Wednesday, December 26, 2012

elf projects

Here's a look at the zip bags I made for gifts this year.  I didn't want to post them earlier and give away the surprise since the recipients sometimes check out new posts.  ;]
**fair warning, this post is picture heavy

It was exciting to figure out fabrics for each person and try out some new tutorials.  I also made turtle bark and put some in each envelope before mailing these zipps out to friends.

all of them together!
Just ignore the fact that I'm addicted to the oval box bag tutorial - I just couldn't stop making them!

I made zip pulls for each with a charm and beads. This one's for C so, of course, the charm is a crown! This print is so fun in everything I've used it in.

Next up was this coffee themed one for L! Her charm was a sea shell to remind her of the beach and I really love the colors.


It was a bit trickier to find fabric for S but I really hope she likes it! I loved this one too and used a heart charm for the zip pull.


Next up, my first triangle bag for Snaps - in the coolest fabric ever! I love these llamas and used the matching Peruvian blanket fabric from Laurie Wisbrun for the inside. Her charm is a turtle.   :D


Then I made one for L after pulling her school colors!  Hers also got a sea shell charm and I dropped it by her desk this week to lots of smiles.

Lastly, I had extra time on my hands since my flight home was cancelled due to high winds & storm.  My apartment is super clean now with all that extra time and while catching up on Psych episodes I tried my hand at the wide mouthed bag tutorial.  

It was lots of fun to make! I used scraps to piece the outside panels and used a fun Snoopy fall-themed print for the lining.  I also fussy cut Snoopy for the zip tab. Momm loves Fall and I thought this bag would be perfect for her.  Especially since she hasn't tried this tutorial yet!

Well, that's all of the homemade gifts I made this year and I hope everyone loves them as much as I do.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas today!  Hope there's lots of cheer and smiles and good memories being made.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

WIP :: 12/19/12

the one with the list!
mosaic pillow sample

A few weeks ago I sat down to write up a list of my in-progress projects.  As the year winds down I thought it'd be good to list them up here and work on finishing some of these up in 2013!
It doesn't seem *too* overwhelming so that's a good thing to start off with in the new year.

Completed tops::
Birthday Swoon
Summer Sampler
Roman Stripe
Psalm quilt
Pointless Wonder

Still in progress::
GS Quilt
Strip quilt 
Momm's strip quilt
Sunflower applique
Hawaiian applique blocks

Meanwhile, I finished up my sample for a new Junior Quilter project at work.  I'm excited for the girls to work on these pillows.  It uses the ticker tape method and scraps from our bins - win/win!  It was really fun to make and think they'll have fun with it too.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Friday Fun

I've spent the last couple nights working on this cute little wall hanging and am excited to see it all finished!  It's a going-away gift for a co-worker who is moving to a new job - I hope she likes it.  

HSTs in progress while watching the Santa Clause
It was fun to choose the fabrics and make the quilt- the block is the Ribbon Star from my Quick & Easy Block Tool.  I love this tool because it gives you multiple sizes for each block so you don't have to over think. I machine quilted inside each star with a matching thread, then used white for the rest of the outline quilting.  I machine bound it as well - I'm getting better at that for small projects.

Also in the works for the weekend- a couple more zip bags (at least one of them another oval box bag from Aneela's tutorial).  These will be gifts and I can't show them here yet.  ;)  Always nice to plan sewing projects for friends!
measures approx. 16" x 16"

I'm linking up with Finish it Up Friday!  Also linking up over at Friday Felicities!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Christmas Cheer

Happy December!  I'm already counting down the days left of work before my vacation (12 for anyone interested).  It doesn't feel like December here - this week it's been in the upper 60s/70s so far and that makes it hard to think about candy canes, snow angels and such. 

This year I got my first tree (artificial) and was able to clean enough this weekend to be able to put it up.  I love it!  I carried on tradition by watching White Christmas while putting on the ornaments, each tied on with red yarn.  In our house, our ornaments are keychains or tickets or something from places we've been or things we've done so each one has a story and it's fun to pull them out each year and remember where we got it!  

I have my own small collection of ornaments now that I have my own place and enjoyed putting them on the tree.  Some favorites include: a vacuum tube from my first job, a Toblerone candy bar keychain from our trip to Switzerland, guitar pick from Nashville and an Anne doll from PEI.  The only problem once they are on the tree and you want to find a specific one - it takes ages to spot it!

I also got some other decorations out and was relieved to see that I had enough candles for my Advent wreath this year.  I couldn't find any tall purple or pink candles the other day.  I also drove through the park to see the light display and found a Christmas music radio station.  Now that the tree is finished, I want to make a tree skirt for it - we'll see how that progresses!  It's nice to sit with a book or my computer by the glow of the Christmas tree so here's to you taking time to do the same. :]

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

WIP :: 11/27/2012

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  It was so nice to go home and have a long weekend for family, fun, great food, & lots of hugs.  It was pretty warm for Chicago area - close to 60F, but we did get some brief snow flurries later in the weekend so that was exciting!

Here's a morning picture by the river of this awesome halo around the sun.  I learned how to use the Panorama picture on my phone!

I've been thinking about posts over the last month but never got around to typing anything up.  I have worked on sewing and stash building though so there's a bit to share with you this week.

I won a mini charm pack from the Robert Kaufman blog recently and am stalking the mailbox for it to arrive!  It's of a new line coming out - Architextures - and I can't wait to see it in person.  It's always fun to see your name listed on the winner posts.  Several weeks ago I put together a fabric bundle for the  Guest curator Bundle contest over at Sex Lux fabrics.  It's called Raspberry Orange Shake and was chosen as one of the Top Ten finalists!!  Head on over to check out all 10 bundles and vote for your favorite! [which of course is mine ;) ]
momm made the button one, I made the other 2

Onwards to the WIP list for this week::

-J's quilt: okay, so my part is completed!  I finished the quilting on this one and promptly passed it on to Momm to finish up the binding.  Can't show pix yet - not until it goes to J, but am super excited to have it almost totally done.

-zip bags: I found this awesome tutorial on Aneela's blog and had to try it out.  It was easy to follow the directions, especially since there are photos with each step.  so helpful!  I love how it turned out so I made a second one.  I helped Momm make one too on our quilt weekend and have plans for more as gifties.  

my new zip bags!
-hand warmers:  I don't have a picture yet, since I made these two tonight!  I had some flannel material at work so I cut several squares and sewed them into pouches, stuffed with rice and stitched shut.  I'm testing these out as hand warmers - 25 seconds in the microwave and they are toasty little bags for about 10 minutes.  I'll also put one in the freezer over night to see how it works as a cold pack.

-Roman Stripe quilt top: I went to lay out the blocks for this quilt to see how many more I needed and was shocked to realize I had plenty made!  I rearranged the layout, fixed a couple blocks and got the top together over our quilty weekend.  I absolutely love it.  It's so exciting to have decided on a pattern, then a color palette & pull fabrics for a quilt and then have it put together just like I imagined it. Can't wait to get this one quilted and snuggle with it.

in progress
I made a list of all my UFO projects the other week - eep!  There are a handful that are completed tops, ready to baste or need backing.  I've decided these will be my focus in 2013.  
The top ones for now, because the whole list is a bit overwhelming::
-Swoon:  still need to finish the backing on this one.  I'm hesitant to quilt it on my little machine, so I may take it to work to quilt

-Summer Sampler: I've been agonizing over quilting designs for awhile now.  I've decided to just baste it and start stitching!

-Strip/row robin quilt: [a new one to the WIP list] this is an old challenge from a mini group back in MD.  I have all of my strips back and just need to put them together into a top.  I also need to make the strip for Momm's quilt so she can turn hers into a top.

That's all for this week- linking it up over at Freshly Pieced.  Cheers!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

WIP :: 10/31/12

[read in your best Count voice] Happy Halloween!  Ah, ah ah!

There wasn't much festivity at work today so I pulled up Pandora's Halloween-Party station and had a blast with some great tunes for the holiday: Purple People Eater, Little Red Riding Hood, Monster Mash, etc.  Snagged a few pieces of candy as well.  Yumm!  Most of today I helped the Curator change out quilts in the gallery.  So much fun!  I love working with the quilts and getting to see the backs of them while we take down and put up again.  We went with some Fall/Winter types and there are a lot that I hadn't yet seen hanging so that's exciting.  A whole lot of new quilts to learn names and talking points.

in progress
I'm still quilting away on J's quilt this week but it's almost there.... Just a sneak peek again this week.
Then I'll have to start working on his 2nd quilt idea which will be definitely more challenging!

Everything else is 'in the works' - clearly I need to spend more time in the sewing room!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

sunday snapshot #13

Happy almost Halloween dear readers!  The weather has cooled off and there's more color in the trees the last week. 

I've spotted some fun decorations around town and finally managed to snap some pictures.  These are around Lowertown and must have been fun to paint!  I haven't yet spotted first place though - will keep an eye out for it tomorrow.

BQF Fall 2012

It's exciting to participate again in the Bloggers Quilt Festival again!  I'll tell you it's hard to decide on just one quilt to showcase though - they all become favorites when trying to choose.  Since last time I used one of my early quilts, today I chose a recent finish to share.   
Amy's Creative Side

If you've blog hopped your way here for the first time - welcome!  This is my first Christmas quilt and I've already pulled it out some evenings to snuggle, so it's going to be a favorite for sure.

A little quilt history, if you will.  Momm & I have been to the Houston Show several times now.  On one of our first visits, I couldn't resist a layer cake of Moda's 'Merry & Bright' fabric line.  It sat in my stash for a couple years as I couldn't decide what to make with it.  This year, I finally decided to just use it already!
quilting detail

I'd picked up a copy of Simplify, Camille Roskelley's book at work and found the perfect pattern: Sweet Pea.  Instead of cutting my fabric down, I opted to just use the layer cake squares straight up.  Less trimming and it made the quilt bigger.  I still wanted it to be wider though, so I went looking for some good fabric to go with it.  Surprisingly enough, I found the same blue plaid print from the line this summer, on sale, in a shop in WI! I went with just the one side strip to make it a bit edgier (is it okay to make a Christmas quilt edgy?) and really love it.  I used the plaid again on the back in addition to some other prints I had in my stash.

I had the most fun quilting this one!  I did free motion holly leaves & circles all over the quilt in my bright green Aurifil 50 wt. thread.  On my little Brother machine it's definitely tricky to wrangle any decent sized quilt but it turned out well and looks awesome.  I've already pulled this quilt out some cool evenings to snuggle with and it will be a staple come winter. 

Quilt Stats
Name: Merry & Bright Christmas Quilt
Size: throw sized
Pattern: Sweet Pea, by Camille Roskelley, in her book Simplify
Fabric: Merry & Bright layer cake, for Moda, 
Christmas prints & green solids for backing & red solid for binding
Quilting: Free motion holly leaves & circles by me!
Techniques: machine pieced, Free Motion quilting
Best Category: Fav. Throw Quilt, Fav. Home Machine Quilted Quilt

Hope you enjoyed this little history & a peek at my new Christmas quilt dear readers.  Be sure to check out the rest of the amazing quilts at the Festival!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

WIP :: 10/17/2012

This weekend I had every intention of working on quilt-related things.  Of course, the best laid plans of mice & men.....  Instead, I ended up trying a new recipe - Pumpkin Soup - which is awesome and so easy to make.  I've been enjoying it all week for dinner.  
I also went to the Symphony which was beautiful!  There were 2 high school students that had won a contest, and they played solo pieces with the orchestra - so cool.  The violinist was amazing and the piece: Korngold's Violin Concerto in D Major was gorgeous.  Going to the Symphony always inspires me to pull out my clarinet, so I did and it was good.  Also instead of quilting, I bought some mums for the balcony and a green plant for inside to brighten up the room during winter.

in progress
almost finished sorting & stacking
In between all of that and watching James Bond movies, I pulled out my box (and bags and piles) of scraps and determined to sort them out somehow.  I sorted by colors first, then shrunk those piles into teeny bits, strips and then larger chunks.

I don't really have any way to keep them all sorted out nicely all the time so they sat on the floor for a day or so.  I ended up using oblong paper plates and stacked each color group onto a plate, then stacked the plates back into the scrap box!  It's certainly not ideal, but at least will keep them contained (for now) and color-sorted.  
The teeny bits went into ziploc bags (L).  Now I feel ready for a scrap project!  :]   (Clearly this organization bug has infiltrated my work time too as I've been clearing out & rearranging things at the office too!)


This cute little guy now has eyes!  He's ready for winter so I can display him all the time. I used the same grey for the binding so it looks more like a window frame. [I just noticed I forgot the white circle for the top of the hat...will get right on that!]
 I'm waiting to label it until I give him a proper polar bear kind of name - like Lars.  ;)

That's about it for this weeks WIP update.  I'm not going to bore you with the list of un-worked on projects this time - hopefully they will be in the progress bar for next week.  Linking up over at Freshly Pieced! Edited to add that I'm linking this up over at Finish it Up Friday too!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

WIP :: 10/10/12

I wanted to have some more time to spend on quilting this weekend, but ended up shopping [scored some fun red shoes at Kohl's] and cooking a lot instead.  I tried a Penne Rosa and some pomegranate-white chocolate chip cookies via Pinterest and made pizza as well!  Everything was so good and are keeper recipes for sure.

in progress
- Polar Bear wall quilt - (see this post for the back story)  I sat down and quilted this tonight.   Now he needs binding and buttons for eyes!

- J's quilt - planning to work on this soon

other projects
(These are still 'in progress', but not top of the list right now)
-GS quilt
-Roman Stripe blocks
-FMQ sammies

That's all for this week dear readers!  Linking up over at Freshly Pieced - better late than never.  :)

Saturday, October 6, 2012

polar bear pals

Here's what I found in my living room the other day:

Just too cute.  :]   Bears are my favorite animal and as I flipped through the new Quiltmaker, I loved the You Got Cookies? pattern at first glance.  Perhaps it was the cute polar bear peeking into the frame of this little wall quilt?  [hehe]

Clearly, my polar bear pal had the same reaction!  I think he was subtly hinting at my next quilt project, don't you?
  So last night I pulled fabrics, then went to buy black ink so I could print the paper foundations.  Stay tuned readers for the finished look!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

WIP :: 9/26/12

Here's a look at what I worked on this past week.  I needed a break from wrangling J's quilt through the machine so I pulled out some fabric scraps and made a few blocks!  Head over to Freshly Pieced to check out all the other great WIPS!

I'm thinking of using the Granny Square block for my JQ kids; which meant I had to try it out first.  ;)   I cut my squares at 3" instead of 2.5" and like that look best.  It'll be a great block for the girls to work on their precision sewing. I may need to make a few other 'samples' just to be sure I have it right.

Then I pulled out my Modern Blocks book and started flipping and marking pages of blocks to try.  I started with a fairly simple one - Boxed In - and really enjoyed putting it together from my scraps.  This would also be neat as a super-sized block for a baby quilt/wall quilt. Oh the possibilities!

I then pulled out the templates Momm made me for drunkards path blocks and finally tackled curve piecing!  No pins, no fear - I just started zipping them through.  I think the hardest part is cutting out the pieces.  They went together really quick and I love how the design possibilities are endless.
I wanted to make a butterfly block, but realized too late I had sewn too many curves and didn't have enough squares.  So I made this layout instead - I love it!   It might become a pillow or maybe just a mini quilt to hang on my wall.  [yes....I like that idea]  :)

in progress
-J's quilt:  still quilting

other projects
-roman stripe blocks
-FMQ sammies

Sunday, September 23, 2012

sunday snapshot #12

It's been such a nice first Fall weekend.  Cool temps, sunshine and some quilt time!  Here's a peek at some blocks I mixed up.  Finally succumbed to the Granny Square block, though I cut my pieces at 3" to start so it'd be a little bit larger.  Then a block from the Modern Blocks book and my first ever curved seams!  I ended up with this layout instead of my original plan, but love it.  Enjoy readers!   [side bar:: C this double post day is for you ;]

meet me in St. Louis

Snaps & I played tourist in St. Louis the other weekend as that was our 1/2 way point to meet for vacation (by loose standards anyway...).   We fit in as much as possible and had a blast - of course!  I've been there once before in high school, which was during the pre-digital camera days.  crazy.  It was fun to be back with such a good friend & new camera technology.   :]

view of base from the top!
First up was the Arch - photos outside and then taking the tram ride up to the top.  It's only a 4 minute ride up and you get to know the other people riding in your car really well since it's a tiny space for 5 people!  We also took a river cruise on the Mississippi aboard the Tom Sawyer boat.  (I was really hoping we'd get the Becky Thatcher instead).  Tried the toasted ravioli - a signature St. Louis dish - delicious.

  A hot air balloon festival/race was in town which sounds exciting; until we made the mistake of driving into the park to try and find somewhere to park.  There were hundreds of cars parked everywhere, more cars inching around to catch a spot and chaos in our car since we had no clue how to get back out!  It took a bit of time to drive around the park, finesse a 3 point turn and work our way back to the highway.  After catching our breath, we stopped in at The Fountain for ice cream martinis and were not disappointed.  Great recommend for a fun treat and the drinks/ice cream were so so good and much desired after the park chaos.

Day #1 continued as we headed to the City Museum for several hours of sheer fun & amazement.  Thanks Snaps for putting this on the list, by the way.  ;)   This place has indoor and outdoor adventures waiting to happen including 3 story slides, a school bus driving off the edge of the roof and a ferris wheel on the roof!  Check it out for yourself.  We caught a gorgeous sunset as well.  After we tried out the great slide and decided to head out - the fire alarm went off! so we called it a night for sure.

Day #2 included Mass at the gorgeous Cathedral and lunch & catch up with K.  Then we were off to the Budweiser brewery for a tour, glimpse of the Clydesdales and free tastings.  I tried Bud light lime which was good and Shock Top lemon shandy which was really nice too, even though I'm not a big beer drinker.

 Day #3 was our last chance to find some of the other signature dish - gooey butter cake - also delicious.  We found a coffee shop with multiple flavors of the cake to start out the morning before heading for the zoo.  It was overcast most of the weekend with decent temps and no rain - until Snaps packed away her raincoat! Then what started as a light drizzle at the penguin house, turned into a steady rain by the time we admired the big cats & gorillas. 
The rain ended our fun at the zoo and then it was time to put Snaps back on a plane home.  On the way back home, I stopped at White Castle for lunch as it's been years since I've had it. Tasty!  A fab weekend adventure and we're already planning ahead to the next one.  :)

Thursday, September 13, 2012

color play

I love having short work weeks and longer weekends! I've got some things to do yet around the house before I'm in full vacation mode, but it seems less like work when on the brink of vacation!

To fully kick-off the fun I'm joining in on the mosaic contest Softly Against Black over at Stitched in Color.  I love playing with fabrics and designing mini bundles - who wouldn't?!

So here are my 2 entries [so far].  Go over and check it out for yourself!

Mini mosaic #1:

Mini mosaic #2: