Thursday, February 21, 2013

I moved the blog (and copied all the old posts) over to  I'd love if you visited over there to comment or e-mail me at
"la.emperatriz at gmail dot com"  I'd love to hear from you!
Sorry for the confusion!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

WIP Purses

Hi everybody!  Hope everyone out there in blogland is doing well.  I haven't been organized enough to get a WIP: Wednesday post together in a few weeks (ouch), but I have been sewing.

Finishes (in the last several weeks): 

1. My tree quilt (hooray),  now officially named The Sister Tree.  Check back on Friday for a final write-up about that.

2. My text messages entry for the SAQA text messages show.  Not sure I'll get in, but the quilt's finished, and named In Nomine Patris.  I haven't shown it here yet, but it's been my primary design project this winter.  Maybe next week I'll get around to getting some good pictures and writing a couple posts about the design process.

3. My new purse to take to Asilomar.  I've been following along over at LiEr's blog ikatbag, (seriously you guys, one of my very favorite blogs) as she does a series on designing your own bags.  I decided to make myself a new purse/carryon to take with me on my trip to CA in a couple of weeks and this is the outcome!  I've made bags without patterns before, but they've mostly been fairly simple totes.  This is the first time I designed one from scratch (I know it's fairly simple but still) and I'm excited to have gotten everything assembled (straps/hardware, closures, piping, zippers, piecing, lining, pockets, etc.) in the right order without having to undo any of it half-way through.  It's fairly good sized purse but not huge (not as big as a standard messenger bag) and the strap lengthens enough to go cross body if necessary.

In progress:

The main things I'm working on right now are small miscellaneous things, like changing around the pocket configuration on Seymour the Dinosaur.  I'm also working on some photoshop design projects for an online class on using photoshop to make fabric (more on that to come too).  Most exciting, I'm getting ready and doing some design prep work for the upcoming Empty Spools Seminar my mom and I are attending in less than two weeks.  If you don't know about them, Empty Spools seminars are 5 day quilting classes held at Asilomar State Park near Monterey CA.  This year we're taking a class from fabulous Australian Art Quilter Gloria Loughman and I'm so excited!

No Progress/Future Projects

Too many to list today!

Monday, February 18, 2013

One More Valentine's Post

I love Valentine's Day, such a fun excuse for crafting, and I wanted to share the valentine's I made for my loved ones this year.  I'm not sure how I stumbled upon this Martha Stewart Craft Post by Erin Jang of Indigo Bunting, but I love rebuses and matchbox crafts (I made an advent calendar out of them actually, but I guess I never posted about it), so I thought I'd try a variation on the idea for my valentines.

I think the idea would be easy to adapt for any holiday or birthday- you might give it a whirl if you're looking for easy card alternatives.

And one more happy thing-  My 2013 valentine's block from my mom!  She's making us (my sister and me) one every year, and someday we'll put them into a quilt.  This years features gradients (from photoshop) and embroideries from her embroidery machine.  So fun since both of those are things she's been working with a lot lately.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love Minis

Happy {early} Valentine's Day everybody!  I don't go in much for the romantic side of the day, but love an excuse for fun crafty goodness.  I'd seen the LOVE mini quilt around for a long time, and when Jennifer over at Knotted Thread posted hers a few weeks back, I decided the time was ripe to whip up a few of my own. I used the pattern from Kelly over at Sew Mama Sew, only instead of making each letter the size of an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper, I printed two letters to a page, so they're each about 5.5" x 7".  I also decided to put them all in a row instead of a rectangle.  I made one for me, one for my mom, and one for Becky.  They're the perfect size for a small wall hanging or table topper.  Fun little Valentine's day presents don't you think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Progress on the Quiet Book

Things have been fairly busy here on the non-quilty front lately so I haven't been getting as much done as I'd like, but Becky and Anna came up this past weekend and I wanted to share a project we worked on together.

First, I have to say, Anna is so adorable!  She walks and runs all over the place like a pro, bending over to retrieve things from the floor or stack them up.  If you balance something on your head (like a stuffed toy), she'll walk over to you and lean over and grab it off- usually with a great big grin or giggle.  It was so special to spend time with them and I can't wait to see them in March.

Anyway, a long time ago (before Anna was even born), Becky and I started working on a quiet book.  We had one as kids that my mom made us, and we wanted to make one for Anna.  She's old enough now to enjoy some of the simpler pages, and of course anything she can put in her mouth (like a fabric book) is great fun.

Here's what we got done over the weekend! I hope Anna enjoys it.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

February Goal Setting

It's time to set goals for February for A Lovely Year of Finishes.

My goals for February are fairly straightforward:  I want to finish the two art quilts I'm working on.  The first is my entry for the SAQA text message show and it's almost finished except for all of those annoying-time-consuming-non-creative-but-important steps.  I haven't been blogging about it, but it's finished except for binding, blocking square, sewing on the label and sewing on the pocket.  It's a bit crunched so I think it will take a fair amount of blocking.

My second quilt to finish is the Japanese tree quilt, otherwise known as the brown blob of doom.  We'll see how it goes- I expect I'll like it more once it's done (if only because done projects no longer require you to sew on their bindings).

And, because a post without a picture is no post at all, here's a little embroidery I just did.  The pattern is from the lovely Carina, she has a bunch of very pretty different ones, you should totally check them out.  I wanted to use springy/valentine's day colors, so I went with pinks/reds/browns/greens.  I didn't want to do it on a plain white or linen background, so I chose this green gingko print.  I thought the pattern was subtle enough not to distract from the embroidery, but alas no.  I think the next time I stitch it up I'll use a solid background- maybe summertime colors on light blue.

Anyway, it's a fun addition to my spring decor!  Hope you all have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WIP: What's wrong with this quilt top?

My mom finished her Japanese Tree quilt (she had an earlier deadline than I did), and it's just gorgeous.  Someday maybe a guest post on that one.  I'm still working on mine though and having some difficulties.  My goal for January for A Lovely Year of Finishes over at Fiber of All Sorts was to finish this quilt top.  Most of my quilting time this month has gone towards working on a different quilt about which I haven't been blogging, so I thought just finishing the tree quilt top would be good enough for the month.

Two Fridays ago I linked up my progress with this picture over at Nina Marie's art quilt linky and asked for ideas for how to make it look less flat.  I got many helpful suggestions, including the idea to have some of the leaves and flowers be three dimensional (i.e. only tacked down in the center).

So I sewed down and bobbin quilted down a bunch more leaves and flowers using the green and pink organza (that had been part of my original plan) and then put on a bunch of three dimensional organza leaves and flowers (luckily just with pins).  All the leaves and flowers have edges that are sealed with the soldering iron and it totally helped with the flatness, but the whole thing was just wrong wrong wrong, composition and design wise.  

To help figure out what was wrong and see what there really was to work with underneath, my mom suggested temporarily taking down all the flowers and leaves that were just pinned up, which gave this.

A bit easier to look at, but now all flat looking (because I took down all the 3d ones).  After much discussion, we came up with the following list of things contributing to how wrong this feels to me:

1. All the leaves and flower clumps are the same size (bad!). The leaves are the same size out at the end of the branches as in the middle.
2. There are way too many green leaves for a spring tree, which should be mostly blossoms.
3.  In the one with the 3D flowers all the branches were covered up, and there was just too much on it in general.  I like seeing the branches.
3.  The pink organza flowers are just not giving the flowery look I wanted- the brown fabric shows through too much. 
4. One color of pink isn't really enough anyway.  Based on the picture in the center, there just be more variety of pink and white, and probably opaquer pink and white. I think with the brown background chiffon only isn't going to cut it.
5.  Too much brown at the top.

Unfortunately, there's only so much ripping out I could (or wanted) to do from the picture above.  Each leaf/flower is sewn down twice and then the edges of the chiffon were cut with the soldering iron which means they're kind of stuck down to the brown fabric.  Basically, removing too many of the leaves was not an option.  I did remove four of them that were really bugging me, big green blobby ones covering up branch ends over on the right side.  They left some organza-y residue stuck to the brown fabric.  I'm still not sure how I'm going to get rid of that, but we'll see.

Then I started adding back in 3D flowers, but instead of using organza I used other (opaque) silky fabrics I had around, in different shades of white/cream/pink.  I also tried to make them more varied in size and mostly much smaller.  I sewed them onto the quilt with little tacking stitches in the middle so they're sort of 3D.  When I cropped it down digitally to remove some of the excess brown, I was left with this.

Still not completely happy with it, but better I think.  I'm going to add some more of the white and pink flowers and maybe a couple more branches.  I'm also going to add a few blossoms to the blue center square so that it feels more integrated.

This quilt has not been one of my great successes and I'm definitely looking for suggestions if anyone has anymore design/composition ideas!

It's not finished, but it's finished-ish, and if I hadn't signed up with it for A Lovely Year of Finishes I probably wouldn't have forced myself to keep working on it and it would still be languishing in picture 2 state just taking up space on my design wall.  I'm also linking up with the always fabulous Lee over at Freshly Pieced, and the super creative Art Quilt Linky over at Nina-Marie's.