Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas! (a finished quilt!)

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Christmas bee quilt finished!

Priorities around here...

Presents = about half-way wrapped.
BUT the quilt is done.  

This quilt started over 2 years ago, with the help of some wonderful ladies in a little Christmas Bee we did... (Thank you Kelly, Cherie, Amy, Rene, Natalia, and Karrie!)  
The wheels are the "Cartwheels" pattern from Tula Pink, and the trees are whatever the creative ladies came up with!

I have more presents to wrap, family to visit, cousins to play with, and a house to tidy, but I wanted to share this before Christmas was gone!

Christmas tree quilt finished!

Blessings to you this Holiday season, and as the New Year comes!

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WIP Wednesday - O Christmas Tree

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Finally getting this bee quilt taken care of!

Christmas bee quilt top

Daddy took the little man to town today in an attempt to Christmas shop for Mommy (which is reason #432 I'm glad we had Scarlet, because let's just say shopping is not his forté, and I can't wait to send her along to "help.") ;)  

While Scarlet slept, Mommy quilted.

And when I spread the quilt out to check my progress (which I'm working on the binding now!), Scarlet practiced her favorite yoga move.

quilting in progress

No lie.  You tell her, "Scarlet, do your downward dog," and she gets to work. :)

Her brother was not going to be outdone by his little sister. ♥

quilting in progress

Oh how I love these two.

Wanna see their faces?

the two of them

I've been listening to a lot of Christmas music to try to lift my spirits, because like so many of you, my heart is still heavy.  

But a merry Christmas week.  And Happy Holidays.  And now a line from my favorite Christmas carol...

"Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother... and in His name, all oppression shall cease..."

Linking to Lee's.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Orange Chicken: a yummy recipe (and gluten free too!)

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I'm not a food blogger and have no aspirations to be.
Quilts will always be my first bloggy love.

BUT -- I'm a mom and a wife, and I'm always looking for healthy and yummy meals that make the big man, the little (picky) man, and the little lady happy.  I like this one too.

This is modified from a recipe I ate growing up that used two envelopes of Lipton Onion Soup mix instead of these other things I'm listing.  I'm trying to eliminate MSG from my family's life (it's a neuro-specific toxin!*)

I bought the ingredients to make it again this week. :)

Orange Chicken

I apologize that I don't measure.  I kind of don't know how.  I shake 'til it feels right.  No, I do not take that approach with quilts.  This is harder to mess up than a quilt.

orange chicken ingredients

Important -- 
  • Don't reconstitute the juice concentrate!
  • If you can't find pine/orange combo, you can use half a can of orange juice, and half a can of pineapple juice.  The bonus for this is that you have concentrate ready to make this again (which you will want to; I promise).
  • If you put your onion in the freezer for approximately 15 minutes before cutting, it won't make you cry so much while chopping. (thanks Miki!)
  • Bonus: Chicken thighs are inexpensive!  (I've never tried this with breasts; the thighs don't dry out, so that's why we use them.)
  • My dad and hubby grow the "CalRose" kind of rice.  You can find it in the Asian food sections of the grocery store.  Uncle Ben's (and the like) never come in to this house.
  • You can drain off some of the fat on top if you'd like.
  • The sauce is really yummy too.
Here are the super easy directions!

Orange chicken recipe directions

It will look like the picture in the top when it's ready.  And you're welcome.  It's delicious.  I promise. ♥

P.S. A funny story about MSG.  I lived in Taiwan for a year of my life, and learned a lot of basic Mandarin Chinese, including how to request no MSG on the food for my friends and I.  I often got very strong questioning looks (and out-right questions), and this questioning face made more sense to me when I learned the translation of the word.  I was told, the loose translation of MSG in Chinese was "Flavor Pow!" of "Flavor Zip!"  (Picture old Marvel comics bubbles).  No wonder they wondered why I didn't want any.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

a little top

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Sometimes, no matter what the list looks like, you have to sew for fun.

And for the naked 24" pillow form that was unearthed during your weekend's intense closet cleaning work that has been claimed by the hubby and the big boy and the little girl.  (I shudder to think of what it will look like if it doesn't get a cover on it soon!)

I was also fairly desperate to make something that was done with little blocks (these are 8" each).  And used my stash.  And was cute.  And gratifying.

a new little pillow top

Can't wait to finish this!

P.S. Still plenty of time to link up with this month's "Just Three" if you feel so inclined...

Monday, December 3, 2012

December - Just Three!

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Here we are... the last month of the year...

My report -- last month's goals:

1) Finish Pickledish
Not done -- but still looking good. :)

2) Finish Treasure Boxes 

I have the top done!  I'll be getting the link up for prizes up and ready very soon... so watch for it!  If you'd like to donate your Quilt to "Quilt Hope In" (benefits go to Heartline ministries in Haiti, who run a sewing education center as well as birthing center) -- just email me at traceyjay at gmail dot com, and I will get it listed.  

Treasure Boxes Quilt top

3) Learn to knit!  Amanda is coming over tomorrow!  yea!

I have learned the basic knit and purl... but haven't practiced enough to finish anything.  But I get the general idea!


This month's goals:

1) Really finish Treasure Boxes, and donate! ♥

2) A couple custom orders.

Red Sox for Harrison

I have this one for baby Harrison up first.  They wanted a re-make of a quilt I made for my cousin's baby, with a Red Sox theme.  I was so happy with how the letters turned out (because I draw them by hand based on the Red Sox font).

I'll also be working on this girly one... so cute, no?

Princess quilt

3) And my most important goal this month -- to help give my babies a Merry Christmas...and the big guy too.  ♥ ♥ 

RULES -- Pick three goals for the month, and link up here! (You can do more than three if you prefer... I'm flexible like that... and goodness knows I have more than 3 things I'd like to accomplish this month!) :)

Linking to Fabric Tuesday! and WIP Wednesday!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sprightly Fabrics

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Just a little FYI --

Sprightly Fabrics is a new little sponsor around here, and they are having a sale through tomorrow!  If you use the coupon code "Turkey" (from their facebook page), you get an additional 10% off their (already good) sale prices!

I got some of this pretty Flouressence print,

and I think I want some of this new Notting Hill plaid.  (They also have the whole bundle for a great deal too.)

I also love shopping at their little shop "I Felt Sprightly" for supplies for Scarlet's little hair baubles.  The fold-over elastic is so nice for headwraps (soft and colorful too!), and I have bought their die-cut felt pieces too.  It makes personal little hair accessories super easy!  (I have a few I'm working on right now, and I'm hoping to type up a little tutorial!)

We are in crazy cleaning mode at our house right now, including Mommy's sewing/fabric supplies.  

At least this kind of cleaning is pretty. ♥

Stash sorting

My Treasure Boxes top is almost done, and I'll be posting the link-up!  I apologize for the delay... everything takes longer around here than I anticipate... 

Happy belated Thanksgiving!  and here is a little gratuitous picture of the two little people I am most grateful for.  (that one on the left -- she has started walking ALL OVER, by the way.) 

cozy babies

Monday, November 19, 2012

I wanna play!

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With this to be exact.
AMH rainbow!

Instead, I'm typing up a tutorial, then finishing my Treasure Boxes (we're linking up this week!  You have until December 1 to finish if you want to be eligible for prizes!) :)

And working on a couple custom orders too.

I'm remaking this quilt for a soon to be born baby boy,

and working with this pile for a British friend of mine whose little boy will be getting a big boy bed twin quilt.

for a custom order

Still working on the design... she wants a Union Jack in there, so if you have any brilliant ideas, feel free to pass them along! :)

I'll be back before Thanksgiving to link up for the Treasure Boxes quilt!

So I suppose my rainbow will wait; those quilty bills gotta be paid!  ;)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

WIP Thursday

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- you have an hour or so to link up with November's "Just Three." :)

- you have a few hours if you'd like to vote for my Cosmic Quilt at the Blogger's Quilt Festival (it's in the Bed Quilt category)

- I'm getting Scrappy Sprouts for my friend Chelsa's quilt in the mail every day!  They're going to be so amazing together!  Here's our flickr group if you want to see and join in. :)

- I'm working on writing my Cosmic pattern, and it's getting so close!  I am teaching myself Illustrator and InDesign, so it's been very brainy work, but going well!  Here's a little glimpse of what I'm learning!

yes, I'm feeling *quite* smug to be figuring this out. ;)
We moms of wee-ones don't always get to feel smart or in charge. ;)

- Speaking of the Cosmic pattern, I am in the process of ordering templates!  I just got my first sample set in the mail, and I am trying all of them out tonight (I hope!).

Cosmic templates!

- One of the Cosmic templates is doing double-duty.  I am playing with my AMH rainbow fabrics, and Value, and planning something happy. 

double duty templates

- ^^ this AMH rainbow quilt, was inspired by this pillow talk swap top.

Pillow talk swap top

Now to get it quilted!

There is my WIP report.  A day late.  Like most things around here.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November - Just Three Linky!

Pin It I'm just going to embrace that it's November.
And be thankful.

The last of the rice was all tucked safely in to its dryers on Tuesday evening, with only one of the harvesters still running.  And then it rained for Halloween -- and I was even extra glad that harvest was over! Seriously -- so grateful to get my hubby back on a more normal schedule!

But -- It's the first of the month.  Time for my "Just Three" report -- and time for you to link up! (I love these reports!)
(Rules -- think of three goals for the month, report them, and then link up here and check out the others!  Of course you can work on whatever you want -- it's mostly meant for fun and a little bit of structure)  The button is in my side-bar over there...

Here is last month's report!

1) Finish playing with these pretty fabrics, and get this quilt for Laura Gunn done, sent to Lindsay for quilting, and off to Quilt Market!  It will also have a pattern!

The pattern is not ready quite yet -- but soon!  But the quilt was done!

This is my "Cosmic" quilt, and was my entry for the Bloggers' Quilt Festival!

"Cosmic" Quilt

It's voting time at the Festival!  My quilt was nominated as favorite"bed" quilt -- I'd love it if you voted for me. :)

It was fun to be able to contribute something to Laura's pretty booth though!  And I did feel proud of my first Market quilt.  ♥

For Tracey :)

(Thank you to Katie and Kim for getting this picture for me!)

2)  Give my baby girl a handmade birthday.  She needs a dolly, and a dress.  I need to get started on some little handmade Christmas something's for Steiger as well.

Scarlet's dress needs buttonholes before her pictures tomorrow!  (I haven't made buttonholes since junior high!)

But I did make her a little cozy dolly (I used this little Sleepykins pattern, and made the top patchwork)

little cozy dolly for Scarlet
little dolly cozy for Scarlet

3)  Make my pillow talk pillow!

My pillow isn't quite done yet, but I have made progress!  My partner wanted a palette of blue and green, loves scrappy, and Denyse Schmidt fabrics.  I hope she likes this!  (I think she will).

Pillow talk swap progress


This month's goals:

1) Finish Pickledish! (it's nearly half-way quilted!)

2) Finish Treasure Boxes (we'll be linking up the week of Nov. 20 for prizes!)

3) Learn to knit!  Amanda is coming over tomorrow!  yea!

(I'm linking to Kati's!) :)

OK -- Link up! :)  And happy Thankful month! ♥

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

WIP Wednesday - Scrappy Sprouts

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(link to flick group here)

Scrappy Sprouts

A call for blocks... if you feel so inclined...

This is my friend Chelsa.

We went to college together.  She is a sweetheart of sweethearts.  And sassy, and kind, and genuine...

She lives in another state, so I rarely see her.  A few months ago, I was heartbroken to learn that she was diagnosed with bone cancer.  They told her it was incurable.  You can read her story here, but bring tissue with you.

Every time I thought about her, I got anxious and sad.  And I wanted to do something. 
I can't really give her money.
I can't see her easily.
But I CAN make her a kick a** amazing quilt.  One that is so beautiful it pains me to give it away.  And I can pour in to it all my prayers and love and blessings.

I thought, and thought -- and one morning, I decided her quilt was going to be made of scrappy sprouts.  Ones inspired by the famous Orla Kiely motif.  Ones that look like my favorite time of a garden (when those little sprouts are just popping up).  And ones that are made of perfect, beautiful little pieces of fabric.  (With mixed neutrals for the background of course.)

So I made a couple blocks.

scrappy sprouts

And as I thought about it, I thought -- maybe my other beautiful bloggy friends would like to put a block or two in to her Blessings quilt.

Kristie, and Michelle, and Cherie sent me some blocks to add to my own, and they are so beautiful together.

Scrappy Sprouts

I'm not writing up a full tutorial (there is a for sale pattern out there that is a little bit similar), but here are the cut sizes (unfinished), and I'm guessing many of you should be able to figure it out by this.  The block measures 13 1/2" x 6 1/2" unfinished, and each of those little square sections are 2 1/2" unfinished. 

Scrappy Sprouts

If you would like to contribute a block (or two), you need:
  • monochromatic scraps of any bright, fresh color for the sprout (quilt shop quality fabric please)
  • mixed neutral scraps for background (some solids or linen mixed in is fine)
  • a 1 1/2" x 6 1/2" scrap of green for the "stem"
  • all the love, prayers, blessings, good thoughts, and best wishes you can shove in to a quilt block
Email me when your block is ready, and I'll send you my mailing address.  

Chelsa doesn't know I'm doing this.  But I can't wait to send her her quilt.  I'd love to have it for her for Christmas, so if you could send blocks by November 20 or so, that would be wonderful. :)  (I need at least 40 blocks for the lay-out I have planned, if you were curious.)

In other WIPs -- 
- working on the pattern for my Cosmic quilt
- Trying to finish quilting the Pickledish!
- Trying to figure out buttonholes for a dress for Scarlet!
- Praying my dad's harvester stays strong for the last 10 acres! (Jay's already broke down! gah!)

Linking to Lee's WIP Wednesday! (when it's up -- yes I posted a little early)

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, October 26, 2012

It's Cosmic Baby - Festival Quilt

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Pattern is now ready!

Happy Bloggers' Quilt Festival!  Welcome!

"Cosmic" Quilt

Meet "Cosmic."  

Specs -- 
Measurements: 90" square
Techniques: This quilt is constructed with a combination of templates, and rotary cutting.  (Those of you interested in the pattern will be happy there are no Y seams)
Pattern and Design and pieced by me! 
Quilted by: Connie Adams at The Rabbit Hole Quilt Shop (thank you for the quick turn around time!)
Best Categories: Bed Quilt, Professionally Quilted, Quilt photographs

This is the quilt I've been so busy with the last few weeks, which is now hanging out in Houston with Laura Gunn, in the booth for her new line "Cosmos" with Michael Miller fabrics.

The pattern is in the writing/testing phase now, and I hope to have it ready soon!  (I'll be emailing those who are interested).

This quilt is built with BIG (28") blocks that were inspired by this vintage scarf I saw on pinterest.  I modified the design a bit, because I didn't want any negative space between the points.  After graph-papering, and then EQ-ing up a bunch of different versions to get it just right, I made up a few of the blocks.

Cosmic Block

When Laura contacted me about making her a quilt for Market, I thought this design would showcase her large-scale prints beautifully.

And it does.

Poppy Cosmic block

The quilt measures 90" square, and I was happy to find someone local who could rush the long-arm quilting for me.  I think I was a little bit crazy trying to get this done during harvest time, but it worked out thankfully!

"Cosmic" quilt

On the back, I pieced in some of the panel that comes with the Cosmos collection.  I love that Laura's collections really look like art.

"Cosmic" quilt back

A big thank you to my parents for holding up the quilt so I could get pictures before I sent it away, and to E @ pinksuedeshoe for editing my parents out of the shot, to Angela for sharing, to Connie for the quick quilting, and to Laura for this beautiful fabric and great opportunity!

Also -- thank you to Amy for hosting this fun festival! 

Amy's Creative Side

Harvest is almost over! (last field now!)
My plan is to work hard on finishing this pattern up as soon as I get my hubby back... so hopefully it will all be ready within a couple weeks! :) Check back if you love it! Which I really hope you do.

And link me if you see any pictures of this quilt hanging out at Quilt Market! I hope to join it in the Spring! :)

OK -- a couple more pictures --

"Cosmic" quilt

Cosmic quilt back

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

WIP Wednesday - why not?

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Since I'm up at 2 am (my tummy was bugging me -- all should be well again soon I hope), I figured I might as well WIP Wednesday it up as well (I thought my husband might appreciate that more than me filling up some virtual cart somewhere and not having the sense to realize that I really don't need it before clicking through -- you're welcome Honey... actually, you owe Lee for giving me a task...)

What I really WANT to be doing is finishing quilting this.

kicking the quilt's proverbial ace

I know, I know... I want to sing songs to it too.

And yes, it kills my back and shoulders to quilt like this (I'm typically a straight shooter), but really... favorite quilt needed favorite quilting too.
If only long-arm set-ups didn't cost thousands of dollars...I digress again.  I used the "clams" all over design from Natalia's book.

What I am doing instead is --
- finishing up a little dress for Scarlet that I really really want to have done by her birthday pictures on Thursday!
- finishing up a little photo backdrop I'm making for the photographer as barter for those birthday photos
- trying to write a pattern for my new "Cosmic" quilt (grrr to learning new programs by mucking through them!)*
- trying to chase the mice out of the house.  I'm over-sharing here, but hey -- it's 2 am.  First rain of the year... they think they need to move in.  gah!  Thankfully our little mutt of a dog is half-beagle and alerts us to their presence by stalking random corners of the house.  She literally went in to hunting mode the day before the rain hit (smart little creatures -- I just don't want them in my house!  I think I hear one now running behind the stove!)  #countrylivingforyour  #notmyfirstruninwithrodents

And yes -- of course my big hero of a husband gets up to check the traps before I do.  Sensitive stomach and all.

You wanna see Scarlet's new favorite facial expression before I go?

She now does this -- all the time... she says "ooooohhhh..." like she's already practicing her sweet princess like reactions.

little Scarlet

I actually do sing songs to her.

*If you're a fairly savvy piecer (intermediate level -- no Y seams but does require cutting from templates) and would like to test a block for me that does not yet have full directions typed up (you're basically testing my templates), shoot me an email and I'll get you some templates.

Love you to you all!  I'm back to bed now and
Linking to Lee's! ♥
WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, October 22, 2012

Treasure Boxes - Quilt Top

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So... don't know how that happened, but I thought that THIS week was two weeks from my last set of Treasure Boxes directions... it's actually been three!  Sorry about that (sheepish face).  This is harvest as I've mentioned, and it's been 7 weeks since my hubby had a day off (he had most of today off due to rain...which is a mixed blessing for sure, since they're still not done with their last field, but it was good to see him!)

Anyway -- I digress.

Our most recent installment had us piecing block quadrants in to blocks.

The charm size has twenty blocks and the fat quarter size has twelve blocks.

This week -- Arrange them all pretty-like and sew 'em together in rows.
Press seams in opposite direction when joining rows if you like nesting seams (I do).

Nothing fancy with the border... I actually figured on a 5" border for both of them.  Normally I wouldn't do that, but ironically, it feels balanced on both (to me at least -- feel free to adjust as you see best!).

Here are the directions for adding the border! (You can find a pdf here)

Treasure boxes adding borders copy

My apologies for being late.  ♥

Feel free to work ahead -- we'll be linking up finished and donated Treasure Boxes quilts for prizes from Julie at Intrepid Thread on the week of the U.S. Thanksgiving (which is the week of November 18).  So you have about a month to finish!


Other than doing my mommy duties, I was very busy with an exciting surprise project I mentioned to you before... 

Lots of binding (which I finished thanks to this favorite new to me show)...

binding, binding, binding

But I got it finished, and had to take it out to the field to get a decent picture (which I'll show you in a couple days!)

My parents held it up for me before driving off...

Harvester and bankout

Here's a little peek.

"Cosmic" quilt sneak peek

I will sigh audibly when I get my email from Laura saying that it's in her hot little hands and up in her booth (I mailed it last week). :)

(You can see a couple of the other quilts my quilt will be hanging out with in Houston on Laura's blog.)


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