Saturday, November 30, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had big plans this Thanksgiving weekend for lots of family time and lots of sewing. 

So far, I've put off most of the sewing to spend time with my wonderful family. 

We had my sisters, my mom, Brian's dad and step-mom, and Brian's brother over for dinner. 

I don't regret the lost sewing time for a second. 

We're kind of a silly bunch. 

I apparently missed the memo about looking nice for company. I also missed the purple vibe. Don't both my sisters look awesome?! I'm digging their color choices. I may have to mix some purple into my sewing in the near future. 

This was probably my favorite part of the weekend: 

Glad to see my old guitar loved and played regularly by my sister. Isn't she cute? Also - her voice is great and kinda folksy. I love it. 

Another favorite - hanging out watching movies and writing letters to my sister who couldn't be with us this year since she's away on her mission. 

My mom's dog - Zoey - is funny. She makes strange faces when you pet her. 

She also loves blankets. Which is funny to me, because Sadie is terrified of them. 

Everyone left today and now my house feels really empty and really quiet. 

I miss them already!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

A finish and a whole bunch of firsts...y'all!

So I took a little time away from the blog to get some sewing done. It started to feel like the blog, and my anxiety to show progress on the blog, kept me from really making any. 

A blissful sewing retreat. 

(Ah....I wish...)

And now I can excitedly share a finish! 

Sidenote - my sister is currently serving an LDS (Mormon) mission. She was just moved from Newport News, VA to Elizabeth City, NC. 

I pulled this off the Elizabeth City website. Pretty!

She said "y'all" in her last letter. I loved it. I think I'm going to pick it up...y'all. I fear, however, that since I have never really been to the south, I might misuse it...y'all...

I'll have to ask my co-worker Cindy for some pointers. 

Anyway, the Cameo quilt is done! 

It was a gift for my sister's birthday (a couple months ago...oops). She called me yesterday to let me know she had received it, so now I finally get to share!

It was my first time working with Amy Butler fabrics (not my last), my first raw-edge applique, and my first hand-stitched binding. Sore arms and fingers, but I can now say I have officially finished two whole quilts! 

My third quilt - Yellow Brick Road - is almost complete as well. Just a few more lines of quilting.

Hurray for progress! 

I also have a couple more projects waiting in the wings that I am SUPER excited about! 

The first is a little girl quilt for a friend and co-worker. It will technically be my first semi-commissioned quilt. Exciting! 

I am going to be making the Lighthouse pattern from the quilt along at Fresh Lemons Quilts. Remember my practice block from my last post? That's the block design. It will be my first project using foundation paper piecing. 

Here are the fabrics: 

Aren't they sweet? They are a mix of Cloud9, Juliana Horner, Denyse Schmidt, ModKid Studio, and a couple other basics mixed in. Also my first fabric selection chosen entirely by me, rather than using a kit or entire fabric collection. Sad but true, and also fun! The white-on-white chevron is probably my fav. :) 

I also bought the fabric for a project that will have to wait for a bit, but I'm super excited about it.

The solids are Kona Cotton in turquoise, royal, purple, and crocus. I'm hoping to start at the beginning of the year, but I really can't wait to get working on it!! 

This is a little bit bag-lady and a little bit crazy-town, but I thought it would make an interesting backing. 

Lastly, I thought I'd share some of the wonderful gifts the 80-mph windstorm brought us in the last couple of days - other than lost sleep, of course. I'm sure everyone living in Davis County, Utah has received similar gifts. 

Damaged fence:

Hi neighbor boys! Good thing it's under warranty. 

Tipped Port-A-Potty:

Glad no one was in it. Also glad dealing with this is not my job.

The front doorstep:

After removing the tumbleweeds, I discovered an extra gift. A lovely layer of trash underneath. 

We also lost the majority of the bark from the flower beds in the back yard. Although, from the looks of the lawn, we could probably retrieve most of it by raking. Ha. 

Sadie didn't seem to mind the storm too much. So that was good. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lighthouse Practice Block

Ever since Faith over at Fresh Lemons Quilts mentioned a new Quilt-A-Long (QAL) a few weeks ago, I was sold. 

Fresh Lemons Quilts Lighthouse Quilt Along

The pattern is fun, fresh, and super versatile. 

Lighthouse Quilt by Fresh Lemons Quilts : Faith

Look how cute it is as a rainbow baby quilt! 

As a beginning quilter, I think this quilt will be a great opportunity to learn foundation paper piecing. 

Last week Faith made a coloring template to play with block/color designs. 

I had fun trying different things. 

This week is about making a test block. 

I just used some scraps left over from my Cameo and Yellow Brick Road quilts. I am hoping to be able to post the finished product on both quilts later this week! I  bet you feel like my progress has been super slow...because I know I do...

Anyway - paper piecing is pretty easy! At least this pattern. Faith's directions are super clear. I had NO problems with the paper piecing part at all. 

Here's my finished block - along with all the fun fabric and paper trimmings. :) 

Ta Da!! What do you think? 

I'm glad I made a practice block. Things got a big wonky in the center. I think it's because of all the bulk from the seam allowances meeting up in the center. Faith didn't really provide any pressing directions for the seams, so I just pressed them all to one side. Next time, I think I'll press them open, so that things line up better and lay flatter. 

That's easily the most complicated (looking) block I've ever made. For sure the first time working with bias edges and such small pieces. The block is supposed to finish at 8.5 inches. I used a scant 1/4-inch seam for all seams, and my block finished just a hair over 8.5 inches - just enough to trim it down and make everything nice and square. 

Pretty good for a newbie, I think.  

Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced.

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Monday, November 4, 2013

Zombie Sewing and a Craftsy Class Review

Oh friends. 

I am SO tired right now. 

Remember last week when I mentioned working 8 days in a row? That totaled to 86 hours at work last Friday thru Friday. Ughh.

Which also got me behind for my quilting class. I stayed up until 5 am Sunday night finishing my borders and spray/pin basting to get ready for class Monday morning. 

Class went well, but now I feel like the walking dead. 

Man I love that show! 

Just finished watching Season 3 on Netflix last weekend. Did anyone else think "The Governor" was WAY creeper than the zombies by the end of the season? I know I did. 


On to happier, quiltier things...

Brian bought a new/used Nikon dSLR on Amazon just recently. So excited to be able to work on my photography skills and put my ancient point-and-shoot away. Expect the quality of my photos to get better. If I can pry the fancy camera from Brian's fingers for a few minutes, that is. 

I'm thinking I'd LOVE to take this Craftsy class sometime soon. Maybe if it goes on sale closer to the holidays.  

I've taken a few other Craftsy classes recently. Here are a couple of my faves: 

Craftsy Block of the Month with Amy Gibson  

It's a great class for beginners, with clear, simple instructions and TONS of skill-building blocks. P.S. It's FREE! 

I'm enrolled in the 2013 BOM class as well, but the instructor is harder to watch and I don't like the blocks as much. 

Pre-Cut Piecing Made Simple with Camille Roskelley

Another great beginner class, and a great deal if you can get it on sale. I just LOVE her patterns, and it's so nice to have a step-by-step through each quilt. 
Just a hint - I tried her cutting method. As a beginner, I thought it made sense and gave me more confidence with my rotary cutter. However, I recently discovered that using the mat to measure the way she does is more time-consuming, error-prone, and yields inaccurate results. I have made MANY fewer mistakes since using the ruler instead of the mat. 

I know, rookie mistake as a beginning quilter, but this is something I just changed in the last month. My cutting skills are getting better as time goes on.  

I bought Camille's second class as soon as it came out, because I loved the first so much. 

This class was good too. She squished more information into a shorter time with some advanced techniques. As a beginner, however, I would recommend her first class over her second. 

The fusible applique techniques and the piecing instructions for the Juggle quilt were particularly helpful for me. I've had the pattern and supplies for Juggle sitting on the shelf for a while, but I've been too chicken to try tackling those hexagons just yet. 

I have my eye on a couple of other classes down the road. Perhaps this one. Or this one

Like fabric collecting, I have been collecting and taking Craftsy classes without actually doing much with them. I've promised myself I have to actually make some of the projects before buying more classes. We'll see how that goes. 

*I have not received money or sponsorship for this post. These are personal opinions for things I have tried on my own. I added the links for the classes, in case anyone is interested in taking a look.*