Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Shiny new things

Unpacking all done, and now back to creating! In hopes of improving the photos on my blog, I have invested in a new camera. I am in LOVE with my new camera. I am hoping this will help with future tutorials so I can post some more accurate pics of what I am trying to explain.

Here are a few samples of what my new baby can do!

I am continuing to work on my "sentimental quilt" which is still nameless. But in the mean time, I have been kicking around the idea of doing a give away.... Something along the lines of one of these Doggie Pillows

I am still pondering that one, they are super cute, and vaguely resemble my schnauzers :)

On the inspiration front, I picked these up on our vacation.

I loved the color combination, I'm thinking my next quilt project will be based on the colors of these. Here are some close up pics of the texture, a lovely linen...

Beautiful, and pretty affordable. (wallet $35 wristlet $29) I like! Here is the link if you wanted to check them out.

Happy Sewing! (Or Shopping ;)


Monday, November 29, 2010

There's no place like home

I never truly appreciated how easy travel was in my life pre-baby. By the time I had everything packed, it felt like I was taking half my house with me! Despite the extra effort, it was a nice change of pace.

This year the family reunion vacation came in the form of a cruise through the Mexican riviera. We have been on this cruise line many times before, so we thought we knew what to expect... Unfortunately this became the cruise of the unexpected complication.

After driving to LA (6 hours on a bus with a baby...yikes) we arrive at the dock and the usual check in procedure is messed up. I guess the cruise line got bumped and had to use a make shift terminal. We ended up waiting around a hour before we got on the ship. When we finally got on, all of the restaurants were closed, and the rooms were not ready yet. So we were stuck for another couple of hours hauling our luggage around the boat. That ordeal over, we finally get into our rooms, unpack and have dinner.

Night one... a strange rumbling never before felt in this ship....hmmm. While this strange shaking didn't really bother me or my husband, our little boy on the other hand felt it immensely. He woke up about every hour crying, and the only thing that would calm him down was standing and rocking him....

Having survived the night, we meet everyone for breakfast the next morning. Several of my family members were discussing the boat moving, and the noticeably slow pace of the ship. In the middle of breakfast the Captain came over the speaker with an announcement...

Engine trouble. Apparently there was something wrong with one of the engines, so the boat was going half as fast as it should have been. Because of this, we would not be able to go to Puerto Vallarta, and instead spend another day at sea. Ugh.

Night two, baby still crying, boat still shaking. Very little sleep.

The next day G (my little boy) was feeling much better, and we were looking forward to our last day at sea for a while. Breakfast went by with out any drama, and we met everyone for lunch. A new emergency announcement from the Captain. "If there is a urologist on board, please dial 9911." Odd, and a little foreboding. Another hour passes by and the Captain come on the ships speaker again "We will be making an emergency stop in Cabo San Lucas due to a medical emergency." That's it, no further explanation.

My Aunt had an appointment with a personal trainer at the gym the next morning, and the trainer told her a crew member had a "blockage" and was unable to urinate. They dropped him off at the hospital at Cabo, and then continued on to Mazatlan.

In Mazatlan they fixed the boats engine, which was a software glitch, and the rest of the cruise went pretty well. There was only one more mini-drama, a vocalist was to ill to perform, and they had to cancel the show at the last minute. In the grand scheme of things, pretty minor. My baby finally adjusted to the movement of the boat, and we made it to Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlan.

Here are a few pics of my little guy having fun on the ship...

Dressed up for dinner:

Almost ready for bed, last minuet nakey play time! He discovered a "fake" smile that looks a little like a snarl, it gets big laughs, so he does it anytime you're trying to get him to smile. My sister calls this pic his "make love to the camera" photo.

Yum, breakfast on the back of the boat:

My version of a make shift play pen :)

Hanging out right before lunch:

While the vacation was fun, and a bit of an adventure, we are all glad to be home :) And back to sewing! I will admit, there was a little spring in my step as I set my sewing machine up again.

While originally it was my intention to blog only about my projects, and keep my life out of the blog, I realize that the nature of a blog is so personal, you really can't do that effectively. Many of the things I create are for or inspired by my family. Having realized this, I have made a an oath to myself in regards to my posting.

-I will try to write content that is helpful, meaningful, or inspirational, by sharing not only my process, the various stages of the project, but also how it relates to my self and my life.

I will keep this in mind before I publish every post, and try to live up to its standard!

While I can't really agree that the post I am publishing is helpful or meaningful, I think the major source of inspiration for me right now is my son. So, in that way I hope this post inspires you to think of the person who most inspires you to be creative in your life :)

Happy sewing!


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Family Vacation

I'll be up till the wee hours of the morning packing for our first trip as a family, with a baby! Mexico here we come :) Hopefully I can post some inspirational pics... If not, see you next week!

Happy relaxing!


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Satin Blanket Binding

After trying to talk my mother in law through stitching on sating blanket binding to a baby blanket, I thought it would be a nice thing to do a mini tutorial on the subject :) So here it is. My way to attach sating blanket binding, without pinning!

This blanket is going to another little boy who has to have surgery. My mother in law picked out the fabrics, super cute! The giraffe print is a super soft almost fur/velour fabric. What is trickey about it is it is a knit, and therefore has a bit of stretch. If you are combining fabrics with different stretches, make sure the stretchier one is on the bottom, you will be less likely to pull it with your hands, and when strait stitching, the feed dogs help to ease the stretch a bit.

Personally I really hate working with the satin blanket binding. It is slippery as all get out, snags on everything, and attracts all kinds of velcro in the wash. But it definitely has its place. Sometimes there is just no better way to finish of a blanket than with a nice, soft, shiny binding.

My way is a bit unorthodox, but it works for me. First I start by laying the blanket binding (now on referred to as BB) open, and overlapping the edge of the BB with the edge of the quilt about a 1/4 of an inch, like so.

Then I begin sewing on top of that 1/4 inch overlap. You'll notice I am using a Bernina #10 presser foot, it is called an "edge stitch" foot or "stitch in the ditch foot." It makes the process a whole lot easier, well worth the $28.00. Start in the middle of an edge, not at the beginning of a corner. This will make it easier to tie the edges of the BB together at the end. When you get to your first corner, stop about 1/4 from the edge of the blanket. Back stitch, and cut your threads

Then fold the BB back in half along the crease that is already there, and create a mitered corner. You can see in the pic below how it should look. This fold will help you determine how much fabric to allow for your corner when you start sewing again.

Next mark your corner with pins, if you look in the picture below you can see where I place my pins. You need to put one pin as a marker for the two points of the corner. Make sure you are only going through ONE layer of BB, not BOTH, or you will not be able to unfold the BB to stitch it down.

When you unfold the BB it should look something like this.

The pin in the middle of the BB is the outer corner, the pin on the bottom is the inner corner. Now comes the tricky part, fold the BB so the pin on the bottom meets the bottom corner. In the picture I have below you can see the pin marking the inner corner and the pin I have to hold everything in place.

Again, make sure you are only sewing through one layer of the BB. Back stitch and sew down the next side.

Repeat for each of the corners until you come back to where you began the BB. Below is a pic after I have sewn it down.

When you get the the end of the BB, fold the raw edge under and stitch it down.

Now turn the blanket over and begin the next side. First stitch down the raw edge about 1/2" past the over lap, and back stitch back the 1/2"

Then fold the BB over, and stitch it down. I try and line up the BB with the stitch I can see from sewing down the other side. If I fold it over about 1/8" past that stitch line, you can hide your stitching and do a straight stitch around the blanket.

Another option is to do a zig zag stitch or a satin stitch around the blanket, which works well too. I usually let the weight and loft of the blanket determine what kind of stitch I am going to do. The thicker and lofty-er the blanket, the more likely I am to do a zig zag. This particular blanket did not have a layer of batting, so I went with a straight stitch.

Once you have finishing attaching both sides of the BB, it is time to tack the corners. I first make sure both sides are lined up, and then do a zig zag stitch on zero length for about 10 stitches right in the middle of the corner. This prevents it from coming un-tucked. If you look closely in the pic you can see the tack. But its pretty tiny, and is hidden well.

Once you have tacked all your corners, you're done! Here is the finished blanket...

And a closer look at the quilting, stippling all over...

I'm beat! Long day, hope this was helpful :)

Happy sewing,


Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Since I'm still working on the sister quilt to "Blue Skies," I thought I'd post on how I approach basting. I know everyone has their own way, but this is how I baste. It took a little while to work the kinks out, but my last two quilts didn't have a single pucker!

First I begin by pressing all of the fabrics, the backing and the finished quilt top. This is also a good time to snip any threads that are on the right side of the quilt top, or on the edges, that are long and may get caught in the darning foot of your machine.

Then I lay the backing on the floor (make sure you clean your floor first!). Lay the backing right side down and smooth it out as best you can. Always work the wrinkles out from the center to the edges, rather than from one end to the other. Next, use masking tape (not painters tape) to tape your quilt down.

I start on one edge in the middle, then go to the opposite side in the middle, then repeat so all of the middles of my edges are taped. It is important to pull the fabric taut before you tape it down. Next go to one corner and tape it down, go across the quilt diagonally, and tape the opposite corner down, pulling taut before you tape. Repeat this as well. Once I get the middles and corners done, I fill in the empty spaces with a little tape. The end result should look something like this.

Next I lay the batting down. I use 100% cotton batting. It naturally "sticks" to the cotton, so I roll the batting up into a log and line up one of the edges and roll it out onto the quilt back. Once it is laid out, I smooth out any wrinkles, again going from the center of the quilt to the edges.

Once you have made sure your batting is smoothed out as best as possible, lay out the quilt top on top of the batting the same way you rolled out the batting. Roll it into a log, line up one of the edges, and then unroll it. Then smooth from the center to the edges.

You can see from the picture I let my backing and batting overlap the edge of the quilt top by about 2-3 inches, that way if the top shifts a bit while quilting, I don't have to trim any of the quilt top before adding the binding.

Next is pinning. I use basting safety pins that are bent in the middle. This is really helpful in getting through all of the layers of the quilt sandwich.

I use Kwik Klip to help me close the safety pins. It is well worth the ten or so dollars it costs :) Also, because I am basting on floors that scratch, slide my cutting mat under the quilt so I don't have to worry about scratching up my floors, and I can also be sure I've made it through all of the layers of the quilt.

I place my pins about 4-6 inches apart, depending on the complexity of my quilt top. The more complex the piecing, the more chance you have of ending up with a pucker because of the seams, so pinning closer together helps the avoid this.

So there you have it, a basted quilt! It only took... two hours!! (Or at least that's how long it takes me :)

Happy Sewing!


Friday, November 12, 2010

Blue Skies All Done!

The Blue Skies quilt is done! Here are some pics of the quilting and binding. I ended up going with a swirl pattern for the quilting, and I'm really happy with how everything turned out. Not a pucker in sight!

I am also going to put a little blanket together for his older sister, so she isn't feeling forgotten.

Some days are better sewing days than other, unfortunately when I went to get the backing and binding fabric, I don't know where my head was. I bought twice the amount of binding fabric i needed. Instead of doubling the width of the binding to make a double binding, I doubled the double binding width! Yikes. To make matters worse I realized this AFTER I had sewn it on. I ended up rolling it twice to get to down to the right width. The edges of this quilt are darn near bullet proof now :) Oh well, lesson learned. Never try and rush through buying fabric, it never goes well.

I hope all involved like the finished product. I'm planning on getting it to the family week :) Thanks again for all of the fabric, I think its a darling quilt.

Happy Sewing,


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Blue Skies Back

It took longer than I thought to make it to my local quilting store. I finally picked up some backing and binding fabric! YAY!

Here is a pic of the fabrics I decided on...

Striped binding, swirly backing, and the subway tile pattern top. I'm so excited to put it together! Well, actually, I'm excited to QUILT it, not BASTE it. Anyone else out there hate basting with a passion? Ugh.

I also finished piecing the backing.

I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I think the strip of fabric squares that match the front really helps break up the kinda boring swirls. I'm thinking of doing a cloud like pattern in all over quilting on it to finish it off. Looks like I should be on track to finish by Sat!

Next pics should be of the completed quilt :)

Happy Sewing,


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blue Skies

The "Blue Skies" quilt is going to a little three year old boy who is fighting liver cancer. This family definitely needs all of the love and support in the world right now. I hope this quilt will bring some warmth into their lives, knowing how many people out there really care about them. (and hopefully a smile or two with some of the cute and humorous notes written on it!)

The Blue Skies quilt top is done :) I'm please with the end result. After much deliberation, and a little seam ripping, I think we got the different blues distributed evenly.

Here is a pic of my kitchen covered in blue fabric.

Unfortunately we did not take into account the staggering when we laid everything out, so I had to seam rip a few of the rows to make sure there were no matching fabrics lining up right next to each other.

Check out the finished quilt top...

Now that I know the finished size of the quilt top, I have to find some nice backing and binding fabrics. I'm thinking of a striped binding and maybe a polka dot backing? It will really depend on what the fabric store has.

Once I've compiled the rest of the fabric, its basting (ugh) and then quilting (yay!) I'm hoping to get this quilt completed by the end of the week.... Here's hoping :)

Happy Sewing,


Friday, November 5, 2010

Plain Jane Quilt Top

Here are a couple pics of the quilt top, both in the process of being pieced, and finished. Its a bit plain Jane, I'm thinking of adding a boarder... I like the boarder on this quilt. Still playing around with the idea.

Today I finally got started on the Blue quilt, which I have decided to call "Blue Skies." Thank you everyone for the fabric contributions, as well as the lovely notes you put on your fabric. I can't wait to see it finished, I think it is going to turn out really well :) Hopefully I can get it done by the end of next week...

And, thank you Bonny! I would never have gotten everything cut and sewn together in one day without your help :)

Next I'll post pics of the "Blue Skies" quilt...

Happy Sewing,


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sentimental Quilt

The blue quilt is a collaboration of sorts, in which I have many people contributing fabric. It is going to a little boy who is very sick :( Unfortunately I don't have all the fabric yet, so while waiting, I decided to tackle a quilt I have been wanting to sew for a few months now.

When my little boy was born I received a bunch of tiny flannel receiving blankets, and the all had a similar color palette to them. He is now a whopping 22 lb, 9 month old, and has long since out grown these itsy bitsy blankets.

So, I decided to cut them up into squares, and sew them into a quilt. I went to the Olde World Quilt Shoppe, where they have some of the most beautiful flannels, and picked out a cream polka dot fabric for the sashing, and a plain cream for the backing. I may decided to spice up the backing a bit if I end up with extra squares when the quilt top is done.....

My only hesitation in starting to piece the quilt top is how to order the squares. Do I go random or with a pattern. I can't decide! Help! Leave me a comment on what you think will look better :)

Much appreciated :)

Happy sewing,


Monday, November 1, 2010

WIP's and UFO's

If you like to create, inevitably you will end up with some of these hanging around. Constantly calling out to be worked on and finished. Well, this weekend I couldn't take it any longer and decided to try and bang out some of the infamous "work in progress" and "un-finished objects" lying around.

The result was satisfying, but from an outsiders perspective, VERY boring. One pajama shirt, a couple pairs of boxers, some mending, a dress for my sister, and fabric that I have had for at least 6 years, maybe more...

Ironically, Blogger has not been loading pics, so you don't even get to see the boring projects I've finished ;) Oh well, I am so excited about my next quilt, all blues in a subway tile pattern. Can't wait to post some pics once I get started!

Happy Sewing!