A little scrap action

My scrap situation is downright ridiculous.  Seriously, I have 10 scrap baskets, which are all crammed totally full.  So I made this after I fell in love with Amanda Jean’s.

ImageThe only disappointing part is that I think I have more scraps now than when I started because of all the solids I had to cut into.  There are some serious scrap quilts in my immediate future.

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Teacher Gifts

Nacho Baby has an amazing teacher this year.  She differentiates instruction, is creative as can be, and is a master at seamlessly integrating technology in her lessons.  The best part, though, is that she has made learning fun for my son.  Overall, this has been the best year for my son.  We moved to a new house, and now Nacho Baby gets to ride the school bus, which is probably his favorite thing in the whole world!

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Before the year began, I made this tote for his teacher.  I saw it on Pinterest, of course.  And I followed the path and the girl who made one had an etsy shop that I can’t seem to find.  Maybe she is no longer selling her wares.  Anyway, as soon as I can find it, I’ll plug in the link.  If you find it sooner, feel free to share.  So, this girl with the shop will sell these personalized bags for $30ish, which is a great price when you consider the hand-stitching around the letters. This was fun to make, but there probably won’t be another one made here:-)

How did I make it?  I bought the bag at my local craft store– 3 bags for $7.99!  Then I put fusible webbing on the back of several scraps that I then cut into triangles, and then fused them on the bag.  Afterward, I attached rick rack.  Then, I made the letters, fused them, and went around them with perle cotton by hand. Easy peasy.

For Christmas, I made Mrs. Reynolds a quilted ipad cover. (I also gave her an itunes gift card)

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I used Freckled Whimsy’s free tutorial.  It pretty much demystifies zippers.  Seriously.  I didn’t even cuss.  The only change in the pattern was that I made it a little larger so that an ipad with a smart cover could more easily fit in it.  The first ones I made will fit my Nook, but then I made it a little larger for my ipad2.  Stylistically, I’m completely inspired by Amber Carrillo.  She has amazing style.  In fact, go look at her stuff in her etsy shop.  Her blog is also awesome.  She’s always working on something cute and clever.  In fact, if you like her stuff, contact her because I know she does this for a living and will ship to you!

The one thing I’d change about this ipad case for Mrs. Reynolds is that I’d use a lighter green for the dialogue balloon so that the words can be seen.  Or maybe just use a black thread.

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So there you have it.  What crafty things did you make (or plan to make) this year?

 

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Wonky Star Quilt Class

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My homegirl Jessi and I are teaching a class together (the first of a series!) next Saturday.  You should join us if you’re in the San Antonio area.  $35 plus materials.  And you get to hang out with us for the afternoon.  Even if you’ve never sewn a stitch, it’s the perfect beginner class, but really, the best thing about it is that this pattern looks too precious in Christmas fabrics, baby fabrics, patriotic fabrics, or anything your heart desires.  And after you make one of these quilts, you’ll just have to start another:-)

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Shot Cotton Chevrons

One of my goals for 2012 was to produce “show quality” work.  I wish I could say that I’m there, but I’m not.  Angela Walters talked about Sue McCarty in one of her posts this week, and mentioned that Sue spent 850 hours on her latest show quilt.  I’ll never be at that level of work. But show quality to me just means that you’re ready for the world to see your work and judge it favorably– I’m not talking about show quality at the winning level.  So, even though I’m not ready, in the past year, I have had a few clients’ quilts in local shows.  Unfortunately, they weren’t quilts that I would have chosen to be the best representation of my work.  Yes, they were beautiful quilts, but, they weren’t quilts that I felt that my quilting brought them to that level where you stood back and really were intrigued by what I did to them.

So I decided that I needed to put a quilt out there that I thought showed what I can do and where I am right now because I’m afraid if I don’t force myself to enter a show, then I’ll sit here forever without putting my work out there.  I started by thinking about the very best quilting I’ve done.  I can feather.  Not elaborate feathers.  Not heirloom feathers.  Not Amish feathers.  Not even feathers with interesting spines.  Just some nice feathers.  So I decided to piece a quilt to show my feathers.  Meet the shot cotton feathered chevrons show quilt.

All the fabrics were shot cottons, my favorite solids right now.  Each chevron was quilted with a different thread color so that the thread didn’t become the focus.  As for the binding, I didn’t want it featured, so I wrapped it behind the quilt so that it wouldn’t show.  I used silk batting since this quilt wouldn’t be washed much and the drape was nice.

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And check this out.  I entered it in the local New Braunfels Quilt Show and won second place in the wall quilt category!  I’m so honored because I truly did not think I would win anything.  The show is very traditional.  Most of the quilts have an amazing level of workmanship and this, quite frankly, just wasn’t a technical piece. But they liked it, and most importantly, I’m glad I took a risk and entered it.

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AMH Feathers

Anna Maria Horner is my favorite designer (tied with Tula, of course! Can I just say that I love them both equally?)  What I love about Anna Maria Horner is her ability to put a line of fabric together that works together but doesn’t look matchy matchy.  I love her Bohemian style in its entirety.

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My friend Jordan and I were waiting for her FREE feather pattern to become available, and when it did, we jumped on it.  Like pronto, y’all.  Have you seen it?  When I finally noticed it on Pinterest, we set up a sewing date the very next day.  And then I couldn’t stop until this became a quilt.

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This quilt is going to live with my friend Artist Steven Tilotta.  We’ve been friends since 7th grade when I threw frog guts on him in science class.  We became even better friends in 8th grade when he rode his bicycle to my house (crossing Beltway 8 in Houston!) with a Monopoly game strapped to the back of his bike.  And by 9th grade, luckily we were good enough friends for him to tell me I looked like a hot air balloon in my red MCHammer pants.  Thank goodness he told me before I wore them again and ended up in the yearbook. That’s friendship, guys.

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Steven is an artist, and I’m a collector of his work.  My favorite piece that I own is one that I call “Fury of the Catholics.”  (He calls it A Study in Red or something.)  He’s also created collage art for me with student essays, and collage art with some wine labels and classical sheet music (In our urban loft living days, we used to have wine parties and invite our piano playing friend to come play while we sat around pretending to be sophisticated.), and even some pencil drawings of Marilyn Monroe and Madonna (Steven, the early years!).  My favorite though, is a collage he did called Act 2.  (I’ll come back and hyperlink when I can find it!)  So, if you need art created, Steven is a versatile artist, and can do whatever you want– I’m sure of it.  Or if you need help bedazzling a Selena costume, call us.  We’ve done it before.  Like I said, very versatile.

Steven, I hope you love the quilt.  Love you, buddy!

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Summer Vegetables with Sausage Recipe

I love to cook.  Really, I love it.

So here’s a recommendation for you while we’re still in summer and squash is aplenty.  Grab your electric skillet, some zucchini, and get cooking.

Find the recipe here and be prepared to want to eat it everyday in the summer. Since I used my electric skillet, my kitchen didn’t heat up, which made this even better.  I used spicy Italian sausage instead of chicken sausage because that’s what I had unhand, but I otherwise followed the recipe.  Everyone in this house liked it, and that’s rare because Nacho Baby is a bit finicky.

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How to woo your longarmer

It’s always hard to offer advice to clients about piecing, which is something we see so intimately when quilting their quilts, which is why I keep my mouth shut regarding opportunities for improvement unless someone asks.  I mean, after all, I know what I need to do to improve (practice, practice, practice!), so please don’t think I’m coming from a judging place here.

But friends, if you want to woo your longarmer (and end up with a better result!), measure your borders.  Take a measurement from the center and the edges, and go with the median number.  Cut the borders that size and sew them (using pins).  Don’t just cut a long strip, sew until you get to the end, and then cut off the extra.  OR here’s what can happen…

All that fullness has to go somewhere!

I finally have a picture I can show you because one of my clients did not piece this.  It’s a rescued quilt top that she had me finish.  There are some cool vintage fabrics in the quilt, and the whole thing is hand pieced.  It’s just such a shame that the borders weren’t measured because that could have greatly reduced this fullness in the quilt.

As a longarmer, I do my best to cover up errors, but not all are able to be covered up.  With this one, I folded the excess, top stitched where the fabric met up again, and then quilted as if it never happened (with the excess hidden away).  My client then has the option of hand stitching where I topstitched and then seam ripping my stitch or she can leave it and just enjoy the quilt, which is probably what she’ll do.

This seems like such a little thing, but really, it makes a huge difference.  I have to work fullness into probably a third of the quilts that land on my frame, but luckily, it’s rarely to this extent.

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