I heard a speech by David Butler, the designer behind Parson Gray. I’ve loved the “manly” look of his line but I think hearing him speak (and seeing him in person – yum) pushed me over the edge to buying some of his fabric. I found 2 fat quarter bundles of his line at the conference as well as a bundle of Kona solids that matched. I’ve pieced the designer fabrics to the solids, using Xylophone by Elizabeth Hartman as my inspiration,  and now I have to figure out how to put it all together. 
I’m also working on my Block of the Month with Alyssa and have taken my first journey into English paper piecing. I’m not sure how I feel about it but I did enjoy being able to sit and sew during ballet class this morning. I can see this becoming addicting but I can see how it would take FOREVER to make a full quilt this way.
And then of course there’s the day to day fun projects that keep coming. I put this fun watermelon shirt together for Patrick and will list it in my Etsy shop when I take a better picture. I’m also making some ties for my dear friend Kelly so she can use them on the cutie pies that she photographs. 
I have patterns for at least 3 dresses for me that are cut out and I have some kids clothes I’d like to make out of fabric I have on hand. I also have a quilt that I’d like to start for Patrick’s next bed as well as 2 quilts that are already in progress. And then there are all the things that I’ve started but haven’t finished. The “work in progress” pile is dangerously high and I’d almost be afraid that if some small person gets under there, they could get hurt!  
Well, off to the sewing table I go. What are you doing today?

Jelly rolls and geese – quilt top finished!

I could not be more thrilled with how Courtney’s quilt turned out. It’s the perfect color pallete for her personality (and her room) – it’s bright, it’s sunny and it’s heavy on the purple – her favorite color! The quilt top itself was super easy to make. I was drawn to this fabric line for the colors and the spring like feel, I think I bought it in February and I was definitely channeling some spring. The jelly roll quilt 1600 is crazy easy to make and doesn’t take long – you sew, you chop, you sew, you chop and on and on and on – but that alone wasn’t enough for a twin size quilt. I went ahead and bought a charm pack (precut 5×5 squares) to make the flying geese around the edges. I added some white sashing and voila, my largest quilt to date!

At my Atlanta Modern Quilt Guild meeting a couple of months ago, a woman showed a quilt she’d made using flannel on the back, “good flannel” she said. I went ahead and bought some good flannel (aka expensive) while it was on sale at QuiltHome.com for the back. They were super helpful in helping me match the right colored back to the front and I’m THRILLED with how it looks.

Because this was my largest quilt to date, I wanted to go ahead and try it on a long arm machine. A local sewing machine store has one here that you can rent and I decided to give that a go. I learned a lot by using it. For example, I learned that we’d loaded it wrong and that it’s super important to drop the presser foot or you’ll spend 30 minutes taking stitches out… I used a meandering stitch on the top, which I think was perfect for my first long arm experience. There’s no right or wrong and you can’t really mess anything up.

I also wanted to leave a little note for Courtney on the bottom and that was crazy easy to do on the long arm…. 

Lastly, I went ahead and added a purple on purple polka dot binding. I wanted to incorporate more purple (favorite color and all) but almost any color for the border would have worked.

I’m really thrilled with this quilt, as simple as it was. I love how the geese add a little something to the top and how all the colors are just so happy together. I really hope that Courtney enjoys years and years under her new quilt and as she grows up, she’ll always think of me when she cuddles up with a good book and a cup of tea.

My sewing space/A look into my disgusting home

I may regret posting this or maybe this will spur me to get some cleaning done but either way, here’s a glimpse into my sewing space. Or spaces, as the case seems to be.

When I first started sewing, I was working out of my bedroom. I had a small little table that I got at Ikea for my sewing machine and the leaning shelves I got years ago to hold my fabric. It was so cute. But then things started to grow and expand. I got another table at Ikea to use as a cutting table. But after a while we came to the realization that I could move my stuff to a room in the basement. AN ENTIRE ROOM ALL FOR ME! It was a bedroom with windows and a large closet. So I moved everything downstairs and we set it all up and it was so lovely. I wanted to paint, but we just didn’t get around to it, but I had a fine time down there.

But after a while Courtney quit her afternoon nap and it wasn’t feasable for me to be in the basement while she was having “quiet time” in her room. All I needed was for her to be sitting on the toilet, screaming at me in the basement, while Patrick was sleeping in the room next door. So I moved the sewing machine and some items up to the dining room table and that’s where things got out of control.

I’d love to tell you my space looks like this:


But that would be a big fat lie. Maybe someday, but definitely not today.

I no longer have a sewing room. I have sewing room explosion all over the house. OK, maybe not all over the house but it sure does seem like it. So here I show you my space(s). They’re a disaster. I mean – DISASTER! I’m getting a new cutting table tomorrow, a huge one, and I’m super excited. I’m also hoping that it’ll spur me into doing some cleaning and organizing.

This is my dining room table. Or was. It’s a mess. You can barely see my sewing machine, it’s hiding under a shirt I’m working on.

This is the bed in our guest room. Or was. I “store” stuff that won’t fit on the table on the bed. You could call it a dumping ground…

I have this little cart I used in the old house for laundry detergent. That top pile of stuff is all works in progress. Pathetic.

This is the actual sewing room. The one that I don’t ever get to use. You could also call this a dumping ground…

My lovely fabric closet. There’s also a great deal of Christmas stuff in here. But mostly fabric. Shhh, don’t tell Paul.

And I wouldn’t feel right if I didn’t show you the floor under the sewing table. Shoes, shoes, shoes. If I can’t find a pair of shoes, they’re under the table. (There’s also thread, thread, thread under the table but it doesn’t show up in the photo. Thankfully.)

So that’s it, that’s the disaster that is my sewing space. Perhaps after Easter sewing is done, I can do a little cleaning and organizing but it’s certainly not happening this week…