WIP: Sewing Together Wonky Blocks

My son has always been interested in my sewing hobby. He’ll stand next to me and watch the machine whirl away, laying down neat little stitches. When he was younger he liked to push the pedal down and “help”. As he got older, the mechanics of the machine interested him more and he would ask questions and open up my old machine, Shelby, just to see how she ticked.

Then he took an interest in fabric and colors and patterns. He’s very creative and loves to put things together, Legos being his favorite medium. Using the colorful blocks to build ships and rockets and towns helped him see how fabrics could be used in a similar fashion to build using color and texture. So he’d help me arrange blocks and pick out fabrics to finish off my projects.

One day I bought a cheap fat quarter set of some bright chevron patterns and gave it to him to do with it however he wanted. It was his project and I would only sit by to help.

Jake calls these

Jake calls these “zebra stripes!

I gave him some tips on how to cut with a rotary cutter (a little tough for my southpaw) and then let him sit at the machine himself to sew.

Let's sew!

Let’s sew!

He enjoyed the time together and really got a kick out of creating something himself.


Ahhh, look at how little he was! This was back in May of 2014. He’s now grown so much, cut his hair, and he doesn’t look like a little boy any more. He’s more grown and looking more… adult. Sigh…


So grown! He started 4th grade this past week and it’s amazing how time has flown. He’s still super creative and loves to build. This past weekend, while we had some downtime, we brought out his project again and this time he got to sew on the big Elna!


This time he was fascinated not only with the mechanics of the new machine but also the technology on Elna. His favorite: the button that allows him to cut the thread with one push! He even had a few suggestions for improvements!


Taking off from his starting point over a year ago, he sewed together strips and then paired them together to make groupings of four. With some help from me, we cut the strips on an angle and made Wonky Blocks. After, we put our heads together to create a block using what we had cut.


TADA! A diamond Wonky Block made from four smaller blocks. He was very proud of all his work, including his ironing. The end result is a bit crazy and colorful but he loves it!

We don’t quite know what the end game is yet for his first project but there are a lot of options: placemat, table runner, mug rug even.

Check out our vlog as we put our heads together and work on his Wonky Blocks.

Check out our side bar for some great link ups around the internet! This is linked up with Sew Cute TuesdayWIP Wednesday and Let’s Bee Social!


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WIP: Sew Day

Today my mom and I got together at her house to spend the morning sewing together. Some states have “snow days”, we have Sew Days!

The set up was in her spacious kitchen with two ironing stations and both of our machines. We had cutting stations on the island and lots of room to move around and get stuff done!

 I decided to work on my Playful Colors quilt top. I’m missing the fifth square so I’ve had to adjust my pattern. Instead of five squares with four filler squares, I’m using the remaining four and sashing them together. 
At first I was worried my fabrics would clash and be too busy but as I pieced it together it started really looking good. I’m happy with the stripes and how well they pull all the other crazy fabrics together.

My mom chose to work on her QAYG pattern. I’m super proud of her for working through this no matter what. She found one mistake and is working through some pretty bulky binding but she’s not given up yet!!!

She’s super close to wrapping this thing up! And I’m only a few sew days away from finishing too. We’re planning another sew day AND making time to podcast.
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Sew Fresh Quilts


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!



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WIP: And Now We Bind

This weekend we had some out of town guests from Washington State. The house was in a major state of disarray as we bumbled along making room for two more bodies in our little condo. One of our guests was my niece who turned 10 just the week before. This trip to California was her gift and we were excited to have her.

I was super excited because the Peaceful Planet quilt was for her! And the whole thing was coming together smoothly, until last Wednesday when I put the layers together and the whole things went wonky. Not only that but my camera broke too. I made it work anyways and promised myself to finish it in time for her to take it home.

While I was fighting with the damn layers, I was pleased to find that I had enough binding and wouldn’t have to make more! I can’t explain how much this made my day! Not that binding is a pain to make but it was one step I wouldn’t have to take because it was already done. And from what I could tell, the colors were going to work out really well.

That was Wednesday and as of today I’m stuck. Yes stuck. As I worked on the binding and started to wrap up this monstrous quilt (my first full sized quilt) I broke my needle! The damn thing just snapped! So I rooted around and found a few machine needles and popped one in. Within a few minutes that needle had an issue too! I couldn’t figure out why my machine was hitching up so badly until I looked closely at the very tip of the needle and found that it was bent at an angle! Just the very tip of the needle had bent, nothing else was wrong with it but it was catching the fabric as it went through the layers. What a bummer!

So that was needle #2. I moved onto #3 and crossed my finger that it would be the last one and then this thing would be finished because my niece and son were about to go to bed and I wanted to gift it to her. NOPE! I used that needle for a bit until SNAP!!! It broke, too.

I have a feeling it’s due to the weight of the whole blanket pulling against the needle and just snapping it right off. I’m down to one needle left but I think I’ll need to stock up on more if I want this thing finished.

Sadly, my niece left Monday and without the blanket. I did present it to her and explained to my sister-in-law the issue I had but I promised to finish it soon and to send it to her ASAP! She seemed thrilled to be getting her own blanket and I can’t wait to wrap this project up, pack it into a box and ship it off to her.

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A Binding Mistake


After making huge progress on my son’s quilt Wednesday, I was still very much in the mood to keep working on it. Usually, it goes in spurts but right now I’m on a roll so I decided to take advantage of it and start the binding.

I have to confess, it’s been so long since the last time I finished a quilt that I had to refresh my memory on how to actually make and attach the binding. So I searched You Tube and found this great video. Short, sweet, and simple. And, it totally brought back all that I remembered from before.

Feeling confident about this next step, I got to cutting the strips of yellow material for the binding. I gave it a generous 2 1/2 inch width with the assumption that I’ll make a mistake in the cutting or sewing.


Ahhhh, fresh strips! After cutting them up I went straight to the machine to start piecing them together. I was feeling confident! This was going to be a breeze.

My goal was to string them together in one go so that I wasn’t lining up, lifting the foot, sewing, cutting, setting it aside then starting over. I wanted a fluid string of binding to keep it neat and simple. It turned out to be rather easy to go from one end of a strip to another and seemed to make things easier to remember what direction to sew in by looking at the one just before it. So far, things were going well! At least, that’s what I thought…


Here we go…

Or maybe not. Ugh…


Something isn’t right here.

In my confidence I didn’t attach the right sides together but I didn’t figure that out till I got all done with every strip. Even while I was holding it, things seemed fine. The wrong sides were together and the right sides came together as one long yellow strip. WOOHOO! I was feeling so giddy that I had whipped the binding together in a flash that I didn’t pay attention to the fact that the seams would be on the WRONG SIDE!!! Booo!!!


It wasn’t until I started to trim the excess off so I could press the seams down that I noticed something was amiss. Then it hit, the seams were on the outside. This was NOT going to work. Like a balloon losing air fast, I deflated and pulled out my seam ripper. At this point the husband was in the room and watching me grumble curse words at the binding while I rip, rip, RIPPED my way through.

He suggested that I put off the seam ripping for a bit to watch an episode of Doctor Who and clear my head. I agreed. If I stuck with it I may find myself not wanting to pick it back up and I’m so close to being done that I’d rather step away when I can and then come back when my  mind is clearer.

If I have my way and get the free time this weekend, I’d LOVE to have this quilt done by Sunday. For now, it’s still a work in progress.

The Process Pledge

WIP: Jake’s Quilt

This is my first Work In Progress (WIP) Wednesday and of course it’s during a time that WIP over at Freshly Pieced is on vacation. So even though there aren’t any links for it, I’m going to go ahead and post the progress I made on Jake’s quilt.

Because yes, quilter friends, I have made PROGRESS!!!

I started his quilt way back when… WAY WAY back when. Like 3 years ago. This quilt is a twin quilt to match my son’s old teddy bear quilt I made him for Christmas one year. In 2012 I started working on it again and got interrupted when my then boyfriend (now husband) proposed to me. So, for good reason, this quilt is still unfinished.

IMG_1152 The plan was to sew while my brother-in-law was visiting for some Bro-Time with the mister. Since they would be doing MenThings, I would spend some much needed quality time with my sewing machine and this quilt. Instead, I got a lot MORE time to sew because our son found himself in bed quite early. He got into a little trouble at camp so his consequence was an early bedtime. Ahhhhhh, the bliss of quiet time!

IMG_1153 My goal was to finish this quilt top and get it ready to start the binding on my next sewing night. I had 8 squares to finish and then the quilt layers would be finished!

IMG_1154 With all the extra time I had due to the little one’s early bed time, I was able to do just that! The quilt is now all pieced together, layered, and quilted down. I even got the chance to trim the edges. It’s not a perfect quilt. Personally, I love the colors and the vibrancy of this blanket but I see MANY MANY areas that need improving. It’s definitely been a learning experience putting this thing together and I’m glad that it’s not a gift for anyone outside our house. Hahahahha. My son, though, is thrilled to know his personal blanket is almost complete.

IMG_1156 From his time-out in bed I kept hearing him asking me what I was working on and how far along it was coming. When it was all done, I did step into his room and show it off. He was over the moon to see it all together. Now to make the binding and attach it in the coming days. The binding is going to be a beautiful yellow that will really play well with some of the yellow in the strips. I’m pretty happy with my progress. This is more than I’ve done in two years! And hopefully with WIP Wednesdays and a few Friday Sew-Ins, I’ll actually get the umph I need to complete this project so I can start another.

IMG_1157 Along with this quilted WIP, I’m also in the middle of a WIP book: The Book Thief. My sister suggested that we start a mini book club between my mom, her, and me.  This is our first book choice. We have a while to read it because we’re all pretty busy but once we’re all done, we’re going to get together and discuss over wine and brie! I’m really looking forward to the wine… I mean the time together with my mom and sister.

Until next time when hopefully I’ll be posting about my progress on the binding!

Feeling The Itch To Stitch

Life goes in cycles. You go through a phase and then something else comes up and you latch onto that. Around and around you go, sometimes back to the things you once enjoyed or something new catches your eyes.

Lately, my life cycle has been focused on my family. They’ve come first in a multitude of ways. From my cooking and meal planning to how our workout schedules are arranged. Even my running has become mostly about pleasing my family rather than running to enjoy it for myself. While I enjoy running and I know in the end it’s a healthy option for me to keep me fit, I was really doing it mostly for others.

As I made these realizations, how so much of my life has become more about others than myself, I decided it was time to do a little more for me. What does that end up meaning? Well, it means taking a little of my energy and making time to do things I enjoy for me. It means taking back running to be something fun and enjoyable for myself. It also means picking up where I’ve left off on a number of projects and finishing them.

Like this quilt. This thing needs to be finished! With all it’s uneven edges and it’s screwy lines (I mean look at that bottom row…ugh), it’s been a work in progress for years. And literally, I mean years! I started sewing the layers together in 2012!! That’s already been 2 years just for the layering alone.

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We’ve had all the material to finish this quilt for a long time and I think I need to just sit and get it done. But I tend to encounter a problem. It’s draining to think of the mess I’m about to create when I start working on a quilt. All the scraps and string and pieces everywhere. It’s overwhelming. And it doesn’t help that I don’t have a dedicated sewing space that is only mine. My sewing corner is also our master bedroom so laundry and other bits are sharing that space.

Backing and Binding

Backing and Binding

All the material and pieces are assembled and ready to be used. The binding still needs to be made (ugh) and the top has about 8 more squares to be sewn down. It all seems so overwhelming but there is a part of me that desperately wants this finished so I can mark it off my list of unfinished big projects because the moment I do, I can start something fresh.

If I really want to take some time for myself and make it so that I have a creative outlet for just me, it seems that I just have to buckle down, carve out the space I need, and get to it! Make a date with myself to sit and enjoy the peaceful hum of my sewing machine. The only thing holding me back would seem to be needing the space my sewing area is in to be clean and tidy before starting, and that is not something I’m looking forward to. Who wants to clean their room BEFORE they play in it and make a mess? It seems silly but it looks to be the only way I’ll get in there and get this quilt done.


Still Unfinished: Jake’s Quilt

A while ago I got this great idea to match my son’s bear’s quilt and make a bigger version for my son using the same bright, sassy material that I did when I made this favorite bear a small lap quilt.

Little man!

Ahhh…look how little he was! Well, he’s not so little any more. He’s in first grade and learning to read. He runs races and loves to play air drums. He’s now lost 3 teeth and is pretty darn tall.

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Still silly…

Yea….he’s a ham alright.

He’s been patiently waiting for me to get off my duff and get this quilt finished. In April of 2011, I got the rest of the material needed to finish the project but you know how life is. You promise yourself to finish something and then POOF! You have a million and one things to do that take priority.

Since then my boyfriend and elementary school best friend moved in with us. The addition of his things to our already busy household meant that my sewing machine was unplugged and covered up for storage. I haven’t sat down to quilt in ages.

But last month we decided to take a trip up to our family cabin and spend some time in the simplistic, slow pace of Big Bear . I took up my sewing machine, determined to get some more work done on that damn quilt top.


Low and behold, the machine came out and I got down to sewing.

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But that didn’t last long. As I was settling into my routine and sewing down the quilt top to the batting and the backing, I heard The Guy call to me. He wanted me to join him. Of course, just when I am on a roll!

And then this happened…

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Ok so I can’t complain about being interrupted from my sewing when I get surprised with an engagement! The Guy had been super sneaky and jumpy that morning. Little did I know he was planning to propose to me that weekend. He did a fine job and we’re happily trudging through the beginning steps of the planning a wedding for June.

This also means that the quilt has gone back into storage to be finished another time. Maybe when we have more space or when I have a craft room all to myself I’ll be able to pull my machine back out to finish this darn thing. Or maybe when I’m so stressed out over invitations and seating charts for the Big Day, I’ll just whip out the machine and sew away my frustrations.

But I plan to finish this quilt in 2013. My son deserves it and I want him to have it before it’s too cool to have a quilt that matches one his teddy bear has.

Bear's Quilt

Bear’s Quilt

Weekend Update: Lobster Time!

Another weekend over and another Monday upon us.

And once again, my weekend was a blur of activity and errands. So much was accomplished and so much was still left undone, per usual.

I did get some work done on Jake’s twin quilt. Sadly, I ran into a glitch. My borders have not gone on straight so it’s creating buckling and tenting. Bummer, I was so close to being done! But I did let Jake pick out the material for the backing and the binding of his quilt.

Backing and Binding

I’m hoping this gives me the incentive to finish up and move on so I can play with these beautiful bright colors and see if they tie the whole quilt together like I hope they will.

Along with a trip to the fabric store we also made a huge donation of clothes, toys and books to Goodwill and then made a few other stops. By lunchtime my son and I were beat. So we took a quiet time out to relax and do…well…nothing!

All that nothingness was awesome! To have no responsibilities or commitments for a whole day was delightful. Too bad I didn’t get any running in because I have a 10k in two weeks. My sister and I are running the Santa Monica Classic 10k and I’ve not lifted a finger in training. But I’m determined to make the next two weeks really count.

By Sunday morning, we were up and ready to go nice and early. The sun was out and the warm air greeted us as we stood at the finish line to cheer on The Guy’s mother as she finished The OC Half Marathon! It was such a rush standing out there watching for her, hoping for her and sharing in her day! After that we celebrated with pancakes and breakfast (oh how I LOVE breakfast) together and relived the feeling of finishing something so monumental.

Then it was Jake’s turn. Time for him to play soccer! He has one game left in this little spring series and he’s had a pretty good time of it. He’s picked flowers, done cartwheels, sat and picked at his cleats. You name it and he’s done it.

Soccer star!

He also scored a goal or two. But since there is no score kept, who is really counting? Not me…

Beckham in the making!

After roasting in the hot summer-like weather, we headed home for a dip in the pool. Too bad the darn thing isn’t heated yet so it was a bit chilly for my tastes. But we swam any way, switching between the little hot tub and the bigger, leaf strewn pool. It’s definitely the off season.

Without realizing it, I was getting burned. And pretty badly. The tops of my thighs were bright red and tender to the touch once I returned to our home and surveyed the damage. Ouch… Add to that the burn marks around my eyes from wearing sunglasses all day and I was a sight.

It would seem that in between the early morning at the race to sitting in the blistering noon sun during Jake’s game and then ending the sunny day at the pool, I had not applied enough sun block and now looked like the love child of a raccoon and a lobster. Double ouch.

We ended the evening with a little family dinner and some TV watching. Gotta love a relaxing evening watching TV with the ones you love, especially after a long day in the sun.

Unfinished: Jake’s Quilt

Houston…we have a problem.

So I’ve put down a little time on Jake’s quilt to match his bear’s. A few nights this week I stayed up after Jake went to bed and added some borders to the quilt. I figured, if I added the matching strips to the ends of the quilt, it will lengthen it without being too much trouble.

Completed quilt top

In a few nights I had it done. The borders were added and the quilt top was completed. I was happy to be so close to moving on.

Ummm…Ok maybe I was not quite done. If you look closely, on the bottom left corner you can see some tenting, or buckling, of the borders. Yeah, I have a small issue. When I attached the borders, I must have sewn to adjust for the crooked cutting and made arches instead of straight lines. So instead of a nice quilt top that lies flat, I’ve got a nice quilt that buckles and won’t flatten out if I paid it to.

Buckling borders at the top

Damn it!

In a snit, I marched into my parents’ kitchen and laid it out on their large island (we call it the continent instead of island because it’s roughly the size of a small country) and asked for their ideas.

My dad, a non-quilter, suggested I cut straight down the center of the borders and allow them to adjust leaving me to stitch it together leaving a small seam on each end of the quilt. Not a bad idea, I thought. Then my mom, a quilter, suggested a few things like using a basting stitch then pulling the bottom thread to ease the extra puckering throughout the rest of the border.

Either way, I have work to do and a path to choose. I’m thinking I may remove the borders, trim the green border so that it’s straight and even, then reattach the borders. Sigh…I can’t get around it, I have some MAJOR rework to do to make this thing lay flat so I can put the layers together and start quilting.

The backing.

Even though I’m not ready to layer the quilt and start basting it together, I did take the time to go to Jo-Anns and pick out some backing and binding material for Jake. I gave him some choices and he liked this polka dot material for the backing.

Backing and Binding

This is the yellow we picked for the binding. Unfortunately, the colors of the quilt were hard to match. But in the end, I think the choices made were bright and cheerful which matches the theme of the quilt, even of the colors aren’t an exact match to the quilt top.

The three together

Aren’t they darling together? So happy and very much like Jake’s personality.

So while I figure out my plan of attack, we’re resting. It’s a beautiful day and we have nothing pressing to accomplish for the rest of the day. Already we’ve visited my parents’ house, folded the laundry, took some donations to Goodwill and visited a karate dojo for Jake and Jo-Anns for fabric.

I've brewed some sun tea

I think I’ve earned some sun brewed tea.

Sid the Science Kid

And Jake has earned a little screen time.

How he chooses to view that screen time…well that’s up to him. And today he seems to want to watch his show from inside an empty plastic bin.