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January 31, 2011

Ugh.

I'm about to get all Medieval on the sewing repair guy. I'd had a bad experience with them before, but decided to give them another shot after hearing from other people that they'd had good experiences there. But after 3 days of hearing, "It'll be ready tomorrow. I'll call you back.", I'm about to resort to fisticuffs.

So needless to say, I'm still doing nothing but handwork. I finished the hexie center of my 3rd bee block for the Quilting Divas, and have moved onto number four. All I need to do is sew the rows together and I'll be finished with that center as well.


Bee block for meg_kay77


Bee block for Samilou

January 28, 2011

Scottie Watch


1.  Love cute paper templates? This website has some adorable ones that range all the way from owls to little girls to slices of birthday cake. I think my favorite is the little mice with the block of cheese. You can also join a free paper calendar of the month club here. As soon as I saw January's adorable Yeti, I immediately printed the template and made it for my cubicle. He sits happily below my monitor :)



2.  One of my favorite websites, How About Orange, has some of the best tutorials on the internet. Check out her origami fabric box tute! She even has another tutorial showing you how to make the fabric flower that's on top of the box. And to top it all off, she has a second fabric flower tutorial that I think would be adorable made out of the Modern Meadow Flower Fields print!


 3. You've probably already heard about this if you frequent the Flickr boards, but Aunt Bea's Fabric is closing :(  They've marked all their fabric 30% off.


4. Jeni over at In Color Order is doing a great series called the Art of Choosing. She's covering the best ways to fold and store fabric (complete with video clips), as well as lessons on how to identify and create different color palettes.



5. If you love to cook or bake, you seriously need to check out The Spice House. I've talked about them on here before, but their Chicago store was a few blocks from our apartment and I walked down there at least once a week. I can't say enough good things about them. It's a family run business, the employees are super nice, and their prices are incredibly reasonable because they cut out the middle man by importing their spices directly from the growers. They buy and sell with a lot of integrity, so you can also feel good about buying from them! 


Their meat rubs are fantastic and they have an equally amazing selection of baking spices. After years of paying $12 for one shriveled McCormick vanilla bean in a jar, I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I saw you could buy 3 quality vanilla beans for a mere $6. They also make their own vanilla extract, which is equally delicious. I'm kind of a snob when it comes to vanilla extract, and theirs is awesome. I buy two 16 oz. jars at a time. When ordering, I recommend two things. 1) Forgo the glass jars and buy the spices loose in resealable bags because you get a lot more for your money. Also, shipping runs a little high (usually $8-$12), so I'd recommend placing one large order instead of a few small ones.

I swear they didn't pay me to write a small novel about the awesomeness of their products! It's just that when I find a good thing, I like to share it! If you see any spices you'd like to order but are unsure about, shoot me an email and I can give you my thoughts. I've tried a large number of their individual spices and blends, and I'll give you an honest opinion :) Some of my favorites are the Tomato Powder, Lake Shore Drive Seasoning, Tuscan Dipping Seasoning, Pumpkin Pie Spice, Apple Pie Spice, Ceylon Cinnamon, Green Cardamom Pods, and the Taylor Street Cheese Sprinkle (mmm...so delicious on buttered garlic bread!)

Have fun exploring!

January 26, 2011

Aren't we completely insane?


...for being so obsessed with a designer that we buy her pajamas just so we can cut them into pieces? Before I swore off fabric purchases last week, I'd already ordered a few small things, so the packages have been slowly trickling in the past few days. One of them was a Heather Ross scrap pack! Wahoo! I've been wanting to make a quilt out of Heather Ross scraps for several years now, but when I saw my friend's finished Munki Munki quilt top the other day, it lit a fire under my butt. There are a few prints in particular I've been wanting, so when Fresh Lemons Quilts listed a de-stash pack of my favorite HR prints in her Etsy shop, I jumped on it! I'm pretty sure it was a sign from the heavens that I needed to have them ;)

I even got a piece of my favorite print ever - the wedding day pj's!!! How precious are those little bridesmaids??...and the bride dreaming about cake?! I've wanted some of this print ever since I saw the bee blocks Tong made a few months ago.


And then I ran across a reasonably priced FQ of the Flea Market Fancy Seeds in Gold...and you just can't pass those up! Below are some pics of the humble FMF stash I've been building the past year or two. It's been a very slow process because I have a set limit on how much I'll pay for yardage. I refuse to pay the outrageous prices some people charge, because all I can think of is how much new fabric I could get for the same price.


My entire stash, including a few small pieces I've collected here and there.


I have 2 yards each of the brown tiles and pink vines, a half yard of the pink seeds, plus fat quarters of the pink dots, green posies, gold seeds and green seeds. I actually have a sad story about the green seeds. Back in 2008 when I was a wee quilting babe, I came across an obscure shop that still had yardage of the green seeds. I'd seen the print before and thought it was cute, so I decided to order some. Not knowing what I'd found (nor how hard it was to find), I only bought a yard. I wanted two, but talked myself out of it because I figured I could always buy more later (HA!). Then, as if that's not bad enough, I used most of that precious yard of green seeds to line a purse for my sister. A lining!!! Condemned to a life of darkness, candy wrappers, makeup stains, and tiny bits of dirt! I didn't really want to do it, but I told myself, "Kaelin, you need to use the fabric you already have instead of buying more, so use the seeds!" *heavy sigh* I regret that decision daily, because now I only have a little more than a FQ left. Boo.

So that's my sob story for the day.

But since I can't end on a sad note, I have a little more fabric to cheer everyone up after my pity party, hehe! I absolutely love Ann Kelle's prints, especially the daisies from Remix, so my final fabric nail-in-the-coffin package included some of her daisy prints! I bought the yellow and orange ones because I need to beef up my stash of warm colors. I just love those little orange flowers. So precious!


And last but not least, here's a little sneak peek of the next block I'm working on for the Quilting Divas Mini Bee. Megan asked for yellow, gray and white in her block. I'm really lovin' these colors together...they make me long for Springtime :(

January 25, 2011

Quilting Divas - Hexie Block #2


Here's the finished hand-sewn portion of my 2nd block for the Quilting Divas Mini Bee. I still have to cut the edges and frame it with some sashing. Thank goodness I picked blocks that require hand work, or else I'd slip slowly into madness while waiting for my machine. The shop called late yesterday and said they're backlogged, so it will be 4-5 business days before they finish the repairs on my machine. Boo.  Hiss.



January 24, 2011

Man Down

My machine crapped out on me Saturday morning, so I just finished taking it to the repair shop. I know I have an addiction to sewing, because I was more than a little stir crazy this weekend without it. To ease my anxiety, my husband bought the 1st season of Modern Family and in 1.5 days we watched from the pilot episode, all the way up to the one that aired last week (we streamed the 2nd season from Hulu Plus). Why did we take so long to get into this show? I've probably had 20 different people tell me I need to watch it over the period of a year, but still dragged my feet for some odd reason.


I think my favorite episode is "Fizbo". I laughed so loud at the scene at the gas station that I woke Ray while he was napping next to me. I love Cam so much. I wish he were a real person so I could be his best friend.

So yeah...this will be a fairly quiet blog week for me, but I'll try and give you updates on my slow 'n' steady hand work as it progresses.

January 22, 2011

Introducing "Scottie Watch"!

I've been wanting to start a lil somethin' called "Scottie Watch" for a while now. The name popped into my head because of this scene from the movie Anchorman. I love Paul Rudd. He's so under-rated. I crack up every time I see him jerk his head up and say "Panda Watch" so seriously. My other favorite scene from that movie also features him....but I'm getting off track....(which I so easily do)

Anywho, I've been hoping to put together a recurring "Scottie Watch" bit for months now, but wanted to make a logo first. Since I didn't get PSE9 until Christmas and have been running around like a chicken with it's head cut off for the past few weeks....(and because my husband is currently playing his XBox and not actively fighting me for the laptop)....this morning was the first opportunity I had! I wanted to get this up and running yesterday since it's going to be a recurring Friday post, but some family came into town last night and we wanted to go visit them :)


Basically I want this to be a kind of catch-all post that highlights everything from cool internet finds to free patterns/tutorials to sweet sales to tips & tricks. I wanna use it to help out my fellow quilting peeps, especially since most of us have only recently gotten into quilting and have barely scratched the surface of the wealth of knowledge available. I'm still learning new things every day...and also, one of my bizarre talents is finding internet deals. You have no idea how many times I stumble across things and think to myself "Eureka! This seller has no idea they're sittin' on a gold mine!"...and if I don't decide to buy it myself either because a) I already have the item, b) there's more than one available, or c) my husband has met his quilting tolerance limit for the week and will maul me like a bear if I buy more quilting supplies...I want to pass it along to you guys! I can't not tell people about sweet internet finds, and since most of the people I usually forward these things along to are on fabric diets (*cough* Angela), I wanna share the love with you all :)

So today, here are a smattering of fun things for you!

1. Mary Ellen's Best Press is my favorite quilting "accessory". It's amazing. It's like holy quilting water in a spray bottle. If you hate ironing like me, you'll love this too. You have no idea how much quicker and easier it makes ironing, because my fabric is ridiculously smooth after a few quick passes with my iron. I've found it in Hobby Lobby, Hancock's, or online at Fabric.com. I'd recommend scrounging up a coupon from one of those stores before you buy it though, because it's a tad expensive and ranges from $6.99-$9.99 bottle.


2. If you're a fan of Heather Bailey or Anna Maria Horner, this website has a borderline obscene amount of Chocolate Lollipop, Garden Party, Bijoux, Pop Garden, Fresh Cut, and Nicey Jane still available.

3. And this site has several Katie Jump Rope prints on sale for $4.99/yard. It's misspelled "Katy Jump Rope" so I think that's why they've lasted so long!

4. One of my favorite sellers on eBay is Creative Merchandise Auctions because they have about 500+ Free Spirit prints for usually $5-6/yard. They have Katie Jump Rope, Good Folks, Garden Party, Park Slope, Monaco, plus a couple old Home Dec lines by Amy Butler, Joel Dewberry, AMH and Denyse Schmidt.

5. There's a free online graph paper website I use for paper piecing & pattern making. You click on the type of shape you want (squares, triangles, hexagons, etc), the size of the shapes, and even the color of the lines, and then it will generate a pdf for you. This is how I make all my hexagons for different quilting projects.

Have fun exploring!!!

January 20, 2011

Bits 'n' Pieces

This is a new block I'm working on for Mary (mamamary2) in the Quilting Divas Mini Bee. It was inspired by, and will slightly resemble, this block when I'm finished.



And because hand-sewing one block at a time isn't enough, I've already started the second one for Kendra (mccuisti).


Why all the hand-sewing? I don't know if I've talked about my quilting origins on here before, so bear with me if you've heard this spiel before. My mother-in-law is the singularly most awesome MIL in the world. She is the most kind, loving, and patient person I've ever met, and meeting her was as much as blessing as it was meeting my husband. She has helped me grow by leaps and bounds as a person and as a Christian in the 8 years that I've known her.

My husband and I got married in the month of June, and that first year we were married, I decided I wanted to do something special for his mom for Christmas. Well, I knew she loved quilts...has always loved quilts...and kind of became an official collector when they lived in Ft. Worth, Texas. She went to dozens of quilt shows and bought several antique quilts while they lived there, and the most gorgeous one of all (which she later gave me!) was purchased on a short vacation to Marfa.

So great. I knew she loved quilts...but being newlywed seminary students, we couldn't exactly afford to buy her a special, antique quilt. My next idea was to make her one myself, but that idea also had some holes in it: 1) we couldn't afford a sewing machine, and 2) I didn't know how to sew. At all. But since I'm not one to be easily defeated, I decided to do a bit of internet research and teach myself how to hand-sew using internet tutorials and Youtube. And there you have it. I found a cheap fat quarter bundle of Anna Griffin's Elsie's Kitchen on eBay, bought the Turning 20 pattern recommended in the auction, and saved up enough 40% off coupons from Joann's to buy a single rotary cutter, a pack of needles, a Donna Dewberry 3.5"x18" ruler (which I still use religiously), a water-soluble pen to mark my seams, a couple spools of hand-sewing thread, and a small 18x12 Olfa mat.

Looking back, I still can't believe I did it, but what can I say? I was fearless back then.  And because I had no idea about quilt dimensions (and was terrified of making one that was too small to take naps under), I ended up making something that was much larger than it needed to be. It was a Twin quilt that took me 5 months of tireless sewing to finish. I would never do it again because my sewing machine has made me too impatient for that (haha!), but I'm extremely proud of it...and sometimes get a little nostalgic for my days of hand-sewing...hence the hexies. So that was the really, really long version of why I'm making hexies. The short version is that my husband and I need to save money because we're about to buy a house, and staying in my office at lunch keeps me from driving to Target and spending money on things like this and this.

And speaking of saving money...what I'm about to show you will be my last fabric purchase for a while :(  I'm putting myself on Angela's Fabric Diet from now on. I have to keep reminding myself that a new house is more exciting than new fabric...it's the only thing that works!


These were all purchased at my local quilt shop, and unfortunately, I can't actually remember the fabric names....sorry! I'll have to check the selvages later and post the info for you guys.  The owl fabrics are from the "Kiss Me" line (Kaufman), the Hershey Kisses fabrics are from the "Dessert Divas" line (Kaufman), and the three larger cuts on the right are from "Love Nest" by Carina Gardner.











Also, I was looking at my stash the other day and realized I only had yardage of one gray print. Naturally, that had to be remedied over at Fabricworm :)

January 18, 2011

Progress

We were househunting this weekend, so I only had a little bit of time to work on my Rain or Shine quilt. Basically my blocks went from this to this: 







January 17, 2011

Liebster Award!

My sweet friend Angela over at Cut to Pieces listed me as one of her recipients of the Liebster Award! (Lieben means "love" in German) I hadn't heard of it before now, but that doesn't diminish my excitement at all! :) Basically, it's an award for all of us "little" bloggers with 300 followers or less (she cheated a little bit since I have 308 followers now, but I only recently hit that mark so I think we can get away with it ::wink::)

The idea is that in order to accept the award, you have to pass it on to three fellow bloggers. I know exactly who to give it to, because I have absolutely no idea why these ladies don't have more followers since they make fabulous things! So here goes....

1.  In Color Order. Not only does Jeni have a mascot like me (a precious black bunny named George), but she takes absolutely beautiful photographs and makes precious things like this mug rug


and posts lots and lots of eye candy of her to-die-for vintage Pyrex collection


2. Next up is Say Yes Juliet. Now I know you're gonna think I'm biased because she has a precious pet Scottie like me, but that has nothing to do with it! Nothing I tell you! Well, maybe a little because we bonded online over our mutual love of Scotties/Scottie paraphernalia, but she's super talented and makes adorable things, so the award is very much deserved!

Don't believe me? Then check out the gorgeous HST Parisville quilt she's working on...


...or the 3x6 bee blocks she made last quarter! (the one she made me is bottom row, center)



3. My third and final choice is Tong over at Ting Tong and Things. She's a sweetheart (and newly engaged!), and makes some of my favorite things in all of Flickrdom. I always love seeing a new post of hers pop up in Google Reader because I know I'm gonna get some serious eye candy like....

This wee lil fabric needle book!



This simply mahhhhhvelous string quilt she made for her mama.


These precious Heather Ross bee blocks!



Or tasty baked goods from the one of many culinary classes she takes for fun!


So I hope you all make an internet road-trip over to these new blogs (and maybe decide you wanna start following them!). These are some seriously talented ladies that deserve more foot traffic...so go! Scurry scurry scurry to their websites as fast as your little finger can click!

January 14, 2011

Rain or Shine Progress...and the WINNERS!

So I know what everyone's really itching to find out...and that's who won the giveaways! And because my flu symptoms have eased up and I'm no longer Crabby Appleton, I'm feeling nice today and I'll make this brief :)

Since my previous post about the Rain or Shine quilt, the fabrics have gone from this:


To this!


Elizabeth Hartman's original pattern only calls for 4 different fabric bundles/blocks, but I wanted this quilt to be a little bigger so I went with 5 (also....I was indecisive when picking out fabric...so my inability to narrow down the choices contributed to the extra block ::wink::)

I made one block from each stack of fabric because I was itching to see what my finished products would look like :)

Block 1


Block 2


Block 3


Block 4


Block 5

Adding the solids into each bundle was kind of a gamble, but I really like how it turned out. You may think it looks like crap in a handbasket, but I'm lovin' it! I think my print & color choices are so 'in your face' that the blocks would be total chaos without the solids mixed in...but that's just me :)

And now what you've all been waiting for...THE WINNERS!!!


Item #1: Henna Garden Bundle...


Comment #73 from Belle + Bee:

"Congrats on 10,000!"



Item #2: It's a Hoot & Kona Classic Charm Packs...


Comment #158 from What Comes Next?:

"10,000 views - that's a milestone that'll be a while off for me! Congratulations!"



Item #3: Three 1/2 yard cuts of Ruby Star Rising prints...



Comment #34 from Leila:

"Oh swoon!!! I've been so anxious to get my hands on some Ruby Star Rising! This is one generous giveaway you have going here!"



Item #4: Last Minute Patchwork & Quilted Gifts


Comment #504 from Debbie:

"The very first home that my parents bought didn't have a drain in the kitchen sink. They didn't know that when they bought it (just a bucket under the sink), so since then my grandmother's wisdom to buying a house is to look under the sinks!"


MYSTERY GIVEAWAY WINNER...

I decided that I would do a surprise giveaway this time around! The criteria was that the first person to mention my dog by name in a comment would receive a fabric necklace like the one I made my sister, except made using the colors of their choice!


And the winner was....Bry! She left the comment:

"You are giving away some amazing things! And Whiskers looks too cute snuggling in the blanket!"



** The winners will be contacted shortly. If I don't hear back from them by next Friday, Jan. 21st, I will redraw new winners. **

So there you have it! I want to thank you all so much...you wouldn't believe all the helpful tips Ray and I got from your comments! I honestly got out a notepad and started writing them all down. It's funny how most of them were pure common sense when I read them...things that when you read them you say in your head "why wouldn't you do that?"...but I know if left to my own devices, I probably wouldn't have thought of them on my own. Seriously! Because honestly, I have a million different home-buying related things to think about right now....and most of them aren't practical...they're things like "where am I going to put such-and-such in my mythical home?" and "what color do I want to paint my future sewing room?"

So thank you readers. Thank you for bringing me back down from the clouds to think about practical things....like interest rates and home inspectors and missing plumbing...hehe :)

And thanks to all of you who pointed me toward Pioneer Woman. She's pretty much the bomb. And although I'm by no means a PSE expert now, I'm no longer afraid to open the program for fear I'll make my computer explode.




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