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April 30, 2012

The Usual

Whiskers is snoozing on the sofa (sleeping all day really wears a pup out)...

Whiskers, as per usual

 ...and I'm sewing (pardon my murky photos...twas dark outside by the time I finished piecing).

Fun with Cosmic Burst

I'm currently working on some new placemats using a charm pack Cara sent me of her hubby's fabulous new line, Cosmic Burst. She was sweet enough to send me some after I gushed about it's summery delightfulness, but I just now got around to playing with it due to the Great Neck Injury of 2012. Hopefully I'll be caught up on all my backlogged projects soon *crosses fingers*

Fun with Cosmic Burst

April 27, 2012

Scottie Watch

Scottie Watch

1. Unfortunately I can't take the credit for this first item, because my genius friend Cherie came up with the idea. Instead of buying one of those expensive rotary ruler suction thingies for $20-$30 at your LQS (or if you don't have a LQS and want to avoid shipping) you could go down to your local hardware/home improvement store and buy one of these for only $12. Toma-toe, Toma-toh, Ruler Gripper, Elderly Shower Handle. They're exactly the same, except one comes in pretty colors and costs $10-$15 more.

2. Save 20% off a purchase of $40 or more at Fabric.com with the code 'DOD412' (good through April 30th)




3. Save 25% off all Denyse Schmidt fabrics (including Flea Market Fancy) at Quilt Home using the code QHDSFMF' (good through April 30th).

4. Save 20% off your purchase at the Fat Quarter Shop with the code 'AnnaMariaQAL' (good through May 8th).

5.  I also have to give Cherie credit for this one too...she brought it to our retreat and I might have swiped it a time or two (so did Cara). It's called a Strip Stick and it doesn't look like much, but it makes pressing seams SO much easier, and it doesn't pull or distort the fabric while you iron. If you do a lot of smallish piecing (think HST's), bee blocks, or patchwork, you should definitely buy one. I already did :)


 
6. These labels are technically for labeling jam and other homemade goodies like cookies, but I think they would be adorable if you typed them up and spit them out on printable fabric for quilt labels! 

April 26, 2012

FPSI


After coming home this weekend to an obscene amount of dog fur on my new pillows (from Kelly + Elena), I'm officially inventing a new unit of quilting measurement:  FPSI, also known as Fur Per Square Inch.

Why? Because all pets are inherently drawn to handmade items. It's a scientific fact.

Also, it seems there's a positive correlation between how much you love an item, and the FPSI. Pets can sense these things. Here is photographic evidence. He knows...oh yes, he knows....he's literally licking his chops over how much fur he's gonna rub on it...

Battle for the Mermaid Pillow



Sensing my absence this weekend and Ray's general lack of concern, I'm pretty sure Whiskers did barrel rolls on my pillows while I was gone to increase the FPSI of my most beloved new pillows, and slowly claim them as his own.



It took not one, but FOUR sticky roller sheets to take the FPSI from 100 back down to zero.


It's a vicious cycle, but this isn't over dog!

April 25, 2012

Summer Blooms



A while ago my friend Brenda at Pink Castle Fabric asked me to put together a blogger bundle for her, so I pieced together the Summer Blooms bundle you see above. I'm seriously in love with all the saturated colors! I'm going to be whipping up a new quilt with it soon...and I think I'll be pairing it with a white solid because it will set off all the bright colors nicely :)


For those of you who might be interested in where I start when I'm putting together a bundle for a new project, I'll talk a little bit about my source of inspiration.  It's rare that I sit down in front of my stash with a blank slate and think, "oh I'll use this color, this, and this". Usually I already have an idea in mind from something I've seen on the internet or around town. Much to Ray's embarrassment, I'm ALWAYS taking random photos of displays in stores, cool shapes & patterns I see, and fun color pairings with my phone while I'm running errands.

Summer Blooms bundle

Then I go back and save the photo to my computer for future reference. For this particular bundle, I used a Crate & Barrel pillow I've been lusting over for a while (man I miss having a local Crate & Barrel!). I pulled up a picture of the pillow and the Kona swatch page, and started matching colors - it's really as simple as that! I played with them a little bit (softened the pink), but for the most part stayed true to the color scheme found in the pillow.

If choosing fabrics is something you struggle with, you should try this next time - Pinterest is really great for comparing photos side-by-side if you don't have the software for it :) And if you need more help, you can always refer to Jeni's great series called the Art of Choosing.


April 24, 2012

"Sewing" Our Wild Oats


A group of us that bonded at the Sewing Summit last year have been planning a meet-up since the Fall. Our motley crew includes Angela, Kelly, Karen, Cherie, Ali, Michelle, Tracey, Kristie and Cara. When we were planning our little shindig, the priority was finding a central location that was wallet friendly. Being the awesome friend that she is, Ms. Kelly generously offered up the house she and her husband just bought outside of Nashville. They don't move in for another week or two, so we had to bring all the necessities like towels, air mattresses and toilet paper, which was actually pretty fun....like an indoor quilting camping trip! I'm kind of sad now we didn't attempt roasting marshmallows in her fireplace...although she probably isn't because the group of us are a fire hazard, lol

Only me, Cara, Kelly, Ali and Cherie were able to make it this time, but we're already planning one at the beginning of next year that will be bigger & better - woot woot! Most of us got in around 7:00 Friday night and we ate a late dinner at 55 South, so this is what the scene looked like when we got home. Online friends getting together, laying on air mattresses...and not talking...but typing to each other and the friends that couldn't make it via Facebook, lol! Well...except for me, because I'm too cheap to pay for an iPhone + plan, so I just laid there and drifted in and out of consciousness.

(I was too lazy to take photos most of the trip, so all of these are stolen from various members of our five-woman posse)


The next morning we had grand plans of hitting up all the local quilt shops (Kelly even had a printed list of the addresses and hours), but we hit the motherload at our first store and nixed the others. It was like Hoarders: Fabric Edition. The store was HUGE and there were thousands of fat quarters stuffed into every last nook and cranny, and even stacked along the walls in plastic bags. We got lucky and found a pocket of out-of-print Anna Maria Horner prints in those cubbies, so we literally yanked every single fat quarter out to make sure we didn't miss anything. There might have been screaming and dancing involved each time we found another hard-to-find print...


And then we started tackling the dozens of bags along the walls. Cara and I were crawling around on our hands and knees, and I'm pretty sure anyone who had the misfortune of walking up behind me got a healthy view of my butt crack...but I mean c'mon...who has time for pulling up their pants when Good Folks & Garden Party are at stake?!

Also, I'm pretty sure they hadn't swept or vacuumed for about a decade, because I was covered in dust bunnies by the time all was said and done.


 Some pre-checkout bartering...

Swapping


Discovered this little gem on the inside of the front door as we were about to leave....which is pretty hilarious, because we were in there snapping photos and systematically taking apart their store for the better part of 3 hours...so they either didn't notice or didn't care.


And all that fabric hunting makes a gal pretty hungry, so we made a pit-stop at Mellow Mushroom pizza on the way home. YUM.


And there's really no point to this photo, other than the fact that it's my favorite one by far from the weekend. A mom at peace, in her PJ's, quilting, scooping up Apple Jacks with her bare hand, and reading some good ol' fashioned celebrity gossip. Cara and I shared a table, and I couldn't help but glance up at her every now and then because she looked so darn content :)


And to cap things off, here's some good ol' fashioned fabric porn. Because what's a quilty weekend without a beefcake fabric shot?


April 18, 2012

Telschow Drive-In Theater

It's been in the 70's down here in New Orleans since late January, so we've been enjoying grilling out and gardening for quite a while.  I'm pretty much obsessed with fresh basil, and my little plants are coming in nicely out on the front porch. Ray's working on building me a raised veggie bed in the backyard so I can transplant our veggies & herbs back there when it's time.
Herbs

Using a seed starter I planted two types of Heirloom tomatoes (Mortgage Lifter & Golden Jubilee), some Green Bell Peppers, Lavender, Sweet Mint and Rosemary. I've grown plenty of herbs before, but this is my first encounter with full-on veggie action. The peppers don't seem so bad, but I'm fully intimidated by those tomatoes. If it weren't for the fact that my piggy little snout is watering for heirloom tomatoes, I wouldn't have attempted it. Because let's face it, I have zero interest in gardening unless it produces some kind of food. Flowers...meh.

So any and all advice is welcome - please help me grow heirloom tomatoes! I'm gonna post my plant's progress on here so you all can see how I'm doing :)  I'm so excited about it! Eating fresh herbs and tomatoes from my very own backyard will be a dream come true. Yum....now I'm thinking of all the burgers and caprese salad I can enjoy with them...

And speaking of grilling out, we decided to take things a step further this weekend. My husband is a big kid in the most adorable sense, and since the weather has been so nice, he decided to try out his new brainchild this weekend: movies in the backyard.


Backyard "Drive In" Theater! 


Ray's been talking about doing this for a while, and it was actually pretty ingenious. We have a big backyard (well, by New Orleans standards) with a very high & sturdy fence. There's also a big gate that swings open because the previous owners owned a boat. Ray's brother owns a projector, so naturally Ray thought we should throw up a white king size sheet on the fence, drive the car in the backyard, and have a Telschow Drive-In Movie Night, lol! Ray's immediate family came over (parents + brother & sister-in-law) and we grilled out and chatted in lawn chairs until it got dark enough to project the movie.

We also bought some tiki torches with mosquito repellant to add ambiance and ward off bugs, which unfortunately didn't work :( I have mosquito bites everywhere, even on the bottoms of my feet! THE BOTTOMS OF MY FEET!!! Curse you mutant swamp mosquitos!!! I shall find you and smote your ruin upon the mountaintop with Deet. And then rename myself Kaelin the White and save humankind from the mechanations of Mordor...er wait...mosquitos.

So for those of you looking for cheap family entertainment this summer, here you go! We plan on revamping our mosquito defenses and trying this again soon for the College Ministry we lead at our church.  We watched Up! this past weekend, but for the college kids we're thinking a fun, summery movie like Jurassic Park, ET, Super 8, or Pirates of the Caribbean. I'm going to try my best to talk them into Heavyweights, but hardly anyone's heard of that movie so it might be an uphill battle.

Also, we went to see one of my favorite bands ever this weekend - The Boxer Rebellion. And they rocked. Don't you just love when a band sounds even better in person? It's a rare and beautiful thing.

The Boxer Rebellion - House of Blues

The Boxer Rebellion 


Here's to GREAT weekends!

April 17, 2012

Modern Patchwork!


One of my patterns is featured in a new magazine from Interweave called Modern Patchwork! YAY! I'm seriously about to bust a gut that I'm in TWO magazines on stands right now (click here to read about my other pattern). I never, ever in my life thought I would see my name published in anything, and each time is honestly as exciting as the last. I'm always so nervous when I submit anything, because I never think they're going to take it. And immediately after I send that submission email, I start second guessing myself, or I think of something really cool that I wish I'd thought of beforehand (kind of like when you think of a really snappy comeback after your archenemy has already walked away...HATE that!). So I'm enjoying the ride while it lasts :)

But you know what's even better than having a pattern accepted for publication? Having awesome having family members who are incredibly supportive of my creative endeavors. They've been heading to their local Barnes & Nobles to buy copies of both, even though most of them don't sew! Thanks fam :)

SO. More about the pattern.

You probably didn't even notice, but my double oven mitt tutorial disappeared from my Tutorials page a few months ago. That's because I'd worked up a scrappy quilted version for this magazine!

Pattern in Modern Patchwork!
I'm so happy with the way the photographs turned out! Looks like a scene from my kitchen....Mmmmm pie :) 

I wanted it to look sweet and simple and a little bit retro, so I busted out my super-secret stash of hard-to-find fabrics and that big green polka dot you see above (found that at Joanns! they have some good stuff sometimes). And FYI, I put this mitt together pre-FMF reprint announcement, so it was actually quite painful to part with some of those scraps, but completely worth it in the end!


Pattern in Modern Patchwork!



Pattern in Modern Patchwork!


So if you have the time and inclination, I recommend you grab a copy from your local bookstore! I've seen the new Stitch in Joann's, but I'm not sure if they're going to carry Modern Patchwork. I'll let y'all know if I spot it there so you have another shopping option. (I grew up in a small town, so I know what it's like having to drive an hour to get to major chain stores like Barnes & Noble or Joann's!) You can also order both Stitch and MP online, but I'm not sure what the shipping costs are...I'll have to look into that for you guys....

April 16, 2012

Destash!

I haven't been keeping up with my fabric in/out policy and the scale has become extremely imbalanced! I just finished posted a ton of fabric in my shop including FQ and 1/2 yard cuts, some uber cheap custom bundles, and a ton of rainbow scrap packs.

PLEASE help me get rid of my scraps! If I see my blog coupon code pop up in the checkout area, I will load you down with even more scraps since you're a reader...seriously...I'm drowning over here! Especially if you get one of the solids packs...it will be borderline obscene how much fabric I stuff in there, lol!

The code is plaidscottie10 for 10% off. Click here or on the link in the right sidebar to reach my shop.

Thanks peeps!


Pretty Pleats Tote

Pretty Pleats Tote (front)


My friend Michelle has been working on an awesome new tote pattern, and I tested it out for her this weekend. The pattern offers 4 variations of the same bag, and I chose to do option #1, which has a ruffled body. Here's a peek at some of her samples so you can see all the different variations the pattern will offer...

Out for testing!


I'm a sucker for ruffles, so as soon as I got the pdf from her, I knew this is the one I'd be making! I used an Amy Butler Love print for the main exterior fabric, a green houndstooth print from Urban Chik's 1974 line for the lining, and the fussy cut center panel is from one of my all-time favorite Japanese prints ever - a Strawberry fabric from Kokka (thanks Ayumi!).

Pretty Pleats Tote (front)

Pretty Pleats Tote (interior)

Pretty Pleats Tote 

I know it leans toward the childish side and looks like something a 6 year old girl might carry, but I don't care! I think it's adorable and I can't stop staring at it or parading it out of my sewing room and forcing Ray to praise it yet again, LOL.

What's really nice about this bag is that in addition to having 4 different options, it's fully reversible and also looks the same on the front & back...so when you pick up your purse, you don't have to worry about finding the "front" before putting it on your shoulder.

This is technically the "back" of the tote. See? Looks exactly the same on either side!

Pretty Pleats Tote (back)

Michelle's pattern should be ready soon, so if you want to scope out more examples of this pattern before it hits her shop, check out Kelly's version here, and Ali's version here!

April 14, 2012

Ruh Roh.

Ray and I have been carpooling this past week because we were having some work done on the 2nd car. Good news is that I love having that time before and after work when we can chat about our days.

Bad news? We get home at the same time and I'm not able to properly "dispose" of fabric evidence.



We pulled up in the driveway yesterday and I immediately spotted the small mountain of packages and thought to myself, "oh crap...it's finally happened....Fabric D-Day". I thought maybe I could snake up to the front door and get everything inside while he was busy getting his stuff out of the trunk.

I unlocked the front door and turned to see if I was still in the clear, only to be met with this knowing scowl (you all don't know Ray, but this is his impish "I know what you're up to" scowl, rather than the "I'm angry" scowl. Phew!)


I just started laughing, and then couldn't resist snapping these two quick photos of the event.

Later Ray said, "you're not going to put those up on the internet are you?"

Me: "No" (crossing fingers behind back)

Ray: "Whatever. You're over there thinking, 'I'll sneak these up on the internet and that rube will never know!' "

And then I just started laughing, because that's exactly what I was thinking. How does he know me so well?

Any of you have funny stories about how your husband has totally busted your Underground Fabric Railroad? Do tell!

April 13, 2012

Scottie Watch

Scottie Watch 

1. Found a Tula Pink Neptune print here for $8.50/yard. Ready, set, GO!

2. Also, Whittle's Fabrics just posted a huge batch of new fabric on their site, all going for $4/yard. It includes some Parisville, Nicey Jane, Innocent Crush, Habitat, Greenfield Hill, etc.

3. For those of you left wondering how you'll edit your photos now that Picnik is nearing the end, check out PicMonkey! It's free (just like Picnik was) and so far, I actually like it a little better!



4. A couple of my friends have posted some pretty awesome free tutorials this week! Kristie @OCD posted a fun gardening apron on Sew Mama Sew (which I think would be adorbs alongside my knee pad! *nudge nudge, wink wink* You'll be stylin' & profilin' in the garden between the two of us!).

And Ang posted a meticulously written pattern on Moda Bakeshop today for that breathtaking owl backpack she created for the Sliced finals. Wonder if the adorable baby girl comes with it...




5. Be still my heart, Orla Kiely has teamed up with Bed, Bath & Beyond to produce some bedding!!! *sigh* I love Orla. The line comes out sometime in May, so mark your calendars (no word on a specific date yet...and trust me, I've been keeping a sharp eye on this!)

6. For you aspiring fabric designers out there, did you hear the upcoming Adobe Illustrator CS6 will have a tool for easily creating & editing patterns? That's right. You'll be able to easily create repeating vector patterns. Awesome.

Ray was watching one of his favorite techy YouTube channels and when they started talking about this, my ears immediately perked up and I had to wrestle him for the controller to keep him from leaving the video. I startled the bejesus outta him, because I always tune that stuff out and he couldn't understand why in the world I was so interested in repeating vector patterns, LOL!

April 12, 2012

Remaking the Junk Room (aka Guest Room)

As of April 29th, we'll have officially been in our home for a year.
 
I'm just now starting a quilt for our guest room (which was previously known as the oh-crap-people-are-coming-over-open-the-door-and-throw-all-our-junk-in-there room).

I'm madly in love with the Pinterest board I made for it, and I now own about 90% of the things in it.

My favorite item by far is a custom wall hook I ordered from CountryFolksCreations. I had her paint 'Welcome' on it, because I'm going to put water & fresh flowers in the little mason jar before guests arrive. And I plan on sewing ribbon tabs onto our guest towels so they will be hanging in their room all fresh & ready for them :)


Before we even moved in, I knew I wanted to paint the room a grayish blue color, and that I wanted to make a Modern Meadow quilt for the bed (because it's my favorite fabric line of all time!).

In came Ali with a genius idea for a Flickr group where you could adopt other people's UFO's. Kelly had a giant stack of navy, aqua & green Modern Meadow Mixtape Blocks, which I promptly snatched up.


Instant quilt, right?

...well...except for the part where I changed my mind and decided I wanted to accent the blue guest room with yellow instead of green.

...and let them sit in my closet for 8 months.

...and then decided to remake half the blocks to include more yellow.

...and then had to find 4 more prints and make even more blocks, because I only had enough for a Double instead of a Queen.

...only to discover I was a coordinating print shy, and had to sneak in one DS Quilts print from her first Australian collection.


 Here are the first 6 of a total of 9 rows I'm organizing for the top.

Whiskers ran across my blocks and messed them all up no less than 3 times. And I might have shrieked at him and flailed my arms like a crazy red-haired banshee each and every time.


*sigh* Isn't this the most soothing fabric line you've ever seen? I want our guest room to be cozy, happy, and calming.

Because I love making people feel comfortable in my home.

And so does Whiskers, by strewing himself inappropriately across guests' laps so they can scratch his tummy. Welcome to the family! Have some black fur for your pants.

I was feeling too lazy for paragraphs tonight, because there's no time for that when I have Caprese Salad to eat and Parks & Recreations to watch.

Happy Thursday :)

April 8, 2012

Tag Team Quilt


I'M FINISHED!!! One year later, and I finally finished this quilt for Ulrike!!! And I hope she doesn't mind, but I went ahead and named it the Tag Team quilt since she made the top, and then "tagged" me to go in and finish the rest :)

For those of you not familiar with the story behind this quilt, about this time last year my friend Ulrike contacted me about finishing a baby quilt for her. It was for a mutual friend who lives in the States, but it would cost a royal fortune for her to ship a finished baby quilt from Germany to the U.S., so she mailed me just the top, and I created the backing and put it together for her :)

The top was so fabulous that it took me MONTHS to decide on how I wanted to style the back, because I really wanted it to complement the front (and do her gorgeous work justice!). By the time I got the back done, the holiday season was upon me, and I was in full-on handmade Christmas present mode from then until the end of the year. I emailed Ulrike at the first of January to let her know finishing this quilt was priority #1, but a week later all my neck craziness started, so that pushed this quilt back another two months.
 

But I'm happy to say I finally finished binding it this weekend, and this beautiful quilt will be on it's way to a new mom tomorrow morning :) The thought of a chubby, happy baby rolling around on this quilt makes me incredibly happy. I can just picture him staring at all the bright colors and shapes, and finding little pieces in the quilt that will be his secret "favorites" as he grows up - Ulrike did such a fabulous job :)



I free motion quilted this using a cyan Sulky thread. I normally use Gutterman, but Sulky thread quilts like a dream when you're doing FMQ!

And below you can see my favorite bit of the entire quilt! I love that wonky little Owl & the Pussycat block...so sweet and whimsical :)


And here ladies and gentleman, is the back I made for the quilt! Again, the thought of pudgy little baby legs rolling around and pointing at the numbers and letters makes me wanna squeal! (I have a serious case of baby fever right now, in case you hadn't noticed, lol!)
 

I paper pieced the numbers & letters using templates from Kumiko Fujita's 318 Patchwork book, and I meticulously fussy cut those rainbow strips from an Ann Kelle stripe print. Her fabric is so perfect for kids projects and I have an obscene amount of it hoarded for future babies (not to mention serious yardage of her red & black Scottie print for Sir Whiskers projects!)


 For the binding I went with the new gray dot print from Denyse Schmidt's Aunt Edna line for Joann's. LOVE how it turned out - I seriously couldn't be happier that everything finally fell into place with this quilt! I think this is the first time I've ever made a quilt, and in the end felt like there's nothing I would go back and change. And it's the best feeling ever - I feel so creatively satisfied when I look at these pictures :)


And since the letters are a little hard to see from the shots above, here's a closeup of all the paper pieced text. Mmmmm....scrappy goodness!!!


Hope you all had a lovely Easter! I had a beautiful day full of worship, family, photographing quilts in the beautiful sunshine, peanut butter cookies, napping on the sofa with Ray and Sir Whiskers, and Indiana Jones/Jurassic Park movie marathons...all in all, the perfect Sunday :)
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