TGIFF: The Spring Bouquet Appliqué

I’m pretty proud of my mom. Ever since I brought her on here at Hobbies Up To Here, she’s taken off running without looking back. She’s stepped out of her comfort zone and tried so many new crafty things. Not only is she trying new things but she’s also doing them very well. Her progress has been impressive and she’s learning new lessons daily.

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This week she finished her first appliqué square. She picked up her Spring Bouquet kit from Laundry Basket Quilts and knocked it out of the park with style. My dad helped, our course. He helped her built her light table and then even went so far as to help attach the appliqué pieces.

They worked together as a team to set up the square and then my mom sewed the whole thing together using her new machine.

Using an invisible monofilament thread up top and a matching cotton thread on the bottom, she sewed down each piece creating an exquisite spring picture with birds and flowers.

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Enough of my chatting, check out the picture below to see what I’m fussing about! Really, words don’t do it justice and neither do the pictures. They barely capture the beauty and precision in which she sewed this square together. I can’t wait to see the rest of her quilt come together!

A pretty birdy!

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The whole square.

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So much color and texture in those fabrics.

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Look at those perfect stitches!

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Super proud of you mom!!!IMG_0123

Check out our side bar to visit some of our favorite linkups. This week we are linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts, TGIFF at What A Hoot!, and Link a Finish Friday with Richard and Tanya.

Quilting in My Dreams

I have very vibrant dreams. Sometimes my dreams are so intense I wake up from my husband gently shaking me because I’m moaning and crying in my sleep. Well, those ones aren’t really dreams as much as they are nightmares, but you get the picture.

I’ve never struggled with remembering my dreams because they stick with me no matter how I sleep. Rarely does a night go by without some odd images floating through my brain while I’m passed out all cozy in my bed.

Recently, I woke up from a dream that really stuck with me. In it, I imagined working on Jake’s Marvel Quilt, a project I hadn’t touched in months. I had all the squares cut but nothing else done and I was stuck on how to go forward. How did I want to finish my blocks?

I knew they needed borders and while I had an original plan already in mind, in my dream I saw a different way to go about it.

squares

This was my original plan. Border opposite sides with the same color in the first round then switching the colors and making thicker borders the second round. But in my dream I saw one color in opposite corners then switching those to the other corner.

After getting up with this new idea in my head, I had to sew. I got all my chores done then headed to my mom’s house to work. I even managed to film a bit of my thoughts and process through the day!

In the end I came up with this!

Not bad!
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After making this initial block, I put it aside for a few days then resumed work. It’s a bit tedious, this process, but I like the way the blocks come out. Bright, vibrant, and a little different.

So far I have four blocks cut and started: one completed (above) and three in progress. In the end each block comes out to 10-10.5 inches squared, depending on how closely my cuts are.

It’s definitely a messy undertaking as I have to sew, press, cut for each row making this an extremely tedious process. While I’m glad to have movement on it, I’m a little overwhelmed at the thought of ALL THOSE BLOCKS I’ll need to make to complete a proper quilt for my son.

Along with my CIRCA 1934 quilt, my Playful Colors quilt, and the Friendship quilt, all of which are in progress in different stages here and there, I’m adding to the pile this Avengers Heroes quilt, too. The diverse projects I have going really gives me a lot to do and to work on without feeling like I have to stick to just one at a time.

WIP: My First Quilt…Sorta

Hey strangers! It’s been a while. Last I wrote a post was back in September and A LOT was about to change.

The biggest change was that I left my cushy office job to get back into teaching and tackle my first year. My official title is RtI/ELD teacher. My real title is The Floater. I float from grade level to grade level teaching small groups. It’s been a great experience so far but also very daunting. Half of the time I’m so busy trying to stay afloat that I don’t realize how much time has passed.

Over the weekend it got hot (again!) so we were melting in doors with the air on and finding things to do around the house. Well, just for kicks I pulled out some old projects that had languished too long doing nothing. And for some reason, I randomly grabbed this ol’ project, dusted off my machine, and started sewing.

Just. Like. THAT!

As if I hadn’t taken the last 6 months off, I whirled that machine into a frenzy and starting putting the borders on this disastrous thing. I have no idea what to call it since it’s not really a quilt and it’s actually my first attempt at quilting.

Really it’s just a hodge podge of squares I put together in college that didn’t come together right. None of them are sewn nicely, all of them are a mess, some are too small while others are lopsided. And worst of all, I think all of them have at least one corner that was sewn together wrong. The pattern doesn’t look right.

This is the backstory. In college my machine made the trip from Southern California to San Francisco one year. We used her to make cushion covers for an ugly old couch that had been donated to us for our new living room. I had no clue what I was doing but we managed to make covers for this ratty old couch and made it a little nicer to live with.

It was about then that I got a package from my mom with some fat quarters included and a book It’s Okay If You Sit On My Quilt. I was suddenly fascinated with patterns and quilts and sewing. But I didn’t take the time to really learn HOW to quilt so I just kinda did it on my own.

Years later, while living in my own apartment outside of the city, my friend and I would get together and try to make something from this colorful material that we had purchased and forgotten about. We stressed and sweated over the patterns and then gave up.

This beast is the product of those sessions.

It was from a fat quarter set I bought on one of our many trips to JoAnns. Really I should have been practicing how to sew but instead I was spending my hard earned money on fabric I didn’t know how to use! Using the book my mom had sent me I pieced this thing together (horribly) and tried to make something of it. But I ended up frustrated as it buckled and all the squares came out different sizes. In the end I simply tossed it away to collect dust. And collect dust it did. I didn’t find it for a good 10 or more years.

Now, for some odd reason, I’m determined to make something of it. It’s my first quilt. One that never got finished and it deserves to be completed! I bought all this colorful material to bring the whole thing together and I’m pretty happy with it so far. The black and polka dotted material really frame it well without burdening the overly colorful squares.

After making the borders I had enough for the backing, almost. It was a little short on length. But no other material really fit as well with the pieces so I made it work with a small yellow strip in the middle to give it that extra length it needed. This will also be the yellow I will use for the binding and will tie in well now that I have that strip in there.

The yellow is a little lighter than the other yellows but I think it works well. At least, I hope it does! Crossing my fingers everything comes together.

All I have left to do is to iron out the backing and flatten the top, layer the two together with the batting in between, then quilt it down and add the binding.

Simple really! HA! I can only wish it was as simple to finish as it is to type up. But I do hope to be sharing the finished product with you by Friday for the TGIFF link up!

While I wish I was coming back full time to blogging and quilting, I know I won’t be able to juggle everything yet. But I plan to be a little more active than I have been the last 6 months. The itch to be creative it strong with me right now. Maybe it’s because I spend so much time each day being creative and loud and in front of a small audience constantly that the peace and quiet of quilting is calling me!

Hope you stop by and leave a comment. I plan to hop around the blogosphere this week! See ya!

 

 

 photo wip_zpsbbf761bc.jpgSew Fresh Quilts

Crafty Corner: After

This past weekend was gorgeous. The sun was out and the sky was clear. It honestly felt like summer had come early. My son and I even got a little sun kissed from being outside while he rode his bike.

While my son rode his bike back and forth along the hot pavement, I took some me-time to work on my crafty corner. Yeah, that old thing was still a mess even though I had made some small improvements by moving out the wire shelves. But that was it. I had actually done very little.

But the day was warm and the neighbors were working on the clutter in their garage. Their energy must have been contagious because I quickly began to work on my room and soon I had all my stamping and papercraft buckets lined along the wall and my sewing table had been mostly cleared. With this little change the room opened up and seemed a little more manageable.

Then I went to work on the sewing table and the corner where I hold all my material. I cleared away the things that didn’t belong on my machine table and picked up some scraps and trash. Soon it was starting to look more usable and not just a storage corner for all things crafty.

While I was working, I found some small strips of material cut for a project I had long forgotten. They were from a Moda pack I had pulled apart for a disaster of a project for my son’s teachers last year.

Well now, aren’t these colors great together? I thought so too. After the table was de-cluttered, I sat down with some blue thread and quickly stitched the strips together. Once I was done, I put them to the side and wondered what else I could sew together while I sat here.

That’s when I saw the remaining Lollipop Moda stack sitting there unused. These were meant to be mug rugs but that project went nowhere and I officially stopped sewing because of the frustration over those guys not coming together.

So I grabbed two and sewed them together.

Just like that, I was quietly grabbing two squares at a time without much thought to the combinations or any pattern and I was sewing little pairs of fabric.

What will I do with this? No clue. But I felt like I was taking back a little of what I had lost. A sense of forward motion, some creativity, and that feeling of togetherness. Maybe of completion? Not sure yet but there is something positive about taking things that are just sitting around and putting them together and working toward a final destination.

I did a few pairs and then was called outside to witness a “Bike Parade”. My son and his friends were all set up with chairs for the audience and players were chosen to ride for the crowd in a procession fit for a king. They were giggling and being silly, wearing cookie costumes and wildly yelling as they rode by.

It was a good weekend.

Weekend Update: Vacation All I Ever Wanted

Last week I took a much needed week off of work.

Now, I need another week off to recover from my week off.

Spring break has come and gone, leaving me a husk of the person I knew. What I thought would be a great week of bonding and playing and accomplishing chores ended up being a week of fighting, arguing, crying and frustration.

Instead of feeling refreshed and relaxed, I’m tired and drained.

Oi…

And it’s not all because I over planned my week off with things to do but mostly because my son is hitting a rough patch phase of disagreeing with everything, needing or wanting everything AT THAT MOMENT, and just being plain difficult in general. And I’m so tired most of the time so my lack of energy is clashing with his amped need for attention and activity.

What I wouldn’t give for a peaceful morning with no plans and no little feet digging into my side. Well, it’s a dream for another day.

As for my week off, I’m back to work now after getting the internet installed, having a spa day that was the highlight of my week, going to an Angels game for my son’s first baseball game, went to a bubble show and then a morning at the science center. We stayed busy, that’s for sure.

I also pieced two squares together for a secret project. That was a great accomplishment for me. Got them done in a day. But that was all the quilting I was able to get in during my week off. I hope to get a few nights in this week and finish up the quilt I’m working on for Jake.

As for now, I need to work on my Google reader and get a few 1000 blog posts read. Yeah, I’m a bit behind.

But not for long…

Side Stitches: Done In A Day

This post should be called “The Seam Ripper: My Best Friend”. I’ve never used a seam ripper as much in one project as I did today. At least we are close buddies now.

I was asked for my artistic opinion from someone the other day. When they asked, it was for a simple project, just to get some idea how to display something. Well, I highly doubt they knew what they were getting into when they asked me, Mrs. I’m-Addicted-To-Quilting.

What started out as a simple project worked itself into two quilt square.

But, they were simple and easy to assemble. I cut one day and quilted the next. Then BOOM! I was done.

Simple and elegant.

The center square is a simple cream with gold flecks, just right to match the other fabrics with the golden stars and spots.

As you can tell, there is a theme which ties into the secret second half of the project. A secret I can’t divulge just yet.

Today I’ll hand these over to the secret patron who asked for my simple opinion.

I hope they don’t mind that I took some liberties and kinda went a different direction.

Urg, I can see some puckering of the center square. I’m wondering if my tension is not right and causing it to do that.

Per usual, I have my complaints. My cutting was off (only I could really tell) and my sewing required more than one seam to be ripped and restitched. Because it’s a gift and not being used as a quilt but to be displayed, I really wanted/needed the seams to align as best as possible so I could just leave it as I have for past quilts.

Just Starting: Jake’s Twin Bear Quilt

Pinned and ready for sewing

Back when I made my son’s bear a quilt for Christmas, I bought extra rolls and material to make Jake one too. And the promise was that I would quilt Bear’s quilt first and then make him a matching one so they could be twins. Well it’s been about two years and I haven’t looked at the stuff for it let alone worked on it.

Already made squares

There was a little bit of work done on it years ago after Bear’s quilt was finished. Some piecing and a small handful of squares have been made. Looking at all the strips I have pinned that are ready to be sewn together, I’m realizing I won’t use everything I have unless I make a very big quilt. So that might be my challenge, make my first quilt larger than a 16 square lap quilt.

So now with quilts two and three out of the way, I can officially sit down and give my attention to my son’s little twin quilt to match his bear’s.

Bear's Quilt

He’s very excited that my next project has him in mind and has asked how he can help. Hummm…..I like the idea of him having a hand in it but what? I’m not sure if I’m ready to have a helper in my crafting corner.

 

My little helper?

Who can say no to that face?