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May 31, 2011

Giveaway Winners

I have to scurry off to Gulfport to meet up with some family and explore a new quilt shop, so I'll make this short and sweet. For those of you that actually enjoy my mindless ramblings, I promise I'll be back to writing my usual long-winded posts soon, hehe :)

As chosen by Mr. Random Number Generator...

Blog Giveaway - DS Quilts


The winner of the DS Quilts bundle is...MANDI (aka mab) with Comment #326!

"You know I follow you, too!

So, back in college, my bro used to take a test and then write "+10 points for attending every class," "+5 points for writing neatly," or even "+15 points for spelling my name correctly." Once it worked. That created a monster. He kept doing it.

Sooooo..... Plus 15 entries for following you to a stalkerish level!

(Does it work....?)"

Looks like it did work Mandi, lol!


Blog Giveaway - Sherbet Pips FQ's


The winner of the Sherbet Pips bundle is...Diane N with Comment #130:

"I love the DS fabric!"



Blog Giveaway - Box Pouch





The winner of the pencil case is...Melissa @ Happy Quilting with Comment #268:

"I follow your blog and I just love it!!!"

Thank you all for commenting and blogging about my giveaway! Congrats to the winners, and for those of you that didn't win this time, don't worry because we all know I love a good giveaway and there will be plenty more *wink*

I might even have a trick or two up my sleeve when I start the Double Wedding Ring Quilt Along next month...*wink wink*

May 30, 2011

Sneaky Peek

I'm off work today and tomorrow, so I thought I'd take some pictures of my finished sewing room while the glorious morning sunlight was streaming through the windows :)

View from the doorway

My New Sewing Lair


My New Sewing Lair


My New Sewing Lair


My New Sewing Lair


All my fabric storage is along the left-side wall if you're standing in the doorway. These are Itso storage cubes I bought at Target. I like this storage solution best because I can add more cubes as I need them. The bins at the top hold my scraps (sorted by color), and the white drawers contain my patterns)

My New Sewing Lair


My favorite cubby - Japanese fabric + AMH Little Folks Voiles (I have at least 1 yard cuts of all the prints...I'm such a hoarder!)

Favorite fabric cubby


Here's where I store all my Holiday/Seasonal fabric + Home Decor fabric. I really need to get more cubes so I can get rid of these junky plastic drawers.

My New Sewing Lair


Bookshelf & Bolts 
(the plastic bins on the left hold all my fat quarters...the big cubes you saw earlier hold only 1/2 yard or larger cuts of fabric)

My New Sewing Lair


DQS10 quilt from emedoodle :)

My New Sewing Lair


Check out these awesome covers I found stuffed in a storage box. I bought this light switch plate and 4 matching electrical outlet covers on clearance at Anthro a few years back. After I finished painting the sewing room, I randomly thought "didn't I buy some covers that would match this room perfectly back when we lived in Chicago?" I did. Score!

My New Sewing Lair


This is Whiskers giving me what I call the "sass face" because he felt I was spending too much time taking photos, and not enough time scratching his tummy. Look how he's eyeballing me! I always sternly tell him "don't you dare look at me in that tone of voice!" whenever he gives me this look (that was a line my mom used on us as teenagers, lol!)

My New Sewing Lair


In case anyone is wondering, the wall color is Metro Gray from Benjamin Moore, and the curtains are from Patty Young's new Sanctuary line. The print is Seaweed Wrap in Seafoam.

That's all for now folks! I have to run because I desperately need to finish my bag for the Goodie Bag Swap...the mailing deadline is Friday and I have to put together a messenger bag by then :)

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May 27, 2011

FQS Bella Solids Parade

Shruti over at 13 Woodhouse Road paired up with the Fat Quarter Shop this month to showcase Free Spirit's line of Bella Solids. To help inspire other quilters with color selections, she asked for volunteers to put together "virtual bundles" of coordinating solids and prints. Each day she's featuring a different solid & matching bundle, and today was my day!

I was given Bella's Kelly Green...



...and had to coordinate it with 3 other Bella solids and 3 prints of my choice. I chose Golden Wheat, Horizon Blue, and Teal as my solids...


...and Alexander Henry Heath in Red, Echino Bird Song in Turquoise, and Outside Oslo Picket in Dawn as my prints.


And here's a mosaic of them all single and ready to mingle...


I love Jessica Jones' home decor lines...she's so underrated. I stumbled across her blog when I lived in Chicago...wish I'd still lived there when she started putting together the Craft Socials :(  Anywho, you should check out her new fabric line Outside Oslo because it's pretty awesome.


P.S. Did you spot that cute new logo in the mosaic? Sheila over at Thought & Found was kind enough to design a logo (and some moving announcements) for me. She's so talented...check out the wedding invites she designed for her brother! Not gonna lie, I'm a tiny bit jealous of her mad graphic design skills.

May 24, 2011

A "thanks for being awesome" giveaway.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED & THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN CHOSEN

We've been in our new house for almost a month, and I'm just now starting to feel like my head is screwed on straight again. I'm really looking forward to my 4-day Memorial weekend coming up, because I'll be able to finish unpacking and catch up on a few sewing projects. My sewing room is finally complete (I put up the curtains for the 2nd window today after work!), and I moved my iPod dock from my work cubicle to my sewing table, so I'm really looking forward to spending some quality time in my sunny new room :)

I'll be the first to admit I've been more than a little sporadic with my posts lately, and I hate that I haven't done Scottie Watch in longer-than-I-care-to-remember. I do have something special planned for the next one, I just need to find an hour or two to finish writing it :)

So as an I'm Sorry/Thanks For Being Patient present, let's have ourselves a little Giveaway fun, shall we?

First up to bat is...a DS Quilts bundle! These are my two favorite prints from the line. Each print is 1 yard in length (so 2 yards total).

Blog Giveaway - DS Quilts


Second up is...a Sherbet Pips FQ bundle! These are my four favorite prints from the line, and my local quilt shop conveniently had them in stock (plus a few more) - yay!

Blog Giveaway - Sherbet Pips FQ's


And lastly...my Bright Hopes Pencil Case! This was actually the sample photographed for my pattern in the 101 Patchwork Projects publication. It's flown to Massachusetts and back, but never been used. I'm hoping it will find a loving home with one of you, dear readers :)

Blog Giveaway - Box Pouch

I'm tired, plus I really want to play some Lego Pirates of the Caribbean on the ol' XBox with my hubby before bed, so I'm not going to get creative with my entry rules this time, lol! Instead we'll take the quick and dirty route:
  1. Leave a comment.
  2. Become a follower and leave a 2nd comment telling me you've joined my cult group of lovely readers. If you're already a follower (I heart you very much!), please leave a comment saying so.
  3. Blog about this giveaway and leave a 3rd comment saying so...links are always appreciated because I love exploring ya'lls blogs :)

International players are welcome, as always! The giveaway will end next Monday, May 30th at Midnight. The winner will be drawn and announced sometime Tuesday morning (aka whenever I roll out of bed).

GOOD NIGHT & GOOD LUCK :)

May 23, 2011

A Human Moment

Can I have a human moment and admit that I constantly overcommit myself? And that I'm more than a little bit terrible, because I was 4 months late giving my brother-in-law's girlfriend her birthday present? Yeah. I know. Four months is pretty bad...*sheepish grin*

I've known what I wanted to make her since her birthday in January, I just haven't had time to plop my keister down and do it. So, to make it up to her, I thought it only fitting her pillow should be the first thing I made in my new sewing room. She knows how much I sew, and I thought that declaration might earn me an extra brownie point or two, lol!

My Rain or Shine quilt is her designated "movie quilt" whenever she comes over, because she's a LSU alum and die-hard fan, and half of the things she owns are purple and yellow/gold. So of course, she needed something similar to take home with her :)

Rain or Shine Pillow

Rain or Shine Pillow

Rain or Shine Pillow

Rain or Shine Pillow

I used the fabrics from my favorite block in the quilt, and it's backed with the best polka dot print ever created - Echino in Grape.

P.S. Wanna hear about another human moment of mine? I sliced clean through my iPod headphones with a rotary cutter while I was working on this yesterday. I knew that dangling cord wasn't a good idea...

May 19, 2011

Monster Destash!


 My fabric stash has gotten a little outta control, plus I'm trying to be a responsible homeowner (*wink*), so I went through and cleaned out a bunch of fabric I've been hoarding! I just listed a ton of fabric in my SHOP, and hopefully I'll have time to post the rest early tomorrow evening.

I also lowered the prices on the Katie Jump Rope and various other prints I already had in my shop. I just wanna unload this stuff because it's taking up way too much room!

And here's another bonus...since you guys are such awesome readers and leave me sweet comments every day, I created a coupon code just for you! Use PLAIDSCOTTIE10 for an additional 10% off in my shop :)

MQG Project #2

Pretty {little} Pouch Swap

The first project I finished at the retreat was my pouch for the Pretty {little} Pouch swap because...*drumroll*...Kelly was my partner! How fun is it that I actually got to give a swap partner their stuff in person?!!! I wanted to finish it early so she could use it while we shopped :)

Pretty {little} Pouch Swap

The instructions were easy and the fabric templates lined up perfectly with the frame, but if I had to do it over, I wouldn't sew the raw edges of the lining and exterior together. I didn't read through the instructions beforehand like I usually do, so it was too late in the process when I realized the raw edges would be exposed at the corners. I ended up having to tuck the fabric under and hand-sew the pieces. Next time, I'll put the right sides together, sew (and leave an opening at the top), then flip right-side out as usual. I think the bulkiness of the seam would also help the fabric stay put in the frame before I clamp it down.

The frame was purchased here, the exterior here, and the lining here. I also found some super cute frames here in case you're looking for more budget-friendly ones :)

May 18, 2011

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Finished Rain or Shine Quilt!

Remember when Amy's Creative Side had a Quilt Festival this past Fall to coincide with Market? Well they're doing it again for Spring Market! This time I've chosen my most recent quilt, the one I made using Elizabeth Hartman's Rain or Shine pattern.

I chose this quilt because it's a bit of a milestone for me - it's the first quilt I've ever made specifically for myself. Heck, it's one of the only things I've ever sewn for myself. Quilts, bags, purses...practically everything I make is given away to other people. Angela and I were talking about this problem the other day. We quilters make all of our quilts for other people...which means we end up giving them all away...which means we rarely have a record of our work except for the photos we take. How sad is that? People come over all the time and ask to see my quilts since they know I'm passionate about it, but I never have anything to show them! Sorry folks, there aren't many quilts for you to snuggle under at my house - instead you'll have to make do with me forcing you to look at my Flickr photostream for hours on end, lol!

So you see, making this quilt was a big deal for me. For once, I put my foot down and devoted some of my creative energy to myself...yes, I actually quit putting one million other projects ahead of my own (which was a big deal for me...it took a lot of willpower...trust me...because I loooove making presents for people!). Don't get me wrong...I love making quilts for other people and think it's an incredibly special way to celebrate their milestones in life :) If I didn't love it, I wouldn't do it. All I'm sayin' is that it's important to take a breather every now and then and make something for the sake of being creative, rather than for the sake of a deadline! I have to confess, it was really nice having the freedom to do whatever I wanted for a change. What's that you say? The seam is off a little bit? Who cares! It's for me! What now? The colors & prints are a little ostentatious? Who cares! I can wear it as a flashy cape like Liza Minnelli and sing show tunes in my living room if I want! Because it's for MEEEEeeee!

Want to taste a little bit of that sweet freedom with me? Then I hereby challenge you, my fellow quilters, to spend some time on yourself and make a quilt for your own snuggling pleasure!

Until then, let's bask in my quilt's over-the-top, peacocky splendor together - woo hoo!

Finished Rain or Shine Quilt! (back)

Finished Rain or Shine Quilt!

Finished Rain or Shine Quilt! (block 5)

More Retreat Fun

The project I worked on for the majority of the retreat were these two bee blocks for Kristy in Bee (A Little Bit) Japanese. She sent each person two different adorable Japanese fairy tale prints and some quilter's linen, and asked that we make two blocks roughly 12.5" in size using Oh Fransson's Mod Mosaic pattern. Mine came out around 13" so she'd have some room to play with when she trims. I really like the final look of the pattern because it's got a cool stained-glass window effect, but I'm not sure if I'd enjoy using it again. Cutting, sewing, and ironing all those little pieces was really time consuming...it took me about 4-5 hours to finish both blocks...yikes! It made me feel a little bit better about being 2 weeks late with my blocks, because even if I'd desperately tried to squeeze them in during the move last month, I never would've finished in time.


Block #1
Bee (A Little Bit) Japanese Block #2 for Kristy



(sorry about the blurriness in the bottom corner...dang humidity on my lens!)
Bee (A Little Bit) Japanese Block #2 for Kristy



Block #2
Bee (A Little Bit) Japanese Block #1 for Kristy



Bee (A Little Bit) Japanese Block #1 for Kristy

And here's a little something extra from the retreat for you! I made tacos with guacamole & chips for lunch on Saturday, and Kelly & Angela asked me to share the recipes on here. Hope you like avocados, because they run rampant in this meal :)

Kaelin's Taco Spice Blend
(I make this in bulk and keep it in an airtight container in my pantry.)
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp basil
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ginger

Combine in a small bowl and blend with a fork. Store in a small container or shaker jar.

Tacos & Salsa
I use ground chuck for my tacos because it's a 'splurge' dish for us, and we like the extra flavor and moisture the fat gives. But feel free to use ground round or ground sirloin for a leaner, healthier dish. The salsa is spooned over the beef inside your taco - yum!

for Tacos
1 lb ground beef
1-2 tbsp Spice Blend (see recipe above)
Fresh or store-bought tortillas
Olive oil

Place ground beef in a skillet (I always use cast iron) and sprinkle seasoning evenly over beef. Cook on medium-high until no longer pink. Drain excess fat and set aside.

Drizzle olive oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and heat to medium-high. Once pan is heated and the oil easily runs around the pan, place 1 tortilla in the oil. Fry for 20-30 seconds on each side. Fold in half and place on paper-towl lined plate. (Note: if you dont' fold it immediately after frying, it will harden and crack when you try to bend it later).

for Salsa
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 avocado, diced
2 plum tomatos, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
1 Lime
1/2 tsp cayenne

Combine black beans, avocado, plum tomatos, and red onion in a bowl. Grab your lime and before cutting, firmly roll it back and forth against your counter a few times (this makes it easier to juice). Slice in half and juice the lime over the bowl. Gently toss. Sprinkle cayenne pepper over ingredients and gently toss again. (Note: if you get too violent with your stirring, the avocado will start to get mushy...and no one wants that!)

Guacamole
I eat the guacamole with chips as a side, but my husband likes to slather it on his taco along with the salsa. To each their own :)

from "Bride & Groom: First & Forever" cookbook

6 large avocados, roughly chopped (save 1 of your pits!)
4 plum tomatos (or 1 large heirloom), diced
2-3 garlic cloves, minced (depends on size)
1/4 of a jalapeno pepper, minced (I usually cut two 1/4" slices from below the stem)
1/4 cup cilantro, tightly packed
Juice of 1 lime
1-2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cumin

Place your avocados in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Once the consistency is fairly smooth, stir in remaining ingredients. Place the pit you saved from one of the avocados in the guacamole, because it will help keep it from browning so quickly. Serve with tortilla chips.

Happy Eating!

May 17, 2011

A Room with a View

NOLA MQG Retreat

As you know, we had our NOLA Modern Quilt Guild spring retreat this past weekend. Ray's amazingly kind aunt and uncle have a massive 3 bed/3 bath condo in Gulfport, Mississippi, and they were gracious enough to let me, Lana, Kelly, Angela, Cherie and Karen invade with our vast quantities of sewing stuff :) It was like paradise compared to the old, spidery house we stayed at in Baton Rouge last time. They had blackout blinds over the windows and the floor was so dirty my feet were black after walking around for 5 minutes. I kept referring to it as Shawshank during our stay, lol! They charged over $100/person and the lady remembered to tell us we'd need to bring all our own linens and towels, but conveniently forgot to mention there'd be no toilet paper, paper towels, trash bags, etc...yikes! That was an interesting thing to discover, haha!

Instead, we got to drink our coffee out here in the morning...

NOLA MQG Retreat

And have a Modern Family marathon while relaxing on these plush sofas - ahhhh!

NOLA MQG Retreat

And you see those lovely pillows on the sofa? Well those were made by the talented gals in our group as a 'thank you' present for our hosts! They're actually 26" down/poly floor pillows, but they looked so cute on the sofas that we left them there for the time being :)

NOLA MQG Retreat - Pillows #2&3

NOLA MQG Retreat - Pillow #2

We found an awesome home decor fabric shop right down the street from our condo called Ole River Fabric. It was one of those diamond in the rough places that you could easily drive by 100x and never notice, but their prices and selection were amazing! They had some gorgeous Ralph Lauren fabrics on sale for $2/yard, and the fabrics pictured above were only $7 (stripe) and $10 (floral) per yard. Don't you love stumbling across places like that? If they'd carried quilting fabric, I'm sure they would've had a bolt of mythical FMF Gray Seeds, lol!

We also found some cute flip flop fabric for $4/yard, so we couldn't resist buying some to make a 3rd pillow for the kids room. There are two sets of bunk beds in there and the grandkids always gather around the bottom of the beds, so I thought the extra floor pillow would be perfect to throw in there :)

NOLA MQG Retreat - Pillow #1 (front)


Front
NOLA MQG Retreat - Pillow #1 (front)


Back
NOLA MQG Retreat - Pillow #1 (back)

I can't wait for them to see the new pillows when they come down in a few weeks!

May 16, 2011

My Amazing Husband

Before I post this week about the retreat, I thought I'd show you what my husband did for me while I was gone. He's so wonderful!!! I've been a little stressed lately, because unpacking everything and settling into the house has been a much longer process than I anticipated. I'm pretty Type A when it comes to our living space, so I hate not knowing where everything is and having boxes and junk sitting in stacks all over the house. When my house is messy, it causes me to have a baseline level of anxiety underlying everything else....I can't sit down and stop being anxious until it's clean again!

So my precious hubby knew the messy house was making me crazy, and he felt like he hadn't been helping me as much as he should....so he surprised me by completely finishing the kitchen while I was in Gulfport!!! He painted, bought a bookcase and unpacked all my cookbooks, purchased a cool bamboo mat for me to stand on while I'm cooking, and even found some kitchen accessories from World Market to decorate with! (my favorite is the picture hanging next to my bookcase!) Aren't you impressed with his decorating skills? Because I am! I'm so glad I staked my claim on him 5 years ago :)

Before

After
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Before

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Before

After
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Before

After
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I love walking through and seeing all the little things he did...like hanging up my spice rack

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...my cast iron cookware

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...the new bookcase and framed picture

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...the little arrangements of nicknacks throughout (he bought the glass bottle with the cork too!)

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...and lastly, my new mat! It's a bamboo one he found at World Market. Whiskers appreciates it too since it gives him a non-slip surface in the kitchen now :)

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