Monday, November 29, 2010

so grateful.

Pin It
Hello Gorgeous.

It's still not quite real to me that this is mine.

I had outgrown my old machine for the second time (the first time was a couple years ago), and was looking. 

But, as many of you know -- 19 month olds don't pay so well, so I wasn't sure when I would be able to get a new one. 

A few upcoming custom projects (that will be too big for my old machine to quilt) became the catalyst.

I had originally thought I would get the Juki TL-98Q, (and even got to borrow one for the weekend to quilt this little number from Debbie...yes, she let me borrow it... quilters are good people). :)

Even though I liked the machine, I wasn't in love.

Before I make any major purchases, I like to try to do my research, so I had my mom take S and I to Sacramento to try some more machines out.  

My friend Amy had told me about her babylock, and I had tried an Espire that I really liked at our local sewing machine shop.  The girl at the place in Sacramento was great, and gave me what felt like a really good deal (almost the same as I would have paid for the floor model Espire at our local store).

My mom said, "Box it up."

My mouth dropped.  

I coughed and sputtered and got that giddy, clenchy chest feeling.

It's my birthday and Christmas gift for the next 10 years, or for as long as it takes me to to make and sell custom quilts until it's paid off. 
I said it before, but it is the closest I think I will ever come to that wedding dress shopping feeling again.

Thank you Mom.
All tucked in to my sewing space. :)
I have already finished one quilt on it that I delivered to my mother-in-law as an early Christmas gift (you can see it in progress in the picture above (Shirley -- if you're reading this, I'm going to have to get pictures of that soon, or you can send me some if you'd like...I was in a rush after I finished it Saturday morning). :)

The extension table is great.  So much better for quilting.

Overall -- I am one grateful girl.

Jay having time off + Healthy family + New sewing machine + time with a friend + 2 finished projects + pie + Grandparents who babysit + Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, & Ron Weasley = Perfect Thanksgiving week.

P.S. I'll be selling my old machine if you're interested -- it's actually the "Heart Truth" version pictured here, but the same in everything except color to the Janome DC2010 -- it's a great machine for everything except free motion quilting on big quilts -- I'll be a little sad to send her away)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

done in time

Pin It I put it in the mail for my sister-in-law this morning (apparently, they already have their tree). :P

12 Days tree skirt

The design was an amalgamation of Allison's Easy Double Hourglass (but done with jelly roll strips instead of 2 1/4" strips) and my "Fruitcake under my tree" pattern.  And then I added a mitered border (mitering corners on an octagon is not as straight forward as right angles... by the way... but it still worked).

the indoor shot

I didn't do the math specifically; I just had to bisect the angle where the setting triangles and blocks met to make the border like this.

The fabric is from the 12 Days of Christmas line, by the lovely Kate Spain.

12 Days tree skirt

For the quilting -- I went to a class called "Beyond Stippling," last weekend with Debbie of One Stitch Off. :)  Debbie actually let me borrow her Juki after the class so I could finish it up!  (Thank you again Debbie!)
The quilting was done free motion in a holly leaf pattern, that I was really quite proud of actually.

my free motion quilting -- holly leaves

up close

I ♥ this tree skirt a lot, and didn't want to send it away.

swinging tree skirt

But I did.

I hope you love it Sharon.

(It was freezing out this morning when I took these, so I didn't get the best shots/have the best light -- but it works!)


A few closing words:

* I am still working on gathering logistics for some kind of quilt shop where the proceeds go to Haiti's orphans.  (If you'd like to donate some benevolence in the mean time, you can go see what Heather and the gang are up to with Modern Relief.)  I think we'll call it "Quilt in Hope..." Any other suggestions?  (Lee at Freshly Pieced is going to design our logo). :)  Be making/saving your quilts for donating though. :)

* My mom took me shopping on Monday.  I didn't get a Juki.  I got this.  It is probably the closest I will ever come to feeling like I felt when I went wedding dress shopping.  Pictures coming soon.

* Happy Thanksgiving friends.

*If you're in the mood for some Black Friday cyber shopping... Accuquilt is having a sale. :)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I want your quilts (and watch this space)!

Pin It Last night, while Jay was snuggling Steiger to sleep (he's better at it than mommy is), I was sitting and aimlessly staring at the computer.  I clicked on Allison's (cluckclucksew Allison) blog, and she had this post.  And then I clicked on her link.

She linked to the blog of a family working in Haiti.

And then, when Jay came back out of Steiger's room, I was quiet and crying.


I couldn't rest until I figured out a way to help.  (I also couldn't stop crying).


Nine years ago, I came home from teaching in Taiwan for my Christmas vacation.  At that point, I honestly believed I was coming home to say goodbye to friends and family, because I didn't know how long I would end up being in Asia.  My "plan" was to learn the language (I was good; I literally "picked up" Chinese), and figure out how to get in with the Chinese government somehow (I was ambitious too), so that I could work with improving the lives of orphans in China.

It didn't happen.

I can't lie that I felt a little bit despairingly last night after reading that post, that maybe I had chosen the wrong life path.

I listed a quilt for sale last week, that (I believe) has a buyer waiting to get to a secure internet connection to buy it.  The money was going to go towards a new machine.

A new machine will have to wait (or get a generous loan from Steiger's grandparents).

I have some more projects that I made just because I like creating beautiful things (even if they have no intended purpose), that I plan to sell.  BUT -- while I'm waiting for logistical information, I wanted to tell you all of my plan so you can join in.

We might not have a lot of disposable income, but I do have some quilts and I do have the world-wide web to help me find those people who might want, not only a pretty hand-made gift, but also for that money to go to big and little babes in a place with way too much suffering.

So I don't have all the details yet, but I will!

(And in the meantime, Allison sent me a link to this orphanage... if you're feeling so moved to do something right at this moment).

Friday, November 19, 2010

bee blocks in the mail

Pin It
Well... most of them have been picked up by now.  

For Amy -- Christmas Dresdens

Amy's Christmas Dresden

Amy's Christmas Dresden

For Kelly -- we got to pick our block; she's making a quilt for her Grandparents' 50th Wedding Anniversary (they were married on Christmas day)

I did LOTS of little 1" squares (196 to be exact)

Lots of little squares for Kelly

I was trying to add some symbolism with this block -- 
I'll explain my thinking -- 

- I decided they needed some good old fashioned patchwork

- the bottom is mostly aqua (we'll say that represents Grandpa), and the top is more pink (we'll say that's for Grandma)... the idea isn't perfect because I had more aqua fabric than pink, but the idea is that though they may have started separately, you can no longer tell where one life begins and the other ends... also...
- in 50 years, one collects so many little pieces of life all sewn together.

And another Dresden for Kelly -- it's beautiful in Bliss

Kelly's Christmas Dresden

This one is for Cat and the Fresh and Funky Bee.

Cat's tree block

The tree was made a la "Girl on a Swing", with my hand as the trunk.  Summer was the season I was depicting. 

These pinwheels within a pinwheel blocks were for the adorable 12 Days by Kate Spain.  

second block for Cherie

Block #1 for Cherie

And finally -- a little house and little tree for Sue in our Bee Splendid group.

little house for Sue

little tree for Sue


I'm waiting on fabric for one more set, and then have a few more to sew, but then I'm done for the year!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Christmas quilt top

Pin It Add another one to my pile of to be backed/basted!

Christmas bee quilt top

This is my Christmas Bee quilt top...and I LOVE it... and I want to always ask my Bee friends to make big blocks because sewing them together is so quick and easy!

THOUGH -- I can't decide if the top is really finished or not.  Should I add a patchwork border?  The husband thinks not, and that would be less work; however, I kind of think I *should.*

We'll see.

The backing is a pain, I must admit.  I have scraps + a couple random yards, and this is a pretty big quilt.  So I'm working on it.

Yesterday, the hubs and I went out to celebrate our anniversary (sans child), and we went to try out some sewing machines.  I tried the babylock Espire (which has been upgraded to the Symphony now), and it was really nice.  But I still think I'll go with the Juki.  But I need to hurry if I'm going to get all my tops done by Christmas!  Yipes!

(Christmas Bee friends -- when I get this finished, I'll post all about how wonderful each of your blocks are...because they are...and I ♥ them)


I am entering this is SewCalGal's Christmas quilt show... I just wish it was all the way finished! :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

pillow talk swap progress

Pin It I'm trying to get this finished well ahead of the Dec. 15 deadline (because I have a million Christmas gifts to make.)

Got the top pieced!

PTS 4 progress

I've asked my partner if (s)he would prefer a hexagon shaped pillow, or for me to square it up.  I can't decide which I'd like to do more.

This was my starting stack of fabric.

PTS 4 fabric/design audition

I used a design idea from Material Obsession 2, ordered the template from here, and got busy.

It was my first time doing set-in seams, and they went really well thankfully.

You can kind of see in this picture, each of the sixty degree triangles are make up of thirds.  Then it's just about rearranging (I think I rearranged for over an hour, and have a nice stack of those little pieces cut in a spare box... waiting for me)

pillow talk lay-out ideas

I do think it's funny that both my pillow talks so far have been in the orange and grey color scheme... I think it's quite popular these days.

Oh, and in case my partner doesn't respond -- what say you all?  Keep it a hexie, or square it up?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

4 years.

Pin It
small wedding collage

Honey, you still get the honor of giving me the happiest day of my life.

And you still sweep me off my feet.

feet off the ground

Thank you for being my husband.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

a doll quilt for a friend

Pin It I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner... but swapping with a friend really is more fun (at least some of the time).

This is the little doll quilt I made for miss Krista of Poppyprint creates.  If you haven't met Krista yet, you really should, because she is the perfect blend of artistic and scientific, sympathetic and realistic, and all kinds of encouraging and genuine.

My goal is to drive up the 5 to her land of Canada one day quite soon.

Krista's doll quilt all finished

Originally, I was going to use a different design from Material Obsession 2, when I saw a little blog post of miss Krista's.

Thankfully, I knew a cheater way to make those lone star diamonds, and had even made one before, so this weekend, after adding a few new voiles to my collection, I got started.

And then I wanted to finish.

Krista's doll quilt all finished

I made an error with a few of my measurements, and consequently had to change some of the fabric selections (I didn't want to waste Little Folks), but I still think it turned out beautifully.  

I also wasn't sure how to quilt it, and Krista, I hope you don't mind what I settled with... I really wanted the fabric to stand out on the quilt (because it's so pretty).

The border is one of my favorite parts of the quilt (that and the purple diamonds), so I chose my binding so as to enhance and not detract from the border.  

The linen is the heavy linen from Moda's French General.

I hope you love it!  No rush on the return Krista!  As soon as I get the label sewn on, I'll mail it your way.

(The reality is, I have a Christmas to make list a mile long, a couple more swap items, and just got our insurance changed over finally ;) ;)... Since I don't know how much sewing I'll be doing in a couple months, I wanted to get it done now!). :)

P.S.  Thank you everyone for all the love on "I Dance in Circles."

Sunday, November 7, 2010

it's up! (I dance in circles)

Pin It I dance in circles

Go see it in the Bake Shop! 

Tell me what you think (if you haven't already). :)

Show me when you make it! :)

Read more about the inspiration here.

Oh!  If you want to make this with fat quarters or yardage, instead of a layer cake, I'd recommend using 8.5" or 9" squares instead! :)

This quilt really was so fun to make. :)

stained glass fandango

I dance in circles

and here's the back if you're the kind of person who likes to see that. :)

I dance in circles back

Saturday, November 6, 2010

what a good day

Pin It It all started with a change meeting at my favorite local quilt shop.

The lady across the counter seemed familiar to me... and she couldn't stop looking at my son with that "why do I know this child?" kind of thought.

"Are you Pam?"
"I'm 'traceyjay.'"

Since then, I've ran in to Pam a few times, and exchanged a few emails (including her offer to pick me up and take me to Pacific International Quilt Festival -- which, sadly, I couldn't attend)...

She invited me to a class in needle-turn appliqué led by Tonye Phillips.  (Tonye makes gorgeous quilts, with intricate appliqué, that remind me a bit of Beetlejuice meets Little Red Riding Hood.)

an incredible quilt by Tonye Phillips
quilt by Tonye Phillips

But that's where I was yesterday.

It is the first time I've ever had any kind of quilting class, or even sewn with people in real life (not counting my junior high 4-H lessons).

And it felt good.

Here is my first little bit of needleturn appliqué!

my first Needle turn appliqué

Because I was right next door to the quilt shop, and because the boy was at home with his grandma... I did a *little* extra special shopping.

Fabric shouldn't be this pretty.

Naomi Ito
Naomi Ito for Nani Iro (hope I got those right)

And when it is, it is impossible to resist.

some more Little Folks voile

Speaking of fabric... I met the lovely Mrs. McPorkchop at the class.  Not only did the girl make the most amazing egg-nog cheesecake I've ever eaten (with homemade graham crackers in the crust no less!), but she gave me this.

my first (and only) little bits of FMF
some FMF from Mrs. McPorkchops

The little sproutlings!  I the little sproutlings.


Though not nearly as delicious as the aforementioned cheesecake, I did make a favorite salad of mine (that I didn't think to take a picture of until I got it home and was eating my fourth  second bowl.

"Flying Farmer Chicken Salad."
(made with rice from our field... yes, the one right outside my house... yep, we farm rice... don't you think about making this with Uncle Ben's... you can get really good "Calrose" rise in the Asian food section of most grocery stores... yes, it is California rice that is coming back from Japan)

Flying Farmer Chicken Salad
Flying Farmer Chicken salad

5 c. cooked chicken, diced
2 tbsp. salad oil
2 tbsp. orange juice
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 c. celery
1 1/2 c. green grapes (sliced)
1 (11 oz.) can mandarin oranges (drained)
1 (13 oz.) can pineapple tidbits (drained)
1 c. slivered almonds, toasted
3 c. cooked rice
1 1/2 c. mayonnaise (Don't put all of it in at once -- you probably only need 1 cup)
Mix first 5 ingredients and let stand 4 to 5 hours or overnight. Add remaining ingredients and chill for a couple of hours.

I decided to snap a picture with Pam before I left.  Thank you friend for making this day possible!

with "Library Gal" Pam


P.S.  While I was gone, my mother-in-law helped clean my house (which I so appreciate!), so I was free to get this little project started. :)

WIP with Little Folks

Monday, November 1, 2010

lions, and Steigers and ewoks...oh my!

Pin It I made Steiger his Halloween costume.

The idea came this summer, while we were camping at the coast and S was walking around in a berber-y (not to be confused with Burberry) sweat shirt.

"He looks like an ewok."

And the idea was born.

I got the pattern at JoAnn's for 99 cents... and started sewing my first clothing item in well over 15 years (and those were with the assistance of my faithful 4-H leader).

But it went well.  Apparently I can follow more than just a quilting pattern.

You saw the beginnings here... (when he was dancing around the house with glee).

I contemplated leaving him a bear.

little bear soon to be ewok

But found a really old and worn out shirt of Jay's to use as Wicket's hood.

Besides, he walked like an ewok anyway.

little wicket

I decided to make the hood removable... which turned out good and bad.


Cute family photo

Happy Halloween!

and cute Steiger photos

little S


Mommy was free to show Steiger it really wasn't so bad after all.

see S, it's not so bad

He did wear it for the big night thankfully.

my little ewok

In the end though... it was all about this house:

trick or treat!

and the sucker he found on the other side.

ewok with lolly


Related Posts with Thumbnails