Wednesday, February 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday: Deadlines Again!

I’ve been feeling a little stressed lately.  I have so many projects going, so many cool quilts to make, and a couple projects with deadlines in progress, yet I’m often so tired when I get home from work I don’t have the energy to work on anything.  Then I feel guilty that I’m wasting valuable time!

Anyway,  I thought it would be good to write an in progress post and link up with Lee.  I always love her linky party; seeing what everyone else is working on is motivating and inspiring.

Finished this week:
Nothing.  Sad smile

In progress:
Diaper bag for Becky (deadline March 11th)
15 fabric ribbons for Oklahoma Single Stack Championships (deadline March 11th).  This is all I’ve done so far!  One half of one ribbon!  Eek.
Amy  Butler Footstool (this is soooo cool, and we found the perfect fabric, more on that later).
Flower crochet blocks  (I’ve made 6-8 of those and am really enjoying them).
Bobbin Quilting/Trapunto blocks

No Progress:
Dog thread painting
Chile Quilt
Christmas Nativity

New Projects:
Not that I need any new projects, but I’ve decided that my next big art quilt will be an entry into the upcoming juried show put on by SAQA New Mexico.  I’ve never entered a juried show before but I figure now is as goo as ever.  The quilt is to be banner style, long and skinny (24 x 80 or so) and should be “outdoor New Mexico” in theme.  I’m super excited for the design process.  I’ve decided to make the New Mexico State Dinosaur my focus.  He’s called Coeleophysis, and I’ll have much more info on him soon (if I ever get some creative design time).

I hope you guys are having fun and making more progress than I am!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Second Baby Syndrome and the rise of the Stucks

Have you guys read Shel Silverstein’s poem about the goat who ate the little boy’s fabulous story?  I love his poetry and that one is particularly fitting today.  In it, the little boy is waxing rhapsodically about the wonderful story and how the goat ate it and it was all the goat’s fault and he could never replicate the story and so now all we get is a mediocre story.    It’s  a pretty cute poem, with an adorable goat illustration.  Well, today I have my own version- blogger ate my post!  I super promise I had a lovely post on these quilts all scheduled to post right before my parents got here last week (more on that later this week) and then it disappeared!  I have not idea what happened to it, whether blogger really ate it or I just accidentally deleted it, or what, but alas its gone.  So here I will try to replicate it but you will never know whether it lives up to the previous version.
Back in the day I made a bunch of baby quilts, but at some point there started to be more babies than I could keep up with so I started doing other smaller projects for them.  I was pretty ok with this decision until we got home at Christmas and started going through all the baby quilts there.  One of the most striking (and sort of embarrassing things) we discovered was how many more quilts had been made for me than for my sister.  We decided this was “second baby syndrome” at work and I felt really bad about it!  So to avoid falling into that trap, I decided I should make baby quilts for any siblings of children for whom I’d previously made quilts.
A little over three years ago, my friend Michael Stuck and his fun wife Natalie had their first baby girl.  I didn’t have any pictures of the quilt I made for her, but Michael was kind enough to take one and send it to me.  The lady bug blocks are paper pieced, and I chose the fun complementary mouse fabric since Michael and I are mouse people.  Mary has turned into a really bright and entertaining little girl- very friendly and articulate and the least picky eater I’ve ever known!
Now they’re expecting another baby girl (Samantha) right about the same time as my sister is expecting her baby.  I decided to make a quilt for Samantha using the charm pack I won last year in the SewHappyGeek tablerunner/wall hanging swap.  I’d intended to make a tablerunner using the pattern that Jenna made after the swap, but in the end decided the charm pack would make a great baby quilt.  It pieced up really quickly and has a bunch of fun variety.  It’s the first time I’d ever used precuts, and they were perfect for this type of project.  I used the coordinating solids for borders/sashing/binding, and I quilted spirals in the center blocks, my favorite bubble pattern in the vertical borders,  and a leafy pattern in the horizontal border.  I hope  she likes it!


Good luck and prayers to the Michael and Natalie as they await the arrival of their new little girl.  If she’s anything like Mary, we better be prepared for the Stucks to take over the next generation!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Valentine's Day Cards

I hope you guys aren't too sick of Valentine's Day quite yet, because I have one more project to show! I love making Valentine's Day cards for my relatives, and try to do something different each year.  Last year I made 3D garlands and the year before that I did origami valentines.  This year, I was inspired by this image I found on pinterest.

Here are a few of the valentines I made based on the text from it.  It's always fun to get out my scrapbook paper and cardstock.  I think glue sticks are my favorite craft supply, I use them for so many things, even including quilting.

Then, because I've been wanting to make these flowers forever, I looked up the tutorial on whip up and made some into Valentine's flowers for my friend Cheryl and Mike's grandkids.  They were fun and easy to make, but fairly time consuming.  I used an old map of Italy for the flower part.  I used to occasionally go to old garage sales looking for National Geographics just so I could get the old maps, but then I found this great used bookstore in Tucson called Bookmans.  They had a bin of just the maps over by the magazines and you could buy them for a dime or something.  Anyway, I don't know if they still have it, but I bought a ton of them.  They're so great for wrapping paper and crafting and everything.  I used old pipe cleaners (I guess now they're called chenille stem) which I found only because I actually cleaned up my craft supplies when I into the building.  I had no idea I even had them.  I almost threw them away but am glad I didn't!  Green would have been better but these did in a pinch.

Do you guys make valentines?  What kind of seasonal crafting is going on in your neck of the woods lately?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Swap Package

As I mentioned on Monday, I participated in the Valentine's day swap over at happy hour projects.  In addition to the yucca mini-quilt, I made a few other things for my partner.

Of course I had to include a pouch;  this time I experimented with incorporating a pleat.  It worked out great, but the zipper is a little short and my hand barely fit inside.  I hope Claudia can do something fun with it!

I also made her some custom stationery.  She said she liked things with her initials, so I made a variety of different notecards and sent them along with matching coordinating envelopes.  I hope they suit her style at least a little bit!

Because it wouldn't be complete without a Valentine's Day card, I made one using the big sized paint chips.  She said her current favorite colors are turquoise and olive green, so that was sort of my theme with the whole package.

I also included some shrinky-dinks and colored pencils for her boys to craft with.  I loved shrinky-dinks when I was little, so I hope they have fun.  I hope she enjoys the package!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Swap Received

As I mentioned, I signed up for the Adrianne's Valentine's Day Swap over at Happy Hour Projects.  Claudia from Casa de Berry was my partner and she sent me the most fabulous package of things!  I was so excited to get the swap package in the mail.  The outer envelope was actually torn open when the postman stuffed it in my mailbox and I was so scared that something was broken because it was rattling inside.  Luckily Claudia packed it very well and the rattling was just some yummy sweet tarts.

But you guys!  Look at the awesome things she sent me:

She made me this really cute pair of earrings and necklace.  I love the "create" charm on the necklace, so very me!

Next up some yummy Peruvian drink mix (I'm excited to try it out), a really fabulous pink sparkly mirrored box and some cute decorated clothespins.   She also made me some super cool notecards and sent along a fun deep red nail polish.  The notecards are way fun, I'm a big fan of the good ole' USPS so they'll come in very handy.

Here's a final shot of the wonderful pink sparkly box on my windowsill, sitting right next to my sewing machine where I see it every time I sit down to sew.  

Thanks for being such a fabulous swap partner Claudia and for sending me such fun things!!

Valentine's Yucca Mini-Quilt

I signed up for the Valentine's Day Swap over at Happy Hour Projects.  I was paired up with the fabulous Claudia from Casa de Berry.  Ya'll should check out her fun projects and veggies and bloggy goodness.

Anyway,  she said her current favorite color combination was turquoise and olive green.  That immediately made me think of yuccas (the state flower of New Mexico) at white sands with mountains in the background and the clear deep blue sky.  Makes me homesick for the high desert!

I decided to make her a mini-quilt with a turquoise/olive themed yucca on one side and a valentines theme on the other hand. I wanted to make it completely reversible so that most of the year the yucca can be on front and at Valentine's Day time she can flip it over.

I drafted a yucca paper piecing pattern and then pieced it with various scraps from my stash.

 After assembling all the pieces, I made the flower part of the yucca using my trusty scalloped edge rotary cutter blade.   For the back, I string pieced red scraps and then machine appliqued several hearts using a blanket stitch.  I quilted it from the yucca side, using the yucca pieces as a guide for my FMQ.  I used clear monofilament thread in my bobbin so that there weren't distracting greens and blues on the back valentine side.

Because I wanted it to be completely reversible, I didn't want a pocket or triangle hangers on the back, so I made top tabs for hanging.  I started with tubes of fabric and stitched them in under the binding as I sewed it on to the front of the quilt.  Then when I flipped the binding around to the back, I folded and tucked the ends of the flaps under the binding before machine stitching down.  Ignore the way-too-longness of the tabs,  I just trimmed them off before tucking the ends under.  Now it's finished on both sides and can be hung with a small dowel.

Here I'm sort of measuring to see how much tab to cut off before flipping it underneath the binding.

I made the binding a little wider than necessary, so there's quite a bit extra on the back, but I think it finished nicely!  I had a lot of fun designing and making this mini and I hope Claudia likes it!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Day Blocks

I always like to make fun valentine's cards (I'll show some of them next week), and so does my mom.  Before we were quilters, she made all kinds of fun ones, and then after we started quilting she kept at it!

Here's a quilted valentine postcard she made for me about three years ago.

Last year, however, she started a new tradition.  She decided to make my sister and me a Valentine's Day Quilt block every year (until the end of time I think) and then after she passed away, we could make them all into a quilt to remember how much she loves us.  My sister and I thought it was a really sweet idea, and I hope we have lots and lots of blocks to sew together.  

Here are the first two installments:

Hooray Mom!  We love you too!  Can't wait to see you next week!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

WIP Wednesday: B is for Bookmark and Bedroom and Boring!

I hope you guys have been enjoying the baby quilts I've posted of late.  There are some new more recent ones I've made coming up soon.

Today I thought I'd check in to give an update on progress (and link up with WIP Wednesday over at Freshly Pieced) since I finally have progress to share!

I completed my valentine's swap package for my swap partner over at Happy Hour Projects and there'll be some pictures of that next week.  I just want to make sure my partner gets it first.  I was paired up with the fabulous Claudia, you guys should check out her fun stuff over at Casa de Berry

In progress is my swap quilt for the Name Game Swap hosted by Anorina over at Samelia's Mum,  I have some ideas brewing, but so far all I have is this base layer.  Pretty boring right now, but I promise it'll be fun and exciting in the end!

I do have one crafty finish to show; I cross-stitched this bookmark many years ago, probably 1999 or so?  The pattern is one I think I picked up in London when we were there in 1995.  I found it buried in a bin while I was cleaning things out to move into the new studio (yay!) and decided to sit down and trim it/sew the backing on RIGHT THAT SECOND.  It took all of five minutes, but if I hadn't done it then, it might have sat in the bin for another decade.

Finally, another finish for the week.  We moved into the new bedroom!  The bedroom isn't actually new, but it's now available for a bedroom since the studio is out in the new building.  We completely cleaned out our storage unit and now my wonderful furniture is back inside to be used!  BTW, if you look in this photo you can see the pretty striking difference in lightbulb temperature;  the lamp on the left is a standard compact fluorescent, while the one on the right is a daylight CF bulb.  The left one is so orange and the right one really blue!  I'll have to get them both matching before guests come.

I'm super stoked because I know it just looks like a small extra bedroom but it's really the final major step in our whole building/reno project.  I'm really happy too that my parents will no longer have to sleep on an air mattress when they come visit (next week actually, another yay!).  Finally, I'm glad One Hen Two Ducks has a useful forever home rather than being folded up in a bag under the bed.  I love to see my quilts out.  I also put the old mariner's compass pillow on the bed; it doesn't go exactly, but it was also sadly living in a closet.  Hope you enjoy!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Baby Quilts from Mrs. Fuchs

Today, one more set of old baby quilts and then I promise we'll return to the current era.

When I was in New Mexico over the holidays we were all excited about the baby quilts for my sister's soon-to-arrive (and oft referred to) baby.  In the process we started going through my mom's cedar chest to look at some of our old baby things so I thought I'd take the opportunity to snap some pictures of some of our baby quilts.

These two in particular are just beautiful.  They were made for me and my sister by a dear friend of my grandmother's named Ruby Fuchs.

According to our records, Mrs. Fuchs passed away in 1982, the year my sister was born, and I think this quilt she made for Becky was probably one of her last.  Both quilts are completely hand pieced and hand quilted and are lovely pieces to preserve.

Do any of you have old handmade items from your childhood?  I always love to get these out and look at them, and feel blessed to have such special mementos.