Friday, November 30, 2012


I started bookmarking tutorials and inspiration pages at the beginning of this year with the goal of sewing up a pretty advent calendar to hang in my living room for the holidays. I also intended to sew up stockings and a tree skirt, but the advent calendar was a must-sew. As the months progressed, I looked at fabric and design options, always telling myself that I had plenty of time to sew up the calendar. April? Peh. Christmas in July? Everyone was doing that! September? Too busy. And now, today, on November 30th, I finally sat down and decided to sew up that calendar.

Of course, it would be the day my husband is sick. And my two babies are sick. And me? Well, I'm sick too. But I'm pushing through! I rooted through my fabric and found some scraps to match the remaining fabric from my AVMHSTBOF blocks. I sat in my sewing chair and pressed squares while the boys napped, taking breaks to cough and sneeze and sniffle.

I've sewn up all of the pockets, but they mostly need to be attached to the body of the calendar.


And here is the back, which used holiday and non-holiday fabrics alike. Will I finish the quilting and binding today? Probably not. And I don't even want to think about coming up with a bunch of original ideas for pocket contents. But I hope to have it finished by the end of the weekend, and to be honest, I don't think the two-and-a-half-year-old will care all that much if it's a few days late.

What are you up to this weekend? Are you scrambling with holiday plans like me?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

WIP: Zippy Edition

This week, I worked on conquering my insane fear of zippers, and I think I may have inched closer to neutral status. (I'm not sure I'll ever love zippers, but I'd like to not break into a cold sweat whenever I come near them.) Four zippy pouches. Woo! I did them assembly line style, and I used this tutorial, which was totally awesome.

I also finished the binding on a mini quilt I'm working on for a gift this holiday season. I threw it across the room a few weeks back because the inverted corners were driving me crazy, and my thread snapped, and I couldn't make them look pretty, and I decided I needed to step back and breathe before I destroyed all of the work I'd put into it. (I won't be working with inverted corners anytime again soon.) All I can say is, thank goodness it's finished, and I really like how it turned out, even if the corners and the back binding look like junk.

Just a peek!
As to works in progress, well, I decided to jumpstart December's HST BOM by making up my own so I could get to piecing the top. I've decided to give it away, and if possible, I'd like to be able to have it done as close to Christmas as possible. I'm planning to attach a very scrappy border, and I've already picked up backing and binding fabric. I probably won't get the quilting done before I move, so it will be yet another quilt top I'll be moving back. (That's three, friends. Three.)

I also pieced together my BOF blocks with a 1.5" finished sashing. I'm going to make a really long tablerunner! Woo!

And I am putting together a few blocks from the Super Mario QAL over at Cut to Pieces. I'm not planning to do the entire quilt--though I'd love to have one for myself--but I thought I'd take a couple of the blocks and make them into pillows for more gifts.

And that's what I've been up to this last week! What have you been doing? I'm linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, November 25, 2012

SS: Pillowcase fabric?

Not much to show this week. My LQS had a Thanksgiving sale, so I picked up a bit of fabric, with plans to use both for holiday gifts.

Marvel Avengers fabric, woo! Since I'm making something for practically everyone on my holiday list, I wanted to be sure I made something for my amazing husband, but what? I don't have the time or inspiration right now to make him a full quilt, but then the woman at the LQS suggested I make him a pillowcase. And I thought, since I'm about to subject him to sleeping under a Marie Antoinette quilt for the foreseeable future, I'd be a sweet wife and make him a manly Avengers pillowcase. No, they will not match. At all. And is it crazy that I really want one too?

And some FMF fizzy dot in pink, which I don't find nearly as fun, but will still work out nicely in a gift. It helps that it was marked down super cheap!

I'm linking up with Fiona at Finding Fifth's Sunday Stash.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

WIP: Super Edition.

...And we're back for another Wednesday peek at the never-ending stack of projects!

Better photo coming later--no good light now!
This week, I finished up three superhero capes for my niece and nephews. The original plan was to make one for my four-year-old nephew for the holidays, but the plan quickly morphed into making a cape for both nephews and my niece too because capes are awesome, and who doesn't need one? (Mine will be lined with hot pink faux fur, FYI.) I'll be making at least one more for my oldest kidlet. The capes are made from kona solids with the fabric for their initials coming from stash. I raw-edge appliqued the letters and top-stitched the diamond down, then top-stitched the entire cape. Isn't it amazing what a difference top-stitching does?

I did finish Scout's blanket, and he's currently tucked into my son's bed with it. (Yay for mommy points. Also, yay for learning FMQ!)

I also finished up Banzo's quilt top. Woo!

I knocked a few other things from my November list, but they're still very much in progress. I pieced all of the columns for my Marie quilt, but I still have the rows, and that's the more difficult task of the two. I started work on the binding of one of my mini quilts, but it made me angry, so I might have thrown it across the room.

It has been rainy and there has been no good light, so there are fewer photos than usual. I'm plugging away at my November list and 100 Day Hustle list, and I'm on track (I think) to get everything done on time. I'm linking up with Freshly Pieced, and now I'm off to hang out with my mom because she just got here. Up on the agenda is IKEA because she's never been, and I find that a tragedy. Have a lovely Wednesday!

 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Saturday, November 17, 2012

SS: Peeps!

I am fully aware that my youngest son is not yet 8 months old. He sleeps in a crib and has a perfectly lovely baby quilt that my friend K made for him. And yet, my mind is already dreaming of what kind of quilt I'm going to make for his big boy bed.

I'm not wild about a lot of "kid" fabrics, but I knew I wanted something fun and "kid-like" for Lito's quilt. My oldest, Banzo, has an amazing puzzle quilt--also courtesy of K--and years from now, I don't want Lito coming to me and asking me why he got the shaft with some lame-o quilt while his brother is rocking sheer awesome when he sleeps.

BAM! Enter 1001 Peeps by Lizzy House. Friends, I heart this fabric so very very much, and I bought four different prints in the blue colorway. Sure, I won't be cutting into this stack of awesome for a LONG time, but if I wait until then to purchase fabric, I probably won't be able to get any Peeps, and what if there are no other awesome fabric lines that come out before I need to make a quilt for Lito? Best to buy it now. (Especially when it's on sale!) I may have even started sketching out an idea for his quilt. Just maybe.

And while it's not exactly "stash" related, I did pick up another bit of fun. I know quilt bloggers are always talking about how lovely and helpful and awesome the quilt blogging community is, but seriously. It rocks. It's how I found out that my dear, dear Agatha can FMQ. I just assumed that since she doesn't even have a zigzag stitch, FMQ was a little out of her league, but no! That's not the case! So, I may have picked up this lovely foot, and I may have spent the last week practicing FMQ. (And it may have been awesome!)

So, if you are into FMQ, please share with me some of your resources/tips. (Pretty please? Cherry on top?) I just finished the Angela Walters book since I know she's pretty much the patron saint of FMQ, but I am wallowing in the sheer volume of information and designs available! Help!

Ah! I forgot to mention when I originally posted this that I'm linking up with Fiona's Sunday Stash, which took a vacation this week and is visiting Alyce in Japan! Fun, right?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Super Weekend.

Hi Friends! It's Friday (woo woo!)

I finished up my first superhero cape this afternoon. (I even topstitched around the edges because I like to believe my almost 2 year old nephew will notice the added touch of fabulous.) There are a bunch of tutorials for capes online, but to be honest, I didn't like any of them, so I had my sister measure my niece and nephews to see where their capes should fall, and I took that measurement and started cutting fabric. Aren't I ever so bold and reckless?

I tried to get some shots this afternoon, but the weather outside is gray and dark, and this is as good as it's going to get. Also, my oldest son, who has decided that he loves the cape, wouldn't stop moving, so all of the photos I did take are blurry. It's sad because you won't get to see the lovely stippling I did in the green diamond around the C, but be strong as I'm sure there will be more to come.

Three more capes to go! What are you planning to do with your weekend?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

WIP: Hello, Busy Workload Edition

It's Wednesday.


Oh boy.

The halfway mark of the 100 Day Hustle served to remind me that I have very very little time left to accomplish all I need to accomplish before year's end. Here we go!

I've pieced together the rows of Banzo's I-spy quilt. I toyed with the idea of making it "fun" and sashing it with rainbow sashing, but when it came down to it, I chain pieced those 5" charms, and it'll be a basic patchwork quilt. He'll enjoy snuggling under it, and I'll enjoy having it off my to-do list. (Doesn't that sound awful? Son, I love you!)

I finished my November block for the HST BOM, and after much deliberation, I've decided I'm going to sew up this quilt and give it to my younger sister and her husband. I had intended to keep it for me, and I do love it, but gray and yellow? Those are my sister's colors. I must have unconsciously picked them knowing it would be headed her way. Thankfully, I've already informed her that her holiday gift will be late, and since she's pretty sure I'm making her a quilt, she is content to wait. I wonder if she knows it will be this particular one?

I've started cutting fabric for some postage stamp pillow cushions. In what crazy mindframe did I think I could possibly manage this? But the plans are set, the fabric is purchased, and I'm committed.

I've picked up velcro, and now I need to stop procrastinating and make some superhero capes out of these puppies. Like, today.

Finally, I've pieced, basted, and finished most of the quilting for Scout's blanket. Scout is Banzo's toy dog, and Scout comes to bed with him every night and requires a share of the blankets, kisses from mama, etc. It's a little gross since my son went through a phase where he carried the thing by biting it across the snout, so Scout's face is dirty and smelly, but it's one of those mama things, right? Well, Scout needs his own blanket, and I'm taking the opportunity to practice some new quilting....

What have you been up to this week? I'm linking up to Freshly Pieced! :)

 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Friday, November 9, 2012 Day Hustle

It's the halfway point. Seriously. I feel like I made my list only a couple of weeks ago, and here we are with only 50 days left!

You can see my original list here, and below is my modified list. I've made a few changes, mostly because things were going in a different direction than I expected. I had planned to make totes for a few individuals, but now I'm leaning towards another form of holiday gift. Stuff like that.

First, the finishes!

  • Skirt for me
  • Quilt for 100 Quilts for Kids
  • Andrea Quilt
  • Drawstring Bags
  • Wonky Star Tablerunner
 Added Items:

  • HST quilt top (Finished! This is my contribution to the Tula Pink Sew Along.)
  • Holiday gifts (2 Ps, 3 Ms, 6 Zs, 2 Ts) 
Yet to Start: 
  • Four Capes for the Niece and Nephews and Banzo
  • Tags
In Progress:

  • Triangle Quilt--doubt this will get finished before end of year
  • Marie Quilt top--blocks are done, half of the columns are done
  • HST BOM and BOF blocks--need to polish off November's offerings
  • I-spy quilt for Banzo--started piecing
Oh, Friends. I have a lot to do. But before I do that, I am taking a day off (or two) from sewing. I've been sewing like a madwoman lately, and I'm a bit tired!

I'm linking up to the 100 Day Hustle Halfway Point! (Woo!)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Le Mille

When I found out there was going to be a Tula Pink Sew Along, I seriously geeked out. You loyal readers know of my serious Tula love, and you newcomers, well, I have serious Tula love. I had way too much on my plate, but I dropped everything to get to work on this because how often do Tula Pink Sew Alongs come along? 

I would have finished this bad boy yesterday night, but I ran out of thread. Seriously. And by the time my amazing husband got home, and I ran to the store, and I bought my thread and got back home, I was much too much too exhausted to do any more sewing.

But here it is! Le Mille! (Or rather, here is the finished quilt top. Quilting, backing, and binding to come!)

It measures 53" x 60", contains 186 HST units (on the front--the pieced back will have more), and it uses a small portion (I kid not) of the scraps from my Marie Quilt. We're talking Parisville galore with the snails print from Prince Charming and a couple of other filler prints. I used Bella Solids in Jade and Kona Snow for my solids.

I'm super excited about this one! Since my oldest son routinely steals my pinwheel attack quilt for snuggling on the couch, I realized there are not enough quilts in this house. My solution, obviously, is to make one for each family member.

While I was thread shopping, I picked up some hot pink thread to quilt this baby, and I'm excited to piece the back and get to quilting. Except, I may take a bit of a break from the HST love. I am so so so tired of pressing and trimming those little buggers, and I have quite a few left waiting patiently in a stack on my sewing table.

And because I can never seem to have enough Tula in my life, I also sewed up this skirt using fabric from Tula's The Birds and The Bees line. When I first saw those trees, I knew I needed a skirt using them, and after much debate on which colorway to use, I selected the white background. So. Awesome.

My Tula love is satiated...for now....

WIP: Much Too Busy Edition

Blocks for Hurricane Sandy Help
Finished Sewing Tool Organizer (with tutorial)
Quilt top for Scout (disappearing 9 patch with side borders)
Quilt top ("Le Mille") finished for Tula Pink Sew Along - more on that later
Tula Skirt finished - Used this tutorial
I-spy Quilt top started

Friends, it's been a busy week.

One more close up of the pretty quilt top?

Linking up to Freshly Pieced!

 WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sunday Stash: KONA.

I needed to pick up some bias tape a few days back, and I stumbled into my local Joann Fabrics.  (No, I'm not one of those awesome girls who makes their own bias tape. Friends, there are simply not enough minutes in the day for that sort of thing.) I was kidlet-less due to my amazing husband's serious love and understanding that I needed some alone time, and looking for the bias tape, I stumbled across the designer solids section.

There was a large 40% sign hung above the lovely bolts of goodness.

Since I already knew I would need several yards of solids to complete holiday gifts, I walked back to the front of the store, got a shopping cart, and loaded that puppy up with several bolts. There was a line at the cutting table, and I'm pretty sure everyone behind me hated me, but the girl cutting my fabric was lovely, and we had a nice chat about how cute dachshunds are as she cut into that Kona goodness.

From top to bottom, the colors I purchased are:
coal grey
corn yellow

Don't they look so friendly and cheerful? They're primarily for my kidlets and my niece and nephews, and when I finish strangling assembling my HST quilt, I hope to get started on their holiday gifts.

I'm linking up to Fiona at Finding Fifth's Sunday Stash. Hip Hip for fabric! 

Friday, November 2, 2012

sewing tool organizer tutorial.

I have two small kidlets, and while my youngest is just now starting to move around and get into things, my oldest is a serious artiste when it comes to obtaining items that I thought were out of his reach. I had taken to storing all of my quilting and sewing tools on a high shelf in our linen closet to prevent the little mister from playing with my measuring tape, etc. However, my quilting time usually comes in spurts, and I really hate pulling out and putting away my tools eight times a day. Enter: The Sewing Tool Organizer. Once my husband puts some nails in the wall for me, this baby will hang from the wall, and everything will be easy-access.

I customized this to fit my sewing tools, and I will provide the measurements I utilized, but it's easy to customize for your needs, and I strongly encourage you do. Also, in the grand tradition of Audrey tutorials, this how-to assumes you have a basic knowledge of sewing, quilting, and the jargon that comes with the turf. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them in the comments, and I'll do my best to answer or direct you to other resources.

Materials Needed: 
(1) 11" x 20" fabric, aka, Panel A*
(1) 5.5" x 24" fabric, aka Panel B**
(2) pieces of backing fabric, large enough to accommodate the above fabric panels
(2) pieces of batting, large enough to make a proper quilt sandwich with the above fabric
fabric for binding
14" of bias tape (or other hanging loop material)
coordinating thread
20" dowel rod (optional)

*Feel free to make your panels as scrappy (or as sparse) as you'd like. For my 11" x 20", I used one continuous piece of fabric. For the 5.5" x 24", I used scraps to border the top. 

**The 24" measurement in Panel B is entirely dependent on the number and depth of the pockets you'll be creating. I laid out all of my tools and took a guess that thankfully ended up being long enough, but if you're sewing a lot of deep pockets, tack on another few inches, just to be on the safe side.

Make a quilt sandwich Panel A, then quilt in whatever fashion pleases you, but may I recommend dense straight line quilting? It serves two purposes: one, it provides lots of structure to the organizer, and two, it makes lining up and sewing your pockets easier. I used my 1/4" presser foot and lined it up with the previous quilting line. From there, it was a lot of turning back and forth.

A LOT of turning. 


Then, make a quilt sandwich with Panel B. Quilt. Again, I straight line quilted this bit to make for easy pocket sizing. Trim the excess backing and batting from your quilt sandwiches.

Prepare 24" of binding and sew it to the top only of your 5.5" x 24" quilt sandwich.

Now, here's where it gets tricky. If you haven't already laid out your tools and decided where you'd like what, do it. Try to balance out the weight of your tools so that one side isn't bearing the brunt of everything.

Place the wrong side of Panel B on top of the right side of Panel A. Match up the bottom left corners of your two quilt sandwiches, and pin the edge.

Sew your two left edges together--1/4" from the edge. Don't worry about the exposed fabric--we'll be putting binding over the entire thing.

Place your first tool up against that freshly sewn line, and, using the quilting lines on both sandwiches as guides to a perfectly straight line, and keeping the tool (in this case, a pen) in place, pin on the right side to form a pocket.

Remove tool and sew the pocket in place. Before moving on to the next pocket, double-check that your first tool fits comfortably inside the pocket. Don't worry about the open bottom--we'll take care of that later.

Repeat with your other tools until you've finished making pockets. When all of your pockets are complete, trim off any extra fabric you might have from the 5.5" x 24" panel. In my case, I trimmed a little under an inch.

Now, it's time to bind and polish off this baby! First, sew down the bottom edge of your two quilt sandwiches. Because your pockets have some depth to them, there will be some bunching of fabric, and try to spread that out evenly along each pocket to keep them neat.

Prepare enough binding to wrap around the larger rectangle, and attach. I usually handstitch my binding to the back of my quilted item, but in this case, I knew I was looking at several layers of fabric and two layers of batting, so I machine stitched my binding to the back, wrapped it around to the front, and machine-stitched it in place there too. I have been told that the more you practice with this, the neater it will look.

For my loops, I first top-stitched my bias tape, then cut it into (4) 3.5" strips. I folded each in half and secured them equidistantly across the top edge. Insert the dowel rod into your loops and hang, then marvel at your genius ability to outsmart curious toddlers!

As I mentioned before, post any questions in the comments section, and I'll do what I can to answer them. (And pretty pretty please let me know if you wind up making one of these for yourself!)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

November Goals.

Hi! If you're new to my humble abode, please feel free to learn some more about me or check out some of my finished quilts

It's November. Meaning I have less than two months to make good on my goal to handmake nearly all of our holiday gifts. Yikes!

Here are some of my favorite October finishes: 

  • Tote--have pattern picked out; fabric arrived
  • Finish wonky star table runner--need to finish binding
  • 100 Quilts for Kids quilt--need to finish binding
  • Finish Marie blocks--14 of 20 done
  • Andrea Mini--need to finish handquilting and binding
  • October block for HST BOM
  • Blocks for A Very Merry HST BOF
  • Triangle mini quilt--need to finish cutting fabric
  • Drawstring bags
  • Start work on holiday and birthday gifts
At this point, I'd be surprised if the triangle quilt gets finished before we move in January, so I'm taking it off the list for now. All of the difficult work of the piecing is done, but I am still wrestling with some design elements, and I don't want to rush it. I decided not to sew up a tote due to time constraints, but also because I was gifted a really fierce bag for my birthday, and I no longer need the handbag variety. (For now.)


  • HST quilt-finish piecing top
  • Marie quilt-finish piecing columns
  • Banzo and Lito's quilt-finish piecing top
  • cut fabric for holiday gifts
  • kidlet capes
  • finish skirt
  • BOM and BOF blocks
  • piece BOF top
  • Scout's blanket
I've started working on December's list, and Friends, it's a doozy! I'm linking up with Lily's Quilts and the Small Blog Meet!

Lily's Quilts


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