Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sew Bee It for June - Confetti Block

Confetti blocks for SewBeeIt

This month Jules asked for a confetti block and sent us a link to her inspiration gallery for the blocks. I was so excited to see that she sent us Kona Raisin fabric as the background, and the scraps she sent are absolutely gorgeous!!


As much as I loved these blocks, for about 3 weeks, I was totally intimidated by them. I had never done anything with this delicate mixture of liberation and structure. Finally, late last week, I decided it was time to stop farting around and come up with a game plan. So I turned to the trusty Google Blog Search to see if I could find a tutorial to give me some guidance. All the blog posts I looked at all referenced the Lady Havartine tutorial, so that's roughly the pattern I followed.


Words to the wise:
  • The smaller you cut your scrap squares, the longer it will take you to make a big block.
  • You'll need more background fabric than you think. Jules sent roughly a fat quarter, and I used at least 3/4 of it to make the 12.5" block and the smaller signature block. Make your local quilt shop happy. Buy more than you think you need.

Finally, if you make this block and like it, take a look at Bonnie Hunter's tutorial on crumb-piecing. It's similar to this block, except her piecing is a lot less structured.

Monday, June 28, 2010

State Fair Schnibbles Done! (+food)



I'm very happy to show you my Schnibbles top for this month - State Fair - completed a few days ahead of schedule, thank you very much :)


State Fair Schnibbles Top

I made it with a couple of charm packs of Hunky Dory, and true to form, I didn't follow the pattern exactly. I made a few extra pinwheels, leaving me with a smaller piano key border. So I just solved that problem by filling in the gaps with my other border fabric. The fabrics blend together well enough that you can't really tell if you stand far enough away. I can't wait to get this one quilted! I'm thinking about using the flower quilting tutorial that Alison posted the other day.


For those of y'all who just come here for the food, here's what we're eating for dinner this week...




Sunday: Chicken Pitas
Monday: Potato Soup, Wraps, Carrot Sticks
Tuesday - Frozen Pizza, Salad
Wednesday - Leftovers for me, Sandwich and Tots for the Hubz
Thursday - Mac and Cheese, Zucchini
Saturday - Baked Ziti

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Best Of My World This Week or Two (or Three)

CRAFTINESS

FOOD

LIFE

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Closure



According to the esteemed Myers-Briggs test, my personality loves closure, thrives on it, actually. This might explain my obsessiveness, not just with list-making, but with crossing off items on the todo list. Long-time followers of my blog (I think there might be about 3 of you.) will notice that I haven't really finished anything lately. That's right, maybe a top here and there, but not a lot of soup to nuts, fabric selection to binding finishes this year. Click over to my tag cloud on the far right, and click the "finished" tab to see for yourself.


Okay, I just clicked over there and saw I finished a couple of quilts a little over a month ago. So maybe it hasn't been that bad. BUT I see the ever-growing stack of tops that I would like to quilt just getting bigger and bigger. See here for the state of things back in February. So, yeah. The resolution I so boldly proclaimed to the world a few short months ago about quilting one of those tops every month - hasn't gone exactly according to plan. I started with the best of intentions, but the plans kind of fell by the wayside when I saw all the new fabrics coming out, assessed the state of my scrap bins and decided a top must be made of my dark strips since I haven't been able to close that bin for the past few months, and deepened by obsession with all things flickr.



So I am proclaiming July 2010 to be the Month of Closure. I plan to make up for lost time and devote some serious attention to the tops I haven't quilted yet. Or should I absolutely have to start a quilt top (see Year of Schnibbles or petulant impatience), I will also dutifully quilt the quilt top, so as not to add to the stash of tops I have hiding from the Hubz under our guest bed. He never goes in that room. Too much pink carpet. Hopefully, the month won't end with closure like this - drunken phone calls to would-be ex-boyfriends.


Notice that I'm not resolving anything outlandish, like quilting 14 tops this month. That would just be crazy. In fact, I'm trying really hard NOT to assign myself a number of quilt tops that must be quilted. If I do that, I'm afraid I won't enjoy the quilting/binding process because I'll be so concerned about how far I am from reaching the arbitrary goal. Instead, I'm just pledging to bring a lil' bit more closure to my life this summer, in the form of a few finished quilts.


What all this means:
1) The majority of my "no questions asked" money - a.k.a. my allowance - in July will be budgeted for backings and batting - thousandsofbolts (backing) and the Joann's coupons (for batting) are about to become my new bffs.
2) I might have to filter all the sale alert emails that some people so kindly send to skip my inbox - these emails usually initiate some serious pre-cut stash-building binges.
3) I can't play along with all the flickr quilt-along groups that I've joined. Let's be honest. The pinwheel sampler quilt along that I so enthusiastically endorsed a few months back - haven't started. I can join the groups, but no playing along until August.
4) I am piecing tops like WHOA for the rest of this month. I have a spreadsheet (imagine that!) of all the miniature steps that need to be taken to finish 3 (3!) quilt tops between now and July 1. My nose will be glued to the grindstone for the next week or so, but I'm confident I can do it, as long as I'm not interrupted too much and have a stack of girly movies to watch.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Menu Plan Monday and Siggy Blocks!


Sunday - Dinner @ In-laws (Father's Day)
Monday - Chicken Pitas
Tuesday - Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Risotto
Wednesday - Sweet Potato and Black Bean Quesadillas
Thursday - Potato Soup
Friday - Frozen Pizza
Saturday - Spinach Shells


Finally, a semi-finished project! I didn't intend to sign up for the 2nd round of siggy swaps, but the idea kind of grew on me. Julie just made the pattern so dang easy, how could I resist? So here are my finished blocks in all their glory, ready to be mailed out. I used some blue fabric from Chez Moi's Hunky Dory collection.


Last weekend, I even made quick work out of using up the siggy scraps to make a few scrappy courthouse steps-ish quilt blocks (all fabric from my stash - woohoo!). The fabrics are uber-girly, so I'm not sure I can get away with keeping a finished product on display in the house, but we'll see. I haven't even decided on a block layout yet. Maybe I'll set the blocks on point? Sash them with some bright white fabric for contrast? Make a ginormous cross quilt from them? Who knows.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

TMQG Block Swap FINAL Episode

Um, so I lied last Thursday when I said I'd be back on Friday. A series of events (unplanned cable/internet outage for 3 days, company, and work craziness) led to a week of non-blogging.


Now, I'm back (finally) with the final two blocks for the TMQG swap.


This first block (above) is called Love in a Mist. I love the scrappiness of it, but it was a heckalotta cutting and piecing, with all those half-square triangles. It's definitely one of those blocks that's beautiful, but I don't know if I'd be up for a whole quilt of those blocks.


And the final block was inspired by this tutorial. I had never made a cross block before this one, and I didn't have a firm grasp on the basic construction. I wish I could say that the green polka dot print down the one side was me being intentionally asymmetrically modern. Alas, I accidentally cut the block a tad too short when I squared it up. So I tacked that strip to the side.


The bright green freshly cut grass in the photos is brought to you, courtesy of the Hubz who had just finished mowing the lawn.


For anyone who's been dying to know what we ate this week, here's a brief recap:


Frozen Pizza, Greek Salad
Venetian Mac and Cheese, Balsamic Roasted Chicken, Salad
Corn and Roasted Pepper Chowder - This was amazing - Sara Foster knows her soups!
Leftovers
Creamy Orzo, Salad
Capellini Piedmontese (holdover from last week) - eh, this was alright.
Black Bean Burgers, Tater Tots, Carrots and Dip

Thursday, June 10, 2010

TMQG Block Swap Episode 3

Honest to goodness, y'all, we're almost done with the blocks. Are you tired of them yet? I think I subconsciously saved my favorite ones for the last half. As I was uploading them to the post, I would think, "ooh, this one's my favorite," until I went to upload the next one, then "ooh, no! This one's my favorite!" Suffice it to say, we're getting into the blocks that I would seriously consider making again, given an abundant amount of free time and an unlimited supply of fabric.


The first block is called Eight Hands Around, and the tutorial is supplied by the lovely folks over at Modify Tradition. If I ever decide to make this block again, it will probably be in a sampler-type quilt. I love the block! But all those triangles started to test my patience there near the end. I'm not sure if I could soldier through making more than 1 or 2 of this block at a time. Should I ever decide to make a larger quilt using lots of this block, it would probably end of being one of those projects that "percolates."



The next block also comes from Modify Tradition (can you tell I love that place?), and it's called Magic Cross. My favorite things about this particular block: 1) it's a sawtooth star 2)the middle square's on point, and 3) the green flaps in the corners.



Hmm, okay, so maybe this one's my favorite. Once I finished all my blocks, I decided that my favorite ones are the ones that use the widest variety of prints. I love the way the pink shell print brings out the pink flowers in the green print. This block's called Bachelor's Puzzle, and I'm thinking it would look tres cool to make a big scrappy quilt from this block.


The final episode of the block swap is tomorrow!!! See y'all then.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

TMQG Block Swap Episode 2

Here comes the 2nd installment of blocks I created for the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild swap!


According to The Hubz, this first block is the one that will get me kicked out of quilt guild. He says it's nothing but a floral swastika. But he says that about most pinwheel blocks. What do you think? The traditional pattern is called Flyfoot New, and you can find the instructions for making it here.



The second block is called Sunlight and Shadows. I modified the pattern slightly to make it a bit more symmetrical.



Finally, this last block is a wonky star pattern that I found here. It was so easy to make and would be a great pattern for using up charm squares, if you have lots of them hogging up space in your stash [looks around guiltily]. I'm thinking I might use this tutorial for one of my flickr bees.


Speaking of flickr bees, I'm so excited about a new bee I just joined - Bee Splendid. Karrie will be the beekeeper for this 16-month long bee, and I'm so excited to get started next month! I tentatively tipped my toe in the world of flickr bees earlier this year with Sew Bee It, and overall, I've enjoyed it quite a bit. I am trying not to get too wrapped up in the madness of online quilt bees, though. I want to experiment and shake up my usual routine, but I don't want to overextend myself. If you're interested in joining a bee, take a look at the Quilting Bee Blocks group on flickr. They have a whole discussion thread devoted to new bees looking for new members.

Monday, June 7, 2010

TMQG Block Swap Episode 1

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, blocks are due on Sunday for the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild's first block swap. Here's a sneak peek of the blocks I made and where I found the patterns.


First up is Courthouse Steps, and I used the tutorial from Modify Tradition. Do y'all ever peruse that site? I've had a great time finding inspiration there for this particular swap. The patterns aren't necessarily that modern, hence the "tradition" part of the name, but they do use some bright modern fabrics that really punch up the patterns.


Next up is Patience Corners from Quilter's Cache. I've been doing the math in my head, and I think there just might be enough fabric in one jelly roll strip to make this block, with a few background squares. But before you go out and buy a whole jelly roll, make a sample block, okay?

Finally, this last block is called Old Maid's Puzzle, also from Quilter's Cache. That background fabric turned out waaaay brighter than what I anticipated. I'm kind of wishing I had gone with a plain bright white. But what's done is done. If I make this block again, I'll know for next time.



You know how on Sunday, I hinted that I might finish a quilt top this week? Hmm, yeah. I don't think that will happen. I'd like to go ahead and wrap up some of my "miscellaneous" crafty todos - my SewBeeIt block for the month, my round 2 siggy swap blocks, and maybe, just maybe baste one of my already existing quilt tops. I have everything but the batting.


Finally, I just wanted to let y'all know about 2 great giveaways going on this week.



1. Green Fairy Quilts via V & Co. - Judi from Green Fairy Quilts does some of the most inspirational machine quilting I've seen. Ever! Even if you don't like feathers, you should take a look. You'll be in awe. Oh, and she's giving away lots of good loot - 5 patterns + a Botany layer cake. Head over to V & Co. to read up on how you, too, can enter the contest!


2. The Quilt Shoppe via Jaybird Quilts - They're giving away a jelly cake (jelly roll+ layer cake) of Martinique. I love the Martinique line because #1 - it reminds me of the relaxing beach vacations we always took growing up, and #2 - it won't clash with the pepto pink carpet we have in our guest room. Head over to see Julie for your chance to win!

Menu Plan Monday


Sunday - Penne and Vodka Sauce, Sauteed Zucchini
Monday - White Bean Soup, Bread
Tuesday - Falafel Pitas
Wednesday - Spinach and Ricotta Shells, Sauteed Zucchini
Thursday - Tortilla Black Bean Casserole, Avocado slices
Friday - Frozen Pizza, Salad
Saturday - Capellini Piedmontese, Green Beans


I'm hoping to get lots of sewing done this week, so I worked for a few hours yesterday getting food together for the week. Hopefully, it won't take so long to pull together dinner. So far, I've:
  • made the white bean soup (last weekend before I left). I just have to pull the soup and bread out of the freezer to thaw, then reheat and add the cream to the soup
  • formed the falafel pitas, so I just have to grill them
  • cooked the shells and stuffed them with the spinach-ricotta mixture
  • made the filling for the black bean casserole
  • made the pesto for the capellini dish
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get crank out a quilt top this week.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Back

Sorry for the (two?) week-long hiatus. I went out of town this past week to visit the parents in Louisiana, and didn't spend much time in front of the computer. The sad news is that I seem to have forgotten how to assemble a paragraph of related thoughts and statements. The good news is that I have lots of random information to impart. In no particular order:




The Pioneer Woman Salsa I Linked to a Few Weeks Back
- Don't double it. Unless you're planning to have your local high school football team over to watch the Super Bowl. It makes Costco-like portions.
- Should you choose to ignore me and double it anyways, DON'T try to do it all at once in your food processor, unless you have an industrial-sized food processor. Trust me on this one, please. Or else you will make a mess.
- Ask me how I know all this.



Schnibbles Pattern for This Month
- Nicole posted some photos that lay out the basic steps for assembling this block, and I can't help but think that this method isn't the most efficient way to use the charm squares.
- I'm thinking that if I cut each charm square in half (2.5"x5"), sew each strip to a 2.5"x5" background strip, square these up, cut it in half on the diagonal, then make pinwheels from the HST units.
- Clear as mud? I thought so. I'll keep you updated on how it goes. Cutting all those units on the bias might be the end of me.

- Oh, and p.s., I've decided to use the Hunky Dory fabric by Chez Moi.


Finished TMQG Quilt Blocks
- I have a boatload of finished blocks queued up to show you for the Triangle Modern Quilt Guild's first block swap.
- But I'm still not done with all twelve of mine. I kind of need to get on that, since they're due a week from today.
- The story on this swap: Coordinated by John (that's right. I'm in a guild with the oh so famous QuiltDad.), each 12.5" block must contain a swatch of some size from one of the three Odyssea fat quarters we received a couple of months back.
- I've seen photos of some of the other swappers' finished blocks, and mine are pretty traditional. I keep thinking I'll get kicked out of this guild for not being modern enough.