Thursday, February 28, 2013

My improv days are finally behind me.

A few years ago when I first started quilting it seemed as though every quilt blogger was trying out – and loving – improv piecing. I remember seeing so many pretty quilts and thinking to myself, "That looks like fun! I can do that!"
A quick rummage through my stash revealed a stack of solids, leftover from an older project. Score! I started cutting, pressing and sewing with gusto. A few days later I had 20 or so blocks finished and I couldn't wait to...

... hide them at the bottom of my UFO pile.

I wasn't just that the colors weren't "me". I simply didn't enjoy the process or the results. I like modern quilts, but I still have a huge traditionalist streak running through me.

But even though I couldn't bear to look at those bright little blocks, I also couldn't bring myself to throw them away. So they languished in my UFO pile for a good eight or nine months before I finally took a second look.
Flash forward to last year's Festival of Scrappiness over at Stitched in Color when I happened to come across those lonely little blocks while organizing my sewing desk. I think the passage of time helped make them a little more palatable, because for some reason I picked up a wacky coordinating print and decided to turn them into a baby quilt for donation.

I no longer hated those improv blocks, but I wouldn't say we were friends either. So I put the top away, this time at the top of my UFO pile.
A few weeks ago I ran out of white thread for my postage stamp quilt but I still wanted to sew... so I pulled out that old top, chose backing and binding fabrics from my stash, and finished it up.

I think it's finally grown on me. I kind of like it... a little bit.

But I'm still no improv girl.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

February finish.

It's the end of the month and time to check in on our February goals for A Lovely Year of Finishes over at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew BitterSweet Designs

This month, I gave myself a couple of modest goals for my postage stamp quilt: assemble and pin-baste the quilt top, and research and choose a quilting design. Well, the quilt has been pin-basted, the quilting design has been chosen and quilting has begun!

I wanted a design that would allow me to use my walking foot, and found a great post filled with ideas over at Petit Design Co. She did an awesome 31-day series on quilting with your walking foot. I highly recommend checking it out if you're looking for some fresh quilting ideas. I found my own inspiration while reading her post on circles.
So far the spiral is looking beautiful. I have run into a few minor problems, but I'm learning from them and hopefully my mistakes will help me as I strive to become a better quilter. I'll post more about that in a complete wrap-up when I show the final quilt. Maybe I'll have it finished in time for the March link-up!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Under the needle.

Quilting on my postage stamp quilt has begun in earnest. I can't wait to finish this one!

What's under the needle at your house right now?

Friday, February 8, 2013

Scrap-buster kids art tote

One of the perks of being a mama who sews is that I sometimes get to make birthday gifts for my daughter's friends. This weekend, one of Miss C.'s best girlfriends is celebrating her sixth birthday with a pet shop-themed party. All the kids attending the party will get to adopt a stuffed animal pet. Seriously, doesn't that sound like an awesome birthday party?

The birthday girl is a budding artist, so I whipped up a little travel art case using scraps I had on hand (bonus!). Throw in a drawing pad, colored pencils, pretty pencils and erasers and – poof! – she's all set to draw on the go. 

My case was inspired by one I saw on Pinterest. I couldn't believe my luck when the birthday girl's mama told me that she likes to draw because I just seen the pin in my feed that morning. I rushed back to my computer to check out the tutorial for that adorable little art tote and... well... it's written in French! 

I'm sure I could have figured out what she did just by looking at the diagrams and converting centimeters to inches but I'm lazy. Or is that crazy? Because coming up with your own pattern doesn't take more time, right?

Oh, well! Miss C. and I love how it turned out and we hope the birthday girl loves it just as much. Now I think I'm going to need to make one for Miss C. too. 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Lovely Year of Finishes: February Goal

Last month my goal was to finish my postage stamp quilt top. I may have finished it early, but all progress came to a grinding halt as soon as the top was finished. Yes, I've be distracted by a few small projects but the real reason I haven't started quilting it is that I haven't been able to settle on how I want to quilt it. All those tiny squares are begging to be secured with some lovely quilting but I've been stumped as to just how I'm going to do it.

So, with that in mind here are my goals for February:
  1. Assemble and pin-baste the quilt sandwich.
  2. Research and choose a quilting design.
Want to join in? Stop on by at Fiber of All Sorts and Sew BitterSweet Designs to join the party!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Filling time before school.

My kids are early risers. Most weekdays, they're up as soon as they hear their Daddy turn on the shower to get ready for work.

I love that they're up early during the week (of course, I wish they'd sleep in on the weekends!). It gives us plenty of time to get ready for school and they're left with a few extra minutes to play or do some sort of an activity. Lately, we've been kicking it old school with our read-along stories and cassettes. 

My mom had saved all of our See-Hear-Read books from my childhood and was so sweet to let me gift them to Miss C. on her third birthday. Most of those are the classic Disney stories like Lady and the Tramp, Winnie the Pooh (Master W.'s favorites) and Robin Hood, with a few Star Wars books as well.

This fall, my aunt scored a huge stack of them during her thrifting adventures and brought them down to Miss C. when visiting for my brother's wedding. She has really enjoyed reading all of her "new" stories, especially since they seem to be geared toward older children. 

Books on tape may seem old fashioned to today's kids, but they still have great play value. I love that they help my kids read independently, and they've even helped teach responsibility (taking care of the tapes, old books and player does take some effort and focus for younger kids). Plus, I think it's important to teach children that not all entertainment has to be on some sort of digital device.

Today's book was 'Owl at Home' by Arnold Lobel. There are several mini stories, broken up into chapters. The kids really enjoy this one, especially when Owl invites Winter in for a visit. Poor Owl ends up with a house full of snow! 

Miss C. runs the cassette player since Master W. isn't quite responsible enough to manage the cassettes on his own yet. I've noticed that while he may appear to be across the room playing with his cars or trains, he really is listening to the story because he usually drifts over to listen whenever she turns on a tape. Within a minute or so, he's perched on the chair next to her, reading along. It's just so darn cute.

How do your kids fill time before heading off to school each morning?

Friday, February 1, 2013

Reason #435 why I love babies.

They can kick off a sock in mere minutes. Check out those chubby little ankles!

I hope you're weekend is off to a great start! If you have a wee one in your life, give those little baby toes some extra kisses and enjoy these sweet moments. Babyhood slips away so quickly!