Tuesday, February 25, 2014

HMQG Mug Rug Swap

Our Houston Modern Quilt Guild meeting was yesterday two weeks ago and we swapped mug rugs. I made two so I got to take two home. I don't have pics of the two sweet mug rugs I received yet, but here are some pics I took of mine right before.

The first was made up entirely of little 1" HSTs. (Isn't that yellow bird mug adorable?) I used value to create an overall radiating diamond shape from the mix of patterns.

The second one is simpler with lots of negative space and wavy line quilting. I think it's kind of Japanese looking. 

Then, because my parents were visiting (boo, they're gone now), there were lots of yummy props for my photos. So here are some more photos with some of the goodies they made. My dad baked this red velvet cupcake and my mom iced it with homemade cream cheese frosting.

And one of my favorite cookies that my dad makes, Laura Bush's Cowboy Cookies. He found the recipe in the Washington Post newspaper back in Maryland, but couldn't resist trying them since I'm down here in Texas. They turned out really, really good, so good in fact that I asked him to make them as favors for my rehearsal dinner when I got married almost 5 years ago. They've become a tradition ever since! The one below is actually a miniature version, the real thing is Texas-sized. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try making them yourself. (The only change he made was omitting the cinnamon.)

Between my local Quilt Guild and online Flickr groups, I'm really enjoying these swaps. There are so many fabulous ones out there that I'd love to join, but I have to pace myself! What kind of swaps do you like to participate in?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Japanese x & + Blocks

I recently joined this scrappy block swap on Flickr and sewed my first Japanese x & + blocks using this tutorial from badskirt. I originally just wanted to join a swap, but I'm really surprised how much I like scrappy! My quilts are usually pretty planned out with lots of solids in between the patterned fabrics, so this was a real departure for me - and I love them!

 There was a whole lot of hemming and hawing goin' on during the fabric picking out part of things (thank goodness the Olympics was on), and I ended up with almost as many unused pieces cut out as I ended up using, but I'm really happy with how the colors and patterns play together.

...and I went a little crazy with the photos.

Some are more successful than others as far as the x & + being visible through the mash up of pattern and color. This one with the scripty + is one of my favorites from the bunch.

These blocks are on the small side, at 7.5" so it might be awhile before I accumulate enough to build a decent sized quilt top, but I think this will be one of those projects that I'll work on a little bit here and there. Which when I think of it, is kinda' cool, b/c I can use new scraps as I buy new fabric and sew other projects and it will become like a memory quilt of all the other things I've made while making these. Which at this rate might be a couple of years' worth. We aren't actually swapping until May, but I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone else comes up with!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Feature in BHG's Make It Yourself Magazine

Some of you may remember my Fabulous Feathers pillow tutorial, well, I'm pretty excited to say that it's being featured in the Fall/Winter 2013 issue of Better Homes & Gardens new "Make It Yourself" magazine! I ran across it at my local Joann's over the weekend while looking for a book on crochet and couldn't help opening it up and grinning like a fool at seeing the photos of my pillow along side my name in print, in a Better Homes & Gardens magazine!

It was included as part of a special section featuring projects for the home with feathers in them, aptly named, "feather your nest".

The final project in my living room!

There are tons of neat projects in this issue, a lot of them inspired from pins on Pinterest and items in etsy shops. I love that!

What projects are you working on?

Friday, January 31, 2014

Dolly for Emma

I've been seeing some really darling dolls on Pinterest lately and decided I wanted to make one for emma. I found this cute tutorial and pattern from make-itlove-it.com. I really liked it, but her clothes were sewn on and I wanted my version to be completely dressable. So, instead of using patterned fabric on her body I used skin colored fabric and made a separate dress for her. I also changed up the face a bit and added some extra details. I'm pretty excited about how she and the dress came out.

Her dress is sort of a working prototype since I've never sewn anything this small, and never without a pattern. This was the result of my third attempt. The bodice and skirt were pretty easy, but I ran into trouble trying to attach separate sleeves. Then I realized they didn't need to be separately attached, I just added them into the bodice and voila! I did end up finishing the sleeve edges by hand since they were so tiny, and I made one side gathered just to see which I liked better. (I'm kind of on the fence.)

The seam showing on her neck is where I would've attached patterned fabric if her dress would've been sewn on like in the tutorial. In retrospect, I probably don't need that seam anymore and could cut the head and body out of one piece of skin colored fabric.

I also gave her white socks to go with her Mary Janes. I actually folded and hemmed the top edge of the socks before sewing them directly on to the legs to make them seem more real, as opposed to sewing the white fabric to the skin colored fabric not overlapping. (does that make sense?)

and gave her a pink hand-stitched heart...

then personalized her by hand-stitching her name into the back of her underwear!

I must say that doll making could easily become a new addiction (I've already started a new one)! There are so many ways to customize her,  from her shape to her facial features to her hair, and with her being dressable, there are so many little outfits and accessories I can make for her. There'salso a wealth of shops that sell doll-sized notions, like little buttons and itty bitty crocheted trims... ahh the cuteness!. I've always had a thing for miniatures, like my need to collect demi-tasse cups. Maybe little emma can have a tea party with her dolls and my demi cups when she gets a little older!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Toadstools Lap Quilt

Another project I finished quite some time ago was this little Toadstools quilt. It was supposed to be a small scale test quilt for a pattern I was working on for my Les Amis Collection booth at the 2012 Fall Quilt Market. I thought it would be charming to go along with the woodland theme, but for whatever reason it didn't make it any farther than this. It's also the first quilt I ever sent off to be quilted and I remember how excited I was to get it back and see such pretty curvy quilting lines. Up to that point every quilt I'd ever made had straight lines (and still does until I learn to use a free-motion quilting foot)!

It's pretty small, but perfect as a lap quilt, or for little emma to play on. I think it would also be great as a little boy's quilt. Not to mention it's a great pattern for using up precious bits of fabric. In fact as I'm writing this I'm thinking of some Liberty scraps I've been collecting and how perfect they would be in a larger version.

I kept the back side simple, with just some leftover squares in a strip. Once the quilting was completed I kind of fell in love with the back on it's own. The feathers motif in brown thread is really pretty against the white.

You just might see a full-size version of this in the near future!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Calendar Feature in Homemaker Magazine

The postman has been very good to me these past few months, bringing me lots of goodies, one of which was this lovely Homemaker magazine all the way from the UK. They partnered with my favorite online fabric printer, Spoonflower, to feature a pull-out calendar with some of the fabric designs from their website. My Love Birds was chosen for February, sweet!

I see a few other faces in there I recognize from the friendly Spoonflower design community, Samarra KhajaHolli Zollinger, Kristopher K, and Annelie Hervi to name a few.

I received my copy in the mail just before the new year and can't wait to hang it in my studio. 

Ha, there's my little headshot peeking out from the branches. I wonder if takes other people sooo long to find one shot they like of themselves. :)

My original design as seen on Spoonflower, here.

I had some printed up on lovely voile and sewed it up into a lightweight scarf. This is a tutorial for it from a previous post.

I'm pretty psyched to be included with so many talented Spoonflower designers, Happy 2014!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Madrona Road Lap Quilt

Part of ushering a new year in is clearing out the old, so not only am I trying to wrap up current WIPs, but I'm finally getting around to writing about projects I actually managed to finish but didn't post! This is a lap quilt I finished last year for the Madrona Road Modern Quilt Guild Challenge. This fabric collection remains one of my favorites and it's just a bonus that it's by one of my fellow Michael Miller designers, Violet Craft. You can view other fabulous entries here.

I used a lot of white space and chose quilting that echoed the broken herringbone in one of the fabrics, and an outer border of graduated lines.

The pieced back almost lines up with the quilting.
I was actually pretty psyched that it was that close!

It's at home now on the back of our comfy sectional upstairs in the game room, perfect for movie night!

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