Thursday, May 31, 2007

Promises to keep, or, Drawstring Bags Tutorial

Awhile ago (oh my, has it already been more than a month? time flies when you are having fun!) Tracey over at ozcountryquilting mum asked me how I constructed these little drawstring bags. I said I would put another one together and take some photos and post them. Well, I've finally gotten around to doing it! But, I did have a bit of a quandry -- I made the bags from a pattern I found in a Quilts and More magazine. Copyrighted. Not able to publish all of the info to my blog. Crap. (btw -- if anyone is interested in copyright issues and how they can impact creativity and the sharing and creation of new ideas I HIGHLY recommend this book. Surprisingly readable and available for a free download. And yes, I am a geek like that). So, what's a girl to do? Well -- while the exact measurements are copyrighted material -- the general methods for putting together a round bottomed drawstring bag can't really be. I mean, really, they've been around for ages and ages -- soooo -- do some math, make some adjustments -- and come up with a tutorial to create one of your own in any size you please! Works for me!

Materials required: Depends on the size of your bag really. Two fabrics, enough of each to get the size rectangles and circles you need. For the measurements given here -- two pieces of fabric 14" x wof. 2 yards of cording. Pretty thin stuff -- think I'm using 5/8" cotton stuff. General sewing supplies.

All seams are .25" unless otherwise noted.

1. Determine the finished size of the bottom you want. This can be any size circle really. For this project, I chose an 8" finished circle. Add .5" to the finished size. Cut one circle this size (8.5" here) from each of your two fabrics. (and yes, I did partially choose this size because it's the largest one my nifty new circle rotary cutter can make)
2. Here's where the math comes in. You need to determine the size rectangles you need to cut to make the tube that will be the walls and body of the bag. To do this, you will need to calculate the circumference of the unfinished circle you have just cut. The formula for determining the circumference of a circle is:

C = d * pi (or 3.14159 -- sorry -- don't know how to get the nifty pi sign into blogger)

So for my 8.5" unfinished circle: C = 8.5 * 3.14159 = 26.7"

Take this number and divide by 2. (13.35" in this case)

Round this number down to the nearest .5 inch. (for my sample I did NOT do this -- I rounded down to the nearest .25 inch. It worked, but I had to take some tucks when I was sewing the bottom to the lining. So, do as I say, not as I did). Add .5 inch to that number for seam allowances. (or, well, just round up to the nearest .5 inch and that is the cut width of your rectangle -- duh!) So -- for this project, the number is 13.5" for the width of your bag body pieces.

There -- maths all done!

3. Determine the height of your bag. This one is pretty arbitrary and really depends on what you want to fit into the bag. For this particular project, I needed something that would hold wooden train pieces that dd is going to be getting for her birthday (yes, the need for this bag is entirely practical as I don't really want to trip all over them). I decided to cut the pieces at 12" knowing that .5 of that would be taken up in seam allowances and another 1.75 would be taken in the drawstring portion. The other bags are smaller -- smaller base, shorter length, etc.

4. Cut 2 rectangles from EACH fabric the size you need. (in my case -- 13.5" wide by 12" high)

5. Pin the 2 outer bag rectangles rst and mark a line 1" from the top, and 1" below that. Sew the seams on both sides, leaving openings between the two marks, backstitching where you have to break the sewing line. Press the seams open. (and yes, yes, yes -- that is actually my lining fabric -- again, mistakes may have been made, not saying they actually WERE mind you, but do as I say, not as I do)

6. Sew the short sides of the lining rectangles rst, leaving a 3" or so opening for turning the bag. Press the seams open.

7. Take one of your circles and fold in half rst and finger press along the diameter. (this step is not strictly necessary -- but it makes lining up the circle with the tube much easier!)

8. Line up the fold marks with the seams on the bottom of the bag body tube and pin in place. Continue pinning around the circle, lining the edges of the circle with the edges of the tube. Pins should be placed so that the circle is on the bottom when you sew.

9. Using a .25" seam allowance sew the circle to the tube, removing pins and sliding bulk as necessary. Repeat steps 7-9 for the outer bag. Turn outer bag right side out.

10. Place outerbag inside lining bag rst. Matching raw edges and seams, pin together and sew using a .25" seam allowance. Turn the bag through the opening in the lining (you did remember to leave an opening for turning didn't you? I'm only asking because the first time I made one of these I might have forgotten that step for one of them...just maybe mind you). Press the seam at the bag opening.

11. Topstich .75" from the opening of the bag. Topstich another line 1" below the first. (now, again, this assumes you want a .75" 'ruffle' at the top of your bag. These are the measurements I used -- and they work well for a smaller bag -- the larger bag I made here, I might actually choose a larger ruffle -- but that also means you will have to adjust where you leave your openings for your casings in step 5)

12. Slipstitch lining opening closed. (or, if you're like me and figure oh well, it's a lining -- pull the lining partially out and use the machine to quickly run some stitches over it to close it up)

13. Cut your cording into 2 yard long pieces. Using a bodkin (or the ever useful safety pin) thread one of the pieces of cording through the casing you created in step 11. The cording should enter and exit in the same hole. Tie knots at the end of the cording (or be creative and decorative) to secure and keep from fraying. Repeat for the other side.

14. You're done. There is no step 14 -- or, maybe, step back and marvel at the adorable little round bottomed drawstring bag you have created secure in the knowledge you can create one in any size you desire in approximately the time it takes a toddler to take a nap. Yeah, make that one step 14.

Hope you enjoyed my little tutorial -- if you make a bag using these instructions, please let me know. I'd love to see a photo of successes and/or hear about any problems I haven't thought about.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Pillow Progress and Random stuff...

There has been work going on here this week -- I just haven't been posting. Thanks to everyone for their kind comments about my shopping spree. I do try to respond to all comments left with an e-mail, but for those of you who are "no-reply" I'll say thank you here!

Mostly I've been working on Mom's pillows. I've finished the tops, now I just need to sandwich them and do the quilting before creating the backings. I'm pretty pleased with how they have turned out (well, mostly -- there is one I'm not too thrilled with, but not so unthrilled that I plan to do anything about it), but now I have a quandary.

My quilting skills (machine -- I haven't done any hand quilting) are not the greatest and I'm not sure how to tackle these. I probably should just close my eyes (metaphorically) and take the plunge and hope for the best. I'm never going to get any better if I don't practice. I did make a practice sandwich and stitch away (no, no picture of the practice) and by the time I had filled up the sandwich I was feeling better -- but still have very little control. Since these are decorative pillows that are unlikely to see much wear, not so concerned, but I would like them to look at least decent. If any of you have suggestions about how/what you would d0 with them, I would appreciate it. Frankly, I'm at the point where either I'm going to dive in or I'm going to put these away for a bit. Since they were SUPPOSED to be mother's day gifts (for this year mind you) I shouldn't do that -- but I have so many other projects clamoring for me to get back to them and/or start them!
Oh, and sorry for the sippy cup in this photo. My daughter was trying to "help" when I was taking these pictures and I was lucky to get this one at all -- she's adorable, cute, and wants to help but doesn't always understand what is or is not helpful.

There were a lot more photos that included the back of her head and other body parts as she tried to lay across the pillow tops. Good thing I have a digital camera -- think I would have torn out my hair if I had had to pay to have some of them developed! Then again, I will put up with a lot for sloppy wet toddler kisses and giggles. Those make it all worth while!

I do have another finished project to post -- but I need to edit the photos since I promised another blogger I would show part of the progress. So, I decided to make a little tutorial -- just need to find the time to do the edits. Hopefully I can find the time to do that and get it posted tomorrow. Of course, I've also been saying that I need to run to the store and start cleaning up my sewing area for the past several days as well -- but I took most of today off to read a new book that had nothing to do with school. Bliss. It was fun, it was mindless, it was pure enjoyment. Oh -- I forget what that is like during the school year!

This last picture is here just because. Or, well, partly just because. I had to run back to one of the quilt shops I visited last week for a fabric I should have bought then (which I will show in the tutorial). Next door to the shop is a lovely sushi place. Since it was the right time of the day, I treated myself to some take-out for lunch and some for dh for later. So 1/2 of this was for me -- 1/2 for him. But really the picture is here because I was chatting online with a friend of mine this week whom I hadn't spoken to in ages and had to post it for her. We've been friends since we were in 8th grade together and she remembers when I wouldn't have touched sushi with someone else's mouth (and she loved it). We've both changed a lot since then -- grown up, tastes have changed, live in almost opposite ends of the country. I now eat and love sushi -- but one thing hasn't changed, she's still my friend, and I still can give her a hard time. So DBFWWW, if you read this -- this sushi's for you. It was lovely. And I thought of you while eating it. Hang in there, it won't be long until you can indulge again! And for my quilting friends in blogland -- it is just kind of pretty -- there HAS to be a quilt in there somewhere.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Doing My Part to Help the Economy

Or at least, that's what I told my husband I was doing this past weekend. I'm not sure he believes me. That's ok, I'm not sure I believe me. I actually went on a quilt shop hop. These things are dangerous! Especially when 6 of the 9 shops I had never been to before! So, I have lots of pictures of goodies purchased and a couple of pictures of projects I have been working on.

I went on the hop with my MIL and her mother (is that Grandmother-in-law? I think that's what I'll use) who is visiting for the next couple of weeks. My GMIL is a quilter (though my MIL is not) and uses these trips as her annual buying spree. No, I did NOT try to keep up with her -- but well, I kept on finding cute stuff. Our first stop was a lovely shop that is, luckily, too far from my house to make going there regularly an option. Most of their fabrics were reproductions so not too much there to tempt me (thankfully) but I did find these lovelies from the new Moda Peas and Carrots line (I think these may play nicely with my Dick and Jane fabrics for dd's quilt) and some aurifil thread on sale (despite the bright thread on sale, no, there weren't many, if any, brights in the shop -- might be why it was on sale).

Our next shop was also a Bernina dealer. Drool, drool, drool over the lovely machines. A dream or two about being able to one day afford one, and some fun little charm packs. They had just gotten in the charm packs for the new Christmas lines from Moda. These two little Sandy Gervais packs had to come home with me. I have an idea for them, but think I need to go back and buy a couple more. And since right next door is a sushi restaurant -- may even be able to convince dh to come with.
Day one (oh, did I mention this was a four day shopping spree?) ended with our third stop to a lovely shop, which again, if you love antique reproduction fabric -- this is the place for you! I'm not that big into civil war repros -- but my, this shop could convince me to do some work with it! I DID manage to find these lovlies in the clearance area. I originally bought them thinking I would use the blues for a summer dress for dd. She has the most incredible blue eyes -- and well, despite the fact that she's not really a pastels kind of kid -- I thought it might work. I've since found something that will work better (keep reading) but I will find some good use for these. Maybe a nice baby quilt for someone who is having a little boy.

Day two I was on my own with dd in tow. Note -- while my *almost* two year old is adorable and pretty well behaved for her age, serious fabric and quilt shopping is not recommended without someone there to act as child wrangler. Normally this is dh -- but, well, he had to work Friday night so, dd (I really need to come up with a name for her other than dd for this blog) and I were on our own. Luckily we were headed to the shop that is one of "my" LQSs. They know us there -- they've known dd since I was pregnant with her. This helps. So does the box of toys they keep in the book area. And oh, familiarity does NOT breed contempt. They had just gotten in their order of the Heather Bailey Freshcut fabrics! Of course, I had to buy more of the yummies! (THIS is what tells me I'm an addict!) They were also doing demos of foundation by the yard along with the add a quarter rule. Yes, the demo won me over. It's just like paper piecing -- but you don't have to tear anything out. And since they are pre-printed foundations, the prep work is minimal. I've always wanted to try a New York Beauty block -- so now I will (actually I already have -- keep reading). The other shop we headed to on Day Two was new to me and had some fun stuff, but dd had lost all patience with me. I will go back and buy something later -- when I don't have to chase a small girl.

Day three I had dd along again, but I also had MIL and GMIL with -- MIL (also known as Nana) was happy to act as small girl wrangler so I did get to do some shopping! One of the shops we went to on day three is located in a converted barn. Yes, it is far out in the country, but luckily very close to where I live. I only bought this McKenna Ryan pattern (I've been wanting to try one of hers for ages) but I will be going back. They have a nice selection of fabrics (a nice mix of traditional with a few punches of modern) and it's nice to have a local supply of notions and thread.

The second stop on day three was a shop I *thought* I had been to before -- really small town, how many quilt shops can there be? Turns out I was wrong. The shop I had thought it was had closed and this new one had opened. This is good. The former shop was not one of my favorites and, frankly, was one I hadn't gone to often since I seldom found anything there I wanted. The new shop has some really cute fabrics and a few patterns I liked. I don't know if it will be a regular stop for me, but it is one to keep in mind as it is so close. I found the pinks and greens which I decided suit dd much better for the dress I want to make, and the red and white fabric (you can JUST see it peeking out in the back there) was just because I liked it.

Day four it was MIL and GMIL and me without small girl. Dh kept her with him at home so we could go to the last two stops. The first stop of the day was a shop I had never been to -- and oh my, I am still giddy over my purchase! (this is two days later, so you know it's good) Again, quite a few traditional quilting fabrics though she had a really nice selection of novelty prints (I was very tempted by the red skulls on black and a fun halloween print) and I got to see the new Folklorique line from Fig Tree, oh my. Not my usual colors, but lovely. Much better seen in person. Now, for my fantastic find. I splurged at this store. I bought yardage. I rarely buy yardage -- a single yard yes. But unless I KNOW I need it, I rarely will buy a lot of something. There are exceptions. This lovely Amy Butler fabric (Ginger Bliss from when she was with FreeSpirit) was hanging out in the clearance section. It had been reduced to $6.50 a yard and had a further 75% off sticker. Um -- that means this fabric was $1.63 a yard (US). Ummm --- pre-cut fat quarters were on sale during this hop for $1.75 each. Can we say I'll take the rest of the bolt?!? The same for the coordinating stripe! So, 4+ yards of the floral, 2+ yards of the stripe, and less than $12.00 US. Shopping karma -- must love it! Oh, and I may have also bought some fat quarters...just maybe mind you.

After this wonderful find, we were ready to end the shop hop with just one more stop. The last one was a stop I hadn't been looking forward to. It is a shop I have been to several times before and, well, this is another one I was unimpressed by. I rarely found things I wanted, the owner just seemed to not want folks in her store for some reason -- am I the only one who has been to a store like this and just felt like not going back? Again though -- I was in for a VERY pleasant surprise. The shop must have changed ownership because -- WOW! This was the only shop on the hop who carried Kaffee Fassett fabric. Oh, and the lovely Amy Butler Lotus line, and oh, oh, oh, so many others. This from a shop where previously I had had to look hard to find things I wanted to purchase. And they had pre-cut 1/2 yards on sale buy one get one free! Oh. My. I just had to pick up the Kaffe 1/2 yard and an Amy Butler stripe. And get a couple of other things cut as well. (yes -- more Heather Bailey, I have mentioned I'm in love with this fabric right?) They had all three (Kaffee, AB and HB) displayed together and it is amazing how well the three lines play together -- it's giving me ideas which could be dangerous!

And just so you don't think it has been all purchases and no sewing -- well, I have a few finishes and a new project underway! The first finish is dd's pants to go with her cutie patootie Fresh Cut top. The pants turned out really well -- and again, I couldn't get them off the child! Yahoo! (please ignore the stains on the couch and the hole in the slipcover -- really. please? I do have a replacement cover, I just need to spend the time and put the new one on.)

I also finished my MILs mother's day gift. This pattern from this little bag was from the Quilts and More Fall/Winter '06 issue. My MIL bought the fabric, but I made the purse. And while I was at it, I just had to make one for myself. I did modify the pattern a little bit. The original called for the straps to be 13" long finished. Um, I don't know about you, but I need a bag I can put over my arm. My MIL requested that hers be even longer. Easy enough to accommodate, and they turned out wonderfully (even if the photos don't show it -- it was late when I finished them and I just took the photo rather than wait for the morning). I even had the button forms to do the covered fabric buttons tucked away in my stash. I think they were from a project I did over 5 years ago -- so yahoo for me! Busting some of the notions stash!

And finally, I got to work on Mom's mother's day gift. While she was here, she reminded me that she would STILL really like the pillows I promised to make her for her "new" living room couch. Of course, this was something like three years ago -- but, hey, who's counting? I had the fabrics she had picked out in a box -- you know, one of those PIGs I've mentioned I have tons of? But, well, originally the fabrics were supposed to go into some Ricky Timms Convergence tops that I would turn into pillows. Problem here -- I've made one or two of these. They're fun. They turn out well. I don't want to make another one any time soon. So, what to do? Well -- take the fabrics, and my new foundation-by-the-yard -- and here you go. A few NY Beauty blocks for Mom (who is a NY beauty herself) and they will make a fantastic pillow. I'll make a few others -- probably something more modern but that will go with the NYB. I'll post the progress on these as it happens.
So that's it from my corner of the world -- if you are still reading this, you probably deserve a medal (or at least a chance to enter the shop hop prize drawing). Sorry I don't have anything to offer right now -- but stay tuned, there may be something soon. I'm off to work on those NYBs and try and get another finish going!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Catching up

Now that the school/work craziness has ended (for now), I've been playing "catch up." You know -- all the things that get pushed to the back burner until you have time. Laundry. Cleaning. Sleep. And now that my kitchen is no longer in danger of being condemned by the health department -- I've finally gotten back to my sewing machine. Hoooraaayyy!!! I finished dd's pants (pictures to come) and another UFO that I will post a photo of after the recipient has it. So no photos tonight -- but soon.

Now time for some more "catch up". Helen over at Patchy Work of Mini-Grey tagged me last week with the 7 things about you meme that's been making the rounds, and today Valerie over at Un Arc en Ciel Dans Le Lavabo tagged me again -- guess I should comply!

Since I haven't been blogging long -- there are all sorts of things you don't know about me but it's amazing how hard it is to list facts like this. Oh well, here it goes -- 7 random things you may not know (and possibly don't want to know) about me:

1. I don't drink coffee. Ever. Can't stand it. Love the smell, can make a pretty mean cup (so I've been told) but I just cannot get past the taste. And no, sugar and cream don't help. I don't even like coffee flavored ice cream. My caffeine of choice -- Diet Coke. I drink it morning, noon, night. I'm an addict. I know this and accept it.

2. I discovered my first grey hair when I was 23. As far as I can tell from the roots when I need to re-touch my hair, I'm now about 1/2 way to having totally white hair. Thankfully, I do not have to age gracefully -- I dye my hair regularly and really cannot at this point remember what my natural hair color is. I go to the salon -- say "red". When asked what shade -- I let the stylist have fun with the color and get some variation on red. I've been everything from auburn to my current "lighter red for summer" color.

3. I have been told I am intimidating. I don't personally get this one -- but then, I suppose that's because I know what goes on inside my head. I also find it funny that 5'4", overweight me is intimidating to others (especially since one of the last people to say this to me was over 6' tall, male, and physically way more intimidating than I will ever be). I also find it funny that while others find me intimidating -- my daughter laughs in my face and does what she wants anyway. *s* Guess that will show me.

4. I can walk by a black powder cannon being fired and not flinch. Really. I also like the smell of black powder weapons being fired. My father did American Revolutionary War reenactments while I was growing up. I dressed up too and went with. The "campgrounds" of my youth were the sites of historic battles and the museum/sites that contain them. It was a great way to see parts of the eastern United States (mostly the NE) and to learn about history.

5. Other than the US and Canada, I've only been to one foreign country -- France. (and ok -- I'm not really counting Canada. Sorry to any Canadian readers of my blog, but I grew up in the suburbs of Detroit in Michigan. I think traveling to Canada is like required or something. And since, at the time, it was a trip over the bridge or through the tunnel with some half-hearted questions from the customs folks, it hardly seems like "foreign" travel) I went on my school's French club trip my senior year in high school. I got to spend a few days in Paris, live with a French family for a week, and travel through the Loire Valley and to Normandy. At the time I could speak French, but now, um, now I mangle the language.

6. I am an only child from a large family. No, I am not discounting any brothers and sisters -- really, I am my parents' only child. But -- well, my mom has 7 (yes *7*) sisters. So, I am one of 17 grandchildren and at last count cousins and children of cousins (is that second cousins -- or cousins once removed -- oh bother) was up to 24 (and that doesn't include spouses). My oldest cousin and my youngest aunt are 1 year apart in age. My youngest cousin is 5 or 6. Yes, it makes for interesting family gatherings if you can get us all in one place (which well, just never happens really -- we come close, but usually someone can't make it). So, I grew up with lots and lots of cousins around and learning how to talk over/under/around other conversations. All the benefits of a big family, and I still got to be spoiled rotten.

7. I am a a geek. Really. I collected comic books as a teenager. I play video games. I will read video game magazines. I have written computer programs. I have created web sites. I like techno gadgets. I read/watch/consume science fiction. I've been to a comic book convention. I go to renaissance faires. Yep, geek. That's me. (now, I never said I was *good* at the computer stuff -- just that I've done it -- you can be a geek and not be *good* at it).

Ok -- 7 random things about me. If you are still with me, and you haven't been tagged already --


Now I'm off to finish off some mother's day presents -- yeah for the sewing machine!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Better Late...

than never. That seems to be my theme for this week. Now that I've finished my end of semester craziness (yes -- I'm DONE, last article I was fact checking got e-mailed off yesterday, a couple of days later than I wanted, but I'M DONE!), it's time to round up all of the balls I dropped while I was in intensive study/work mode. You know -- clean the house, do some laundry, make sure the bills have been paid, remember Mother's Day...oops.

Ok, I didn't really forget Mother's Day so much as I was so intense about getting the last major project done that I wasn't able to a) finish my Mom's gift, b) mail her a card, or c) let her know just how much she really means to me. I still need to do a) and b), but I think I can manage c) right now.

No, this photo is not of my Mom. It's me. But it's my Mom's favorite picture of me when I was a little girl. You see, when I was talking to Mom on Sunday (no, I didn't totally flake -- I DID call) she said something to me that made me think about this photo and about growing up. Mom and I were chatting and I think I was apologizing for being late with presents, not totally with it, etc. She said she understood and then said she was proud of me. Um, hunh? She was proud of me because I was a good mother. Oh, wow. I don't think I responded too much at the time, but I've been replaying it in my head for the past couple of days. Mom, you have no idea how much that means to me. Because, you see, if I am any kind of good mother at all -- it's because of you.

It's because of my mother that I understand the need to create a balance between work and family. Mom did it the entire time I was growing up and made it look effortless. I'm still trying to find that place. Mom worked hard, and I knew she did, but she always had time for me, for my activities, for fun. I haven't been too good at that these past couple of weeks -- but I know it's possible to find it because she did. Now, she also managed this while having a clean house. That one, um -- that one I may never quite get to --

It's because of my mother that I know what it means to support, love, and let your child make their own mistakes. Mom has always been my strongest supporter, my best hug, and the person I know will let me fall flat on my butt if I need to. Yes, it is important to let your children fall sometimes -- how else do they learn to get up again? And, when I have fallen (and oh my, the mistakes I've made and the times I've needed to pick myself up), she's always there with a hand and a hug.

I know this post isn't long enough to detail the millions of ways my Mom has been there for me, helped me, loved me. So all I can say is Thank You Mom. Thank you for your strength, your courage, your love. Thank you for putting up with me when I don't deserve it, and for always being my strongest supporter and toughest (but fairest) critic (not as in critical, but as in critique to help me figure out what I'm doing right and wrong). Thank you for helping me grow up (you're still doing it). Thank you for being you. Thank you for being the kind of mother I want to be -- and thank you for telling me you think I'm doing a good job at it.

I love you Mom. XOXO

Friday, May 11, 2007

Coming up for air...

There is an end in sight. Two final projects for two classes finished and turned in (a paper and a web site I had to create). A set of research I need to complete as part of my assistantship -- hopefully this will be done today! A stack of student finals to grade and then calculate the grades. If all goes well, I will be able to take mother's day off! YAHHHOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

In the meantime, since I can see the end of the tunnel in sight (but to get there I have had NO time for quilting/playing with fabric/the things I really enjoy), I thought I would post another past project. I gave four quilts as gifts last Christmas. One for my mom, one for my cousin, and this one for my aunt (yes, there is one more -- I'm saving it since I don't actually have a picture of it yet, but since it's currently on the floor downstairs where dd dragged it this morning, I can take care of that later). It started on a trip last summer to the west coast. While visiting my friend Bonnie (oh she of the wonderful quilting help), I may have done some fabric shopping. Ok, who am I kidding? I may have done quite a bit of fabric shopping. I picked up some fat quarters that are totally unlike my usual color palette -- but they were only $1.00 each. I couldn't pass them up! I figured they went together, I could make bags or something -- gifts for someone else. When dd and I moved on from Bonnie's place near Portland to my aunt's place near Seattle I showed my aunt the fabrics I had purchased. She LOVED the fat quarters that don't really go with the rest of my collection. They are, however, HER colors. Serendipity, I am a big fan!

The final leg of last summer's adventures was to New Mexico with Mom. She asked me if I could use the fabrics my aunt had loved for a quilt -- um, yeah, had been thinking that one myself. She'd buy any additional fabric/patterns, etc. I just needed to make it. Sounded fair to me. I found this pattern -- the sample on the cover isn't my thing, but the pattern itself is great. It says 5 minutes to shop, 10 minutes to cut. Um, they may be off a little bit. I think it took me 12-15 minutes to cut all of the fabric for the top, binding and part of the back. But then again, I had to iron. I found a wonderful Robert Kaufman oriental print that just seemed to sing with the more muted earth tones I already had, some great batiks, and voila!

I sent this one off at the same time I sent off my mother's -- and again, the longarm quilter who does my quilts did a FANTASTIC job. You really can't see it in this photo, but she did an all over cherry blossom and oriental fans pattern. I finished it for Christmas, and my aunt loved it!
Only a few more days and I can play with fabric again! WOOO HOOOO! Wish me luck at the library!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Back to our regularly scheduled quilt content...

Ok, I really should be working on my paper right now. It's due on Tuesday and I had planned for it to be finished yesterday. But, well, some things do take precedence ( the frozen stuff was still pretty frozen, the other food was ok, and my new fridge is just humming along, I'd post a picture but I need to change the batteries in the camera -- will try and do that in the next post). As for tonight, my brain is fried, I'm tired, and I didn't want to have the first post you see on my blog be a complaint -- that's not really like me (ok, sarcasm and a sometimes biting wit is like me, but whining is not usually my thing). Plus I realized that I hadn't posted anything that looked like a quilt in a while. AND while I was re-arranging the kitchen to make room for large appliance delivery, I found the pictures of the Christmas present quilt I made for my mom this past year! I KNEW I had them!

The photo quality on these is not the greatest but you can get the general idea. This is the quilt that generated the orphans I've been playing with. There is a long and involved story that goes along with the creation of this quilt (involving fabric I had made some pillowcases for Mom with and which she loved -- then asked me to make more of them. Me: "Um -- Mom, I bought that fabric over four or five months ago" Mom: "Is that a problem?" Me: "Oh -- um, no, no" Reality -- YES, YES! Let's just say it turned out to be a fabric that had been featured in some magazine I hadn't seen -- I found ONE website that had it. And they had it back ordered. I ordered more than enough to make the pillowcases -- then used it as a springboard to design the quilt. And wouldn't you know, AFTER the Internet ordering and searching ordeal one of my favorite LQS's got a bolt. I bought more since my design needed several more yards due to fussy cutting and the borders).

The long story also involves trying to find a design to feature said fabric and not finding a pattern I liked so trying my hand at design. First I thought of Ohio Stars with the floral as a feature, didn't like them, but wanted to play with HSTs (have I mentioned I will get obsessive about a technique or a shape for awhile and NEED to play with it?). So, I monkeyed around with variations of the size square I would need to feature the fabric and one of them was an "X" -- hmmn. As a child, my Mom would write notes to me in my lunches. Little things, always signed with xoxo's -- potential here. I signed notes to her the same way (ok, so we still do -- just because I'm 35 doesn't mean I've outgrown those darn xoxo's from my Mom). So, a quilt to tell my Mom I love her -- works for me. And that's it's name too (I KNOW I'm not the only quilter who names her quilts) "Mom, I love you. XOXO". A bit more tinkering around (sashing so the X's and O's were distinct, some cornerstones made of more HSTs) and some fabric shopping and I was set to go.
The long story also involves the fact that I finished the somewhere around 80"x80" quilt in, oh, October or so. (There's even more here about working on it over my summer vacation with the invaluable assistance from my good friend and fellow quilter Bonnie, travelling with the quilt in pieces to Oregon, Washington, and New Mexico -- but way too involved to get into here). Ummm...can we say a bit late if I wanted it finished for Christmas? Especially since this one I DID send out to be quilted? Um, I was VERY lucky that the wonderful long arm quilter I sent this to was able to squeeze me in. Especially since I not only sent her this one, but another as well (again, funny story here about a friend of Bonnie's who went to pick up her own quilt and saw mine -- she was freaked out because Bonnie also made one in purples for her mother and she KNEW it was an original design, so she couldn't figure out how there was another one there -- either that or I had been lying about designing it. Nope, this was the original, Bonnie just used my drawings and instructions to make hers. But I thought it was hilarious how weirded out she got). Not only did she finish both quilts, but they turned out beautifully. Especially since my only directions on this one were -- "um, I think some feathers". I wasn't being difficult, really, it has more to do with trusting this woman with the quilt. I did the part I do well (piece and play with color) and I KNOW she does the quilting well. I trust her judgment and I have loved everything she's done for me.
A much longer post than I had intended, but this quilt had a lot of story to go with it. Mom got it for Christmas, loved it, and now it rests in her guest bedroom. (whole 'nother story there -- but I knew I was taking a risk when I used a white background -- besides, that is MY bedroom when I go down and visit and will be dd's when she is old enough to visit on her own, three generations of xoxo's -- works for me!).

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Is it too much to ask that when you are given a time for delivery that the folks delivering your merchandise actually show up when they say they will? Is it? It's the weekend, I have things I want to do. It's the end of the semester, I have things I NEED to do. But no, I sit here waiting for the delivery guys who gave me a FOUR HOUR window for delivery of my new refrigerator. They are now over 1/2 an hour late. That is 4 1/2 hours I have been waiting, prepping, etc. This is a refrigerator -- all of the food that was in the one I will be so happy to see the last of is in coolers. I wonder if my frozen foods are still frozen. I wonder if we are going to be cooking a lot of foods that we otherwise wouldn't have tonight. I wonder if these guys are EVER going to show up!

Oh well, I'm trying to be patient. And I'm operating on the restaurant assumption -- you know, if you need to ask your waiter/waitress for something, they will show up just when you've taken a bite and your mouth is full. Maybe if I blog it -- they WILL come.


IT WORKED! I had barely hit the "publish" button and dh called up to me that they were here!!! New 'fridge in, old 'fridge off to its fate. All the tape off, all the packaging out. Now I just need to put all of the food back in. Ugh. But hooray, a new appliance. Isn't it ridiculous how little it takes to make me happy?

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

A quick break...

from studying and visiting with mom for fairy rings:

leading strings:

and other fancy (and well fed) stuff:

Mom's visit is going well and no new crafty/quilty content, but we did take a trip to feed the ducks the other day. One major project down, two more to go and a slew of papers to grade. One and 1/2 more weeks to go -- and I've told dh he is on his own for a day or so while I decompress (read, quilt, sew, work on projects, become human again!).