Saturday, January 9, 2016

4 Months?!?!?!

Wow!!  I didn't realize it had been so long since my last post!!!!  I really got swept up in getting ready for a craft show at the end of November and getting my Etsy store up and running.  Once that was all done, the Etsy store took off and I was swamped with orders throughout the month of December.  Really left not much time to sleep, let alone do much else.  Lol.  I've made a decision that I need to re-allocate time and bring back the stuff that I want to do as well as have time for the things I need to do.  I'm not making promises, but my goal is to start really blogging a lot more.  I forgot how much I enjoyed it and really miss posting!  I know I don't have many readers, but hopefully there will be more in 2016 :)

Now, with the holidays done and life returning to "normal," I've decided to take the month of January to get caught up on some personal projects, finish up all the Christmas gifts I didn't get a chance to do, and allow myself to "reset" a bit.

It's been a busy and productive first week of January!  I started the year off with working on some belated Christmas gifts.... particularly the one for my mom.  I felt terrible about not being able to give her more than a mere 2-piece set of embroidered towels due to lack of time.  I actually had purchased a kit for placemats from Keepsake Quilting months ago with the intent of giving them to my mom as her handmade gift for Christmas.  Alas, ran out of time.  Once I cleaned up the disaster my craft room had become, I got to work.  Love how they turned out and they only took me an evening to do :)

May I present... .my first completed project for 2016!!

Unfortunately, the kit is no longer available from Keepsake Quiliting, but I did manage to find it from a shop called Auntie Chris Quilt Fabrics.

Once the placemats were done, I couldn't wait to get started on the next project.  I've got a bunch of friends whom we don't traditionally exchange gifts with for Christmas, but this year they brought us gifts so I really wanted to return the generosity.  I racked my brain for ideas and remember seeing a great tutorial by Melanie Ham on YouTube a while back for some panel pillow covers with a zipper closure that I thought would be good gifts and be relatively easy to do.  I had a bunch of pillow forms in my stash that I originally intended on using for hexi pillow covers, however things got in the way and as of today, still haven't had time to do.  I did a little stash diving and found some fabrics that were going to work perfectly and then got to work.

First up was a pillow for my gal-pal who is a total bacon fanatic.  She'd put bacon on her bacon if that was possible.  Lol.  I had picked up this fabric from a while back as one of those "I just need $4 to get to free shipping" kind of things, figuring I'd find something to use it on.  Once I found the design on Etsy, I knew it was a match made in heaven.  Lol.  Here are the details...

Bacon Zippered Pillow Case

Started: January 4, 2016
Completed: January 5, 2016
Fabric: Timeless Treasures Bacon Black from
Batting: Warm & White scraps from stash
Embroidery Design: "Either You Love Bacon or You're Wrong" by ChicEmbroidery on Etsy
Pillow Form: 16" x 16" Pillow Form -  Fairfield Poly-Fil Soft Touch Square Pillow
Zipper: 18" Black Zipper from Wawak

I'm not going to see my gal-pal until the 24th of this month, so for right now it's wrapped and waiting.  Can't wait to see the look on her face!  If only there was a way to make it bacon scented... it would really be awesome!

I had so much fun doing that pillow that I couldn't wait to make another.  Next up was a pillow for Hubby.  It's been a while since I had made him anything other than a keychain, so I figured it was about due.  Ha ha ha.  Hubby is a HUGE Doctor Who fan, so while perusing Etsy for some cool embroidery designs, I stumbled on this one from a shop called TedandFriends.  They've got some really cool "geeky" designs!  Once I found the design, it was off to figure out the fabric.  Again, I turned to and found some Fox and Houndstooth Bowties fabric by Robert Kauffman.  Unfortunately, they were out of stock and the other colorway (blue and teal) just wouldn't work. After scouring the internet, I found some yardage from another Etsy store called Texas Susannie's.  Ordered right away and got it days later!  Great customer service!! Once the first pillow was done, I wasted no time in getting this one started!

I'm really not happy with all the puckering in these two pillows in the embroidery, however I've been doing some research and think I might have found a solution.  Will be trying some new things on the next one and see if that helps, but in the meantime... Hubby was ecstatic with his gift!  Here are the details...

Bowties Are Cool Zippered Pillow Case

Started: January 6, 2016
Completed: January 8, 2016
Fabric: Fox and The Houndstooth Bowties Black by Robert Kauffman from
Batting: Warm & White scraps from stash
Embroidery Design: "Bowties Are Cool" by TedandFriends on Etsy
Pillow Form: 16" x 16" Pillow Form -  Fairfield Poly-Fil Soft Touch Square Pillow
Zipper: 18" Black Zipper from Wawak

Feels so great to actually be getting back to my "roots" and doing a little sewing and quilting!  I didn't realize just how much I missed it until I started doing these.  I just bought a bunch of fabrics and have embroidery designs picked out for more, most likely going to be listed in my Etsy shop for sale.   Also have the stuff together to make a couple more as belated gifts, so most likely I'll be working to get those done here over the next few days.

I've got a couple more personal projects that I would like to work on over the upcoming weeks, and can't wait to get started!  It really kinda feels weird that I'm not under pressure, stressed, and sleep-deprived with trying to get stuff done for shop and show deadlines.  This little "reset" I'm doing is really helping and making me happy.  Don't get me wrong, the shop is still up and I have a couple of shows this year, but I figured that I can start prepping inventory come next month or so and spend some time just being creative instead of being an assembly line :)

Hope everyone has had a wonderful Saturday, and don't worry..... I'll be back and more frequently (I hope) with all kinds of fun updates!!

Linking up with Show Off Saturday at SewCanShe

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

WIP Wednesday: Commissioned

A few months back, one of Hubby's really close gal-pals kinda cornered me and begged me to make a baby quilt for her soon-to-be niece.  The criteria.... "Non-baby, non-girly, non-pink, with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on it."  Seriously?!?!?!  Talk about a quilter's challenge!!

I racked my brain, scoured the internet, and read every quilting magazine I own cover-to-cover trying to find a pattern that would be easy, yet able to incorporate a large variety of fabrics.  I had settled on using "Happy Dots" by Michael Miller as my patterned prints, plus I had some TMNT novelty prints that I needed to incorporate.  Finally found a pattern that would show all of it off nicely...
Bow Tie Baby Play Mat by Chris Malone for Quilter's World Magazine
Pattern is a very basic (easy!) one that shouldn't take too long, and it's a prefect one for the prints I picked :-)  Started the cutting back on August 1st and had all the solid and print squares done, as well as fussy cutting enough TMNT fabric for 8 blocks.  One layer cake was plenty to do this one quilt, plus quite a bit leftover so possibly a smaller one down the road :-)

Lotsa squares!!
Once all the squares were cut, I got to assembling the first part of the block... snowballing one corner of each of the 165 white squares :-D  Keeping the color sets organized proved to be a bigger task than I thought.  (Don't mind the mess on the floor behind my ironing board... I've been "organizing" for weeks and still have a ways to go... Lol).

Getting all the blocks fully assembled took no time at all thanks to some mega chain-piecing!  Got them all sewn together and then re-organized into colors.  Each color technically had multiple prints (just different sized dots), so I just piled them all up by color and was ready to go!

Now, I must diverge for a moment and just talk about what little shortcut I did that made my life SO much easier!!!  Used my Martelli Roundabout with the ironing pad on it on a TV tray right next to my machine.  WHY DID I NOT DO THIS SOONER?!?!?!?!  I LOVED how convenient it made pressing these blocks as I went without having to get up a million times to go over to the ironing board.  Lol.  I know this is far from a new trick.. but it's new to me and quilting won't be the same for me ever again!  Lol

One all the blocks were organized by color, it was time to play with the layout.  This proved to be harder than I thought it would be!  I was going for kinda a "scrappy" look, so I was just putting the blocks up randomly... but my OCD kicked in and I couldn't have two of the same-sized dots next to each other, or the same color more than once in a row or column.... I was starting to pull my hair out when I finally gave in and just let things lie where they were and that was it.  Lol.  If I kept going.. I'd end up bald!

All laid out and ready to go!    
Since this one is only 45" x 45" square when finished, assembling the top took no time!  Literally about an hour or two one evening and I was done :-)  Cleaned off the kitchen table and had it basted and ready to quilt in less than about 45 minutes!  I love doing baby quilts for just this reason!

Now came the fun part... trying to figure out how to quilt it!  After way too much thinking on this, I decided to go with just plain echo stitching around the bow ties.  Short and sweet.  But those white blocks that were created from the placement totally needed something... I just didn't know what.  My FMQ other than meandering still needs some work and I didn't want to practice on a quilt I was getting paid for.  So... at the suggestion of my mom, I pulled out the embroidery machine and that fancy hoop Hubby bought me for Christmas last year and decided to give embroidering the blocks a try :-)

Hooped up and ready to go!
I decided to use the Dr. Seuss font to add outline alphabet letters to all the white spaces.  I digitized the font using my Embrid software and then stitched it out.  This Viking Quilt-It-All hoop is specifically made for quilting and has s special inner hoop that is smaller to accommodate the thickness of all the layers in a quilt.  Added bonus.... when embroidering on a quilt, you don't even need stabilizer as the three layers of the quilt are plenty to keep it stable :-)

My current status on this project is "nearly done."  I got the quilting all done on Monday with it being a holiday, and have been working on the hand-binding portion as much as I can when I get home from work.  Thinking this actually should be wrapped up tonight when I get home :-)  Just will need a quilt label and it'll be ready to send off, and then I can "officially" check this commissioned quilt off my To Do list :D

Linking up to Freshly Pieced's WIP Wednesday and Sew Fresh Quilts' Let's Bee Social

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I Quilt @ Pretty BobbinsMy Quilt Infatuation

Also, linking back to Needle & Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation and I Quilt Thursdays at Pretty Bobbins.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Wow! Dropped Of The Face of the Planet (Again!)

Holy cow!  I can't believe it's been 4 months since I've posted!!  Not an excuse, but this has been a CRAZY summer!  It seems like this summer has completely flown by!

In case you've been wondering what I've been up to since May... here's a quick recap.

1. Broken Foot

Back at the end of June, I managed to land myself in this oh-so-fashionable walking boot for pretty much the entire summer!  Stepped out of my car wrong and rolled my ankle which resulted in a stress fracture in the fifth meta-something (can't remember the official term).  Almost 8 weeks in this bad boy made everyday things more difficult, and things I enjoy practically impossible.  Getting around the house, to and from work, and just day-to-day things weren't completely impossible, just took a little more time.  Stairs were not my friend and driving was interesting (it's my petal foot).  Sewing on the other hand, pretty much impossible.  Couldn't manage the foot petal on any of my machines and attempting to use the left foot was disastrous!  Thus.... the only crafting I could really do was knitting and using my embroidery machine (no petal necessary!).

2. Etsy Store Launch

Even with being down with a broken foot, I couldn't just stop crafting.  Lol.  Since my embroidery machine was really the only machine I could use since it didn't require a foot petal, I jumped in head first with getting my Etsy store launched.  It's been something I've been toying around with for the past year or so, but this gave me a good opportunity to actually get it up and running.  So far, it's mainly vinyl keychains (practically any theme you can think of!) and a few other small items like Tic Tac Toe games and finger puppets.  I've got a LOT more planned... just a matter of getting samples made in order to list in the store.  Also planning on doing a local craft show in November that I plan on peddling my wears at, so lots of prep work to do on that as well.

3. New Nephew!

Well, this was the surprise of the year!  We knew my sister was having a baby (lol), but according to the big "gender reveal" party she had back in February, she was expecting another girl.  So.... we all prepared for a girl.  We even threw my sister a baby girl, all pink "sprinkle" in July.  Well, two weeks (almost to the day) before her due date, she went into labor.  Everyone was waiting on baby girl P's arrival.. and low and behold... baby girl P was really baby BOY P!!!  Talk about a shocker!!!  Weighing in at 8 lbs. 3 oz, 21.25 in long... Little Mr. C had arrived!  He's the first boy in my family (just me and my sister)... so needless to say my dad is a bit excited!

4. LOTS of Projects!

Even though I've had a bit of a crazy summer, I have managed to actually get quite a few projects done (or almost done!).  Most of them have been for my Etsy store, but I've managed to do some non-store projects too!  Finished a quilt top for myself and sent it off to Missouri Star for quilting, made a few button-down shirts for Hubby, made a "Star Wars Emperor Robe" for Hubby to wear in a local parade, a really cute pillow for my dad for father's day, and a bunch of other little things here and there.  I'll be doing a few posts over the next week or so showing off all the things I've been keeping myself busy with ;-)

I will be back tomorrow with a WIP Wednesday for you!!!  Stay tuned :-)

Linking up to Linky Tuesday at Freemotion by the River, and Sew Cute Tuesday at Blossom Heart Quilts

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