Starting Early…a Christmas Quilt Swap!

UPDATE : The Quilt Block Swap is now full. All of those who commented are in. Please keep an eye out for an email with full details about the swap! Can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with! YAY!

Keep commenting or emailing though…if there is enough interest (12 more people), we could do 2 group swaps! :)

Oh yes, you read that correctly. I’m thinking about Christmas. With this sweltering Louisiana heat, it seems hard, but lately, all I can think of is cooler weather, a kitchen smelling of cinnamon and a Christmas tree adorned with presents underneath.

Since starting my sewing hobby last November, I’ve been thinking about the day when I could add handmade Christmas decor to the house. Last Christmas, I was lucky if I was able to make a tote bag, much less a Christmas quilt.

My blogging friend and fellow ‘bee, Jennifer of Moonlight and Magnolias, also sews and quilts. She actually brought up this Christmas quilt idea , since quilting has become such a fun hobby!

We want to involve you guys: our readers. How, you ask? A centralized quilt block swap! Are you intrigued? I sure hope so! This is going to be fun!

Image credit

Now, here’s the deets. This is the quilt block we will be making, which is from Moda Bake Shop by Doug Leko. While that quilt has 35 blocks, we don’t want to make this super daunting on every participant (35 blocks is  a lot to take on and that makes a huge quilt). So, this will be a 12 block quilt.

As you can see, the quilt blocks themselves are fairly simple, so most quilters can participate and end up with a great quilt in the end!

Each participant would make 12 quilt blocks (using Christmas-y quilters cotton…there’s tons of fun prints out there, so GO WILD!) and send them to us by October 15th (you have plenty of time). Please  include a paper name tag pinned to the back of EACH your blocks, so the recipient will know who else has generously swapped. Name tags should have your first name, city and state, and blog if you have one.

You would then take your finished blocks to the post office without sealing the package. Have them weigh your package and buy that amount of postage, plus $.20 to make sure, and stick that on your return envelope. Place that envelope in with the blocks and send it on its way.

Once we receive all of the blocks, we will assemble the new kits of 12 blocks and send them your way. You should get your package by the November 1st.

After that, it’s up to you to make the quilt. When you’re done with the quilt, send us a picture of your finished project by December 15th, and we’ll do a quilt block swap round-up on our blogs!

Since Jennifer and I are participating, all we need are 10 more people to make this quilt block swap happen! If you are interested, just leave a comment here with your email address by September 15th. To keep shipping simple, we ask that participants must live in the continental U.S. The first 10 commenters on either blog will be in. Please only comment if you will truly commit to this swap, so everyone will end up with their 12 blocks in the end. :)

If you have any questions, please email me at niftyfoodie at gmail dot com or comment!

Encouragement please?

When I called in sick to work one day, I was basically bound to the bed watching daytime talk shows. I happened to come across the Bonnie Hunt show, and 5 minutes into the show, I got inspired by a color palette on there (pictured below).

A few days later, I got an email from Paper Source. New colors…at first all I could sulk about was the fact that Paper Source came out with a teal AFTER the wedding (our colors were teal/brown) and how helpful it would have been had this color been around, say, 2 years ago in the planning days. (oh my gosh, planning was two years ago?)

A week later, I found myself stalking the site and noticed that the Bonnie Hunt show inspiration was VERY close to Paper Source’s new colors. My brain started cranking.

Wouldn’t it be pretty to somehow bring that palette into a quilt…no…better yet, a blanket with soft plushy YARN? Knitting, I know how to knit….I can search for a blanket. Well, that search came up empty handed, and as I was ready to click out of my go-to site for patterns, I stumbled across this. Crochet…oh cruds…I can’t crochet! Or can I?

In my inspired moment, I made a little inspiration board. Not sure if I like grey or beige with the colors, but I’d do the three colors (in either pale or brights) with beige or grey and a white. Yeah, a little obsessive with projects, aren’t I?

1. www.paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/new/new-colors.html
2. www.lionbrand.com/patterns/90699AD.html
3. sophiabush.net/gallery/albums/tvappearances/2009/oct13_bo…

Anyway, I’ve tried crocheting before, but was discouraged by the teacher who could only show me right-handed techniques. (yep, I’m a lefty..did I mention that?) However, I REALLY like that blanket and I REALLY like those colors. I want to make it a reality. Am I crazy? Wouldn’t this be so fun to cuddle up in this winter?

So, I need some encouragement. If I can knit, I can crochet, right? Please tell me I can. Please?

Done and done!

My first quilt has been quite a great experience. I learned a lot about sewing straight lines and really feel proud that it all started with this. I now have a fun blanket that will keep me warm, and I’ll cherish it even more since it all started from a few yards of Hobby Lobby fabric. Amazing, no?

This quilt is a tied quilt with some funky green yarn that I had in my knitting stash. Yeah, I have a stash of yarn too…eep!

Yarn Close-Up

I found this to be an excellent quilt for a beginner and it gave me much confidence to try this again! I can’t recommend this book enough to people. I’ve learned the most from this book, as well as sewing blogs. :)

Without further ado, here is the quilt. Isn’t it just so much fun? It’s now hanging over a loveseat in our living room until I can figure out a permanent place for it. :)

Finished Quilt

Oh, and another thing? I finally hung up our fleur de lis from the painting class we took last week. Hubs is embarrassed of his painting, but hey, I think they look great in our room!

Paintings

By the way, feel free to leave lots of comments with painting love for the hubs. He thinks his painting is terrible…he needs a boost. :)

A little confidence…

I’m afraid I’m turning into a fabric hoarder. Originally when I started sewing, I bought fabric for projects as needed. I did this because I didn’t want to spend too much money on a hobby I might hater, but now, well, I buy them when I find a great sale. I basically went a little nuts here, but I have projects in mind for most of these fabrics.

New Fabrics

Oh, and did I mention that pre-washing/ironing fabric is quite a task in itself? The not-so-fun parts of sewing.

I also laid out the baby quilt. There will be some Kona cotton in between the rows to break it up a bit as well. This is the pattern for the quilt, just to give you a general idea. I can’t wait to start sewing this together. :)

Baby Quilt Layout

This weekend, the Amy Butler fabric was screaming at me to make something out of it. I made a cover for my planner that I bought a couple of weeks ago. I love the way it came out! :) There’s still some minor tweaks I might make, but overall, it’s an improvement than the black cover it had. :)

New Planner Cover

Spree

Since I started sewing, I’ve started making a list of places where I like to shop for fabrics. I don’t prefer to order fabrics online, because I’d rather feel/see fabrics and heck, I’d much rather support local businesses! Usually owners of small businesses are very helpful, whereas online, it can be very overwhelming.

One of the businesses had a 50% off sale for gift cards to redeem at a later date. I went a little wild, and excitedly waited for the next weekend when I could redeem the cards.

I actually took a while, because there was just so many drool-worthy bolts of fabric. I wanted to take pictures in the store for y’all, but I got shy. I’m fairly shy in person, and I was afraid of what the customers would think with someone half their age shooting pictures. (Yes, most of the customers in the store were over twice my age.)

Because of that, they had an EXCELLENT Amy Butler selection still available. I got a little giddy…my first Amy Butler fabrics!

Amy Butler Fun

Since I finished my first quilt (pictures coming soon), I already started planned out my next one. This will be a baby quilt for hubs’ cousin (she’s expecting a girl). I found the cutest pattern online using charm packs, so I’m very excited to get into this with most of the fabrics pre-cut.

Baby Quilt Fabric

I had a little bit of credit leftover and this charm pack caught my eye. It’s July, I know, but a lot of fabric shops are already thinking Christmas since projects can take a while. I think I know what I’m making with this, but for now, I’m going to keep it a tiny secret from y’all.

Christmas Fabric

I bought a few small accessories too, but those are boring. I just wanted to share the fabric pretties with y’all. I can’t wait to create with all of this!

A Sandwich

Ok, you saw the post of this title and thought I would be blogging about ham and cheese between two deliciously toasted slices of bread, did you not? I am a food blogger, after all. :)

While this sandwich does not involve pork or dairy, this sandwich is (visually) delicious. This sandwich is part of my summer goal. I’ve been longing for the moment to make this sandwich ever since I sliced into the fabric, turning those 5 fabrics into (almost) perfect 11″x11″ squares.

I was scared that it would turn into a disaster like this, but besides a few hiccups, I made a sandwich.

I nervously taped down my backing, which is quilter’s cotton (in natural). I stared at it for a bit and added the batting on top. I couldn’t believe what was happening. I draped the top over the batting and stared at it for a while. I just couldn’t believe it…my first quilt sandwich.

Quilt Sandwich

I got on my hands and knees, and meticulously pinned the sandwich together. 38 pins…I was nervous.

Pinned Together

I carefully trimmed the edges of the sandwich to rid of excess batting and quilt backing. I never cut so slow in my life. Well, maybe in kindergarten when I wanted to put Cookie Monster on the fridge… ;)

Before binding

I slowly pinned bias tape to the edge of the fabric and then enjoyed the gentle humming of the machine, while kids were playing outside by my window. I thought, wow, that was me about 15-20 years ago (wow, that was forever ago!). I reminisced about the times that we would play outside with the neighbors until the mosquitoes attacked…childhood was great. I may have drifted off a little too much, because you can see a few waves in my sewing (should be straight lines on that bias tape). I need to remember to watch every stitch on the machine and not daydream.

After all was done, I draped a nearly completed quilt over my chair. This sandwich is now sealed together, and isn’t going anywhere.

Almost Finished Quilt

All that is left now, is to replace the pins with some tied yarn where the fabrics meet in each corner. You might be thinking that this isnt’ very traditional, but this is a very basic, beginner’s quilt, folks. Normally, people quilt using curves/squigglies like this or straight lines like this. However, I’m following the book’s pattern/instructions and using yarn.

I can’t wait to enjoy this quilt! My very first one…

A few firsts….

This past week, a good bit of “firsts” happened. “Firsts” are wonderful because they will never happen again and you will always look back on the first time such and such happened. They are bookmarks in your life, and while they are small bookmarks, your brain has them engraved in there for you to remember at random times.

I can recall my first hospital visit that happened in kindergarten after I sprayed nasal spray in my eye. I even remember my first food craft project, which involved me trying to convince the teacher that the animal crackers didn’t want to be glued to an ark, but rather, they would prefer to be in my tummy (early signs of a foodie or a fatty?). I can even recall my first needlecraft, which was a teddy bear cross-stitch that read “Welcome”. My parents still have this hanging by their door.

A couple of big firsts were involving the sewing machine. The pajama pants (#38) . I was supposed to finish these in June, but for some reason, June seemed like it was shorter than the average month. Why the heck is it July already anyway? I’m not ready for the Christmas in July ads.

Pajama Pants

Ok, back to the pajama pants. The pattern said “easy”, but this pattern was NOT easy. First of all, all they show are little pictures in steps. They don’t tell you how to get your fabric to look like that picture. I had to constantly reposition fabric after every step and repin. Annoying. Took me about 5 hours to make these. However, now that I know, I can probably pump out a pair in about two hours. I disregarded putting ribbon on them in the waist area, because I was fairly sure the puppy would see that as a toy and have something else to try to chew on.

Also, I finished the quilt top over the past weekend. Summer goal is *almost* done. All I have to do is assemble it together now.

Quilt Top

We’re going to say I took a picture of the top upside down on purpose, ok? I’ll admit, my squares do not perfectly line up in some places (check out right of row 2 to right of row 3), but it’s ok. First quilt. The sole purpose is to keep my legs warm when hubs insists on keeping the fan on high in a room. My legs won’t care if squares don’t line up.

Last weekend was another “first”, which in no way was craft related. Remember my anniversary gift to the hubs? Well, he picked the paper that said “mow the lawn”. I’ve never mowed the lawn in my life, but I did it early last Saturday, which I’m sure was hilarious to my husband. (#33) There are no pictures of this “first”, because it would probably break computer screens and cause riots. A big girl fighting 100% humidity and temperatures in the 90s? Who wants to see that?

Have you had any “firsts” lately?

A bright weekend..

My husband and I have been cleaning maniacs for the past week and a half. We tackled clutter, dog hair, dust bunnies…you name it. It was really gross how much dust can accumulate in a month. Why the sudden urge? Well, we decided to host a party for our families on Saturday!

Besides cleaning, I had a little sewing to do as well, because I’m nuts like that.

I’m sure you remember when I purchased these pretty fabrics.
Fabric for Bunting

I was definitely going to make bunting with them because I have a sore spot for bunting lately. Plus, how easy are little triangles? I also was planning to make napkins, but realized that my guests probably wouldn’t care and Party City napkins would work just as well.

I was trying to think of other ways to incorporate the fabrics into the table decor. I originally thought a long table runner would be nice, but I quickly imagined our puppy pulling the runner to the ground and playing with it like a new toy. So, I shortened it, incorporating most of the fabrics in there, and it served as part of the centerpiece.

table decor

You can tell it’s not ironed…funny story. The centerpiece fabric  has fusible fleece on the inside, and not thinking, I placed the iron on the fusible fleece as I was assembling the top, fleece and bottom together. There is heck of a LOT of residue on that iron now from that mistake, and I can’t use it on fabric until I get it off. I hope this stuff does the trick.

Oh, and here is the bunting. This was after the guests left and my feet were basically jello from standing up for hours, prepping, cooking, etc. Right after this picture, I basically glued my head to the  pillow and I was out until hubs woke me up.
party decor

I will say the work was worth it, and the party was an awesome success! I’m still getting the hang of hosting large parties, and I was so glad that everyone loved the food! If you want to see food-wise how it went down, check out this post on the ol’ food blog!

How was your weekend?

Something Wonderful..

This turned out to be a wonderfully, positive weekend. I decided to just put the funk away, and instead of sulking around watching TV, it was time to embrace a positive attitude like a long, lost friend. I can’t tell you how great this weekend felt, and how optimistic I am about Monday bringing a better week than the last.

Saturday morning, I decided to just sit in my chair and sew. I opened the blinds, let the sweet sunlight in the room and just relaxed while the machine hummed. Great things were happening: I was sewing my first quilt.

Quilt Sewing

After some sewing therapy, I came to realize that all 6 of my quilt rows were done.

Happy note: I only ripped one square out, since it was upside down.

I can’t tell you how much more relaxing sewing is now that I’m starting to get the hang of it. Even though this quilt is just a lot of straight lines, I’m very proud to say I’ve improved since sewing project #1.

Quilt Progress

It’s so crazy to see that my first quilt top ever is almost done. This is just amazing to me.

I’m quite intimidated by these pajama pants. After reading the measurements, I’m going to have to add quite a few inches waist/hip wise to these pants, since our society is obsessed with vanity sizing. I’m normally a size 22, but McCall’s size 22 fits a department store size 16. Totally dumb, right? I bought some muslin to play with adding inches, because I don’t want to ruin my pretty fabric figuring this out. Maybe I can get these done by the end of the month? Hopefully, at least the muslin version.

PJ Pants Pattern

Since we are having company over this weekend, I decided it was best to make the craft room more inviting, and to fold my fabrics in a basket, rather than keep them scattered across the guest bed. Looking at all of these fabrics next to each other is just so deliciously colorful. I love it! I’m feeling less overwhelmed now that my craft/guest room is clean again. Maybe that made the sewing less stressful?

Fabric Basket

Sunday morning, this little girl kept my spirits high. How can you not be happy looking at this face? We did have a long day ahead of us, and her smile kept me going. I love this dog. :)

Millie 6/20/10

It was, of course, Father’s Day. My Dad is the guy who buys everything he wants/needs, but as a very money savvy guy, I bought him an Entertainment book and a GC to Wal-Mart. Don’t judge me here Wal-Mart haters. I know I could have bought him a Cabella’s card (he LOVES hunting) or something else, but this is a store I know he will actually spend money at without feeling forced. I remember our weekly Wal-Mart trips…beat the heck out of going to the Mall with Mom! (No offense Mom…you know I hated clothes shopping!)

Father's Day Gift

Here was the main part of my Sunday. My little sister, who is a senior in high school (feeling old right now), played Lady Thiang in “The King and I” for a local production. It was nothing short of spectacular. I wish I had a voice like her!

I ended up taking over 100 pictures of the production, because I found out the videographer that the production hired ended up quitting on them (terrible, right?). I know my sister loves memories of every show she is in, so with my new lens, I went wild on the pictures. Parents of cast members were even asking my Mom to ask me to get shots of their child, since the point & shoots apparently couldn’t get decent pictures without use of a flash. Before you call me rude, I tried to take pictures only during the lively parts, so no one would hear the shutter click. :) No judging allowed..now these kids have memories!

Oh, and a side note, her costume? My mom sewed them (she had two). She’s amazingly awesome with a needle.  

Lady Thiang

How did your weekend go?

Taggie Blanket

I was having dinner with my husband and his coworkers, when they mentioned a baby shower that was happening at the office. My husband admitted that he didn’t have a gift, and I thought that I could totally make a taggie blanket that is so popular in the sewing blog world.

Baby Taggie Blanket

I raided my local Michaels for fun ribbons a while ago, and also happened to have some soft minky fabric in my stash. For the stripey fabric, I purchased some receiving blankets from Babies R Us. I figured since we’re at the age where our friends are constantly having kids, making taggies with this fabric could be worth it. :)

I really like how this came out, and while I didn’t have the straightest lines sewing these fabrics together, I did learn that these fabrics with a stretch do take a little more effort to sew. Good lesson for when I finally make a T-shirt quilt. :)

Baby Taggie Blanket