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October 30, 2012

Blogger's Quilt Festival

Cherry Blossom Mini

Blogger’s Quilt Festival Stats
Quilt/Entry Number: #450
Finished quilt measures : 18″x 18″
Special techniques used : paper piecing
Quilted by : Me
Best Category : Mini Quilt, Wall Hanging

Amy's Creative Side
 
When I was considering all the quilts I've made this year and the meaning behind them, it was a no-brainer for me to pick which one I wanted to enter in the Blogger's Quilt Festival :) This Cherry Blossom mini is one of my favorite quilts I've ever made, plus it was for a very special friend. I don't think I ever came out and said who the quilt was for on here, because when I posted the finished quilt it hadn't reached it's owner yet and I didn't want to ruin the surprise!

Cherry Blossom Mini


I made this quilt for my friend Ayumi (aka "Ayums"), who is one of the sweetest and most talented people I know. The first time I "met" her was when I tracked down a copy of 318 Patchwork Projects on Amazon Japan for $60, and being the brazen lunatic that I am, I emailed her, a virtual stranger, to ask if she'd be willing to have it shipped to her house and then forward it to me in the States. And because she's awesome, she was more than willing to help me. Thus began our long series of emails and fabric swaps whereupon we professed our mutual love of Japan, cherry blossoms in the springtime, and adorable text fabric. Whenever I order fabric from her Etsy shop, she spoils me with extra scraps, and she was even part of the group that sent me care packages after the Dread Herniated Disk Episode of 2012. Honestly...how could I not make something for her in return?

So I scoured the internet for flower-eque patterns, toyed around with my fabric choices to make this pattern look like a cluster of little blossoms, and pulled fabric to match her favorite things - pink & text fabric :)

Cherry Blossom Mini (detail)

Thanks for being such a great virtual friend Ayums, and hopefully we can meet in person one day.

P.S. Everyone should go out and buy her book when it comes out next year!!! She also has an awesome paper-piecing series called the Super Penguin Quilt-Along at Superbuzzy right now :) Go support awesome people who deserve it!!!

October 29, 2012

Jungle Cruise Baby Quilt



Finished the Jungle Cruise baby quilt for my friend Meghan this weekend, and right on schedule! She ordered it for a friend's baby shower this coming Sunday, and I needed to make sure I allowed for plenty of delivery time to NYC. I'm a little paranoid since the last time I sent her a quilt via Priority Mail, it took almost 2 weeks to get to her and involved angry visits to the post office and eventually chasing down her mailman.



This quilt was a bit of challenge because the couple is waiting to find out the sex of the baby, so I had to make it gender neutral. It's hard enough finding decent boy fabric for quilts, let alone fabric that isn't girly, but not too masculine either. I never realized before how much fabric incorporates flowers somehow....seems there are flowers in EVERYTHING...I think they might be repopulating like Gremlins and attempting to take over.




 
I loathe straight-line quilting. Seriously. I'll FMQ all day long, but when it comes to straight line quilting I'd rather take repeated blows to the face. But I felt it was really the only way to go with this quilt because it would emphasize the design. So I did some shadow-quilting and quilted along the zig-zags. I really like how it looks on the back :)


And for the binding I used a print from Riley Blake's "Fly A Kite" line.


I really love how this turned out. Isn't it great when that happens? Sometimes ideas seem really awesome in your head or on paper, but turn out to be a hot mess in reality. So it's the freaking best when you spend hours on something and it turns out just like you wanted...if only it happened more often ;)

October 24, 2012

Jungle Cruise Quilt Top



So good news! I finished a new quilt top and am on schedule to complete by my mailing deadline of Monday the 29th - woo hoo! AND I have all the photos taken for the Wet Bag tutorial, so once I get those cleaned up, I'll be ready to write up the post for next week - double woo!


I mentioned this in my previous post, but I didn't use a pattern for this quilt. After my friend and I put together an inspiration board on Pinterest and we agreed on a bundle I pulled from my stash, I scoured the internet for baby quilt ideas because I wanted to try a different pattern. When it comes to baby quilts, I usually don't rock the boat and go for quick & easy patterns. In my internet meanderings, I stumbled across this cheater print on Spoonflower and loved it!

All it took was some graph paper and about 5 minutes, and I was ready to go. Each unfinished parallellogram is 7.5" tall and 4.5" wide at the ends. The cutting looks like it might be fussy, but it was actually very easy and I zipped right through it - all you do is cut 7.5" strips and then make a cut at a 60 degree angle every 4.5 inches. 



And can I just say - God bless alternating seams! It makes lining up points SO easy because they interlock and practically align on their own. Anyone else feel like shouting "SUCK IT POINTS! I JUST DOMINATED YOU!" whenever they open up a freshly sewn seam and everything looks all crisp and perfect? Because I do.



And in case you're in the mood to order delightful Fall-hued fabrics after seeing all those glorious oranges and browns above (God bless Joel Dewberry and his Coordinate-designing skills), Caitlin at I Don't Do Dishes now has Bella by Lotta Jansdotter in stock for $7/YARD!!!! TOTAL STEAL!

Also, Brenda at Pink Castle is having a big sale through the end of October to reduce inventory for her big move! Use the code MOVING for 25% off your total purchase through October 31st. 

 Have fun ;)

October 22, 2012

On the Design Wall


My former roommate/best friend from college ordered a custom baby quilt from me, and here's a snapshot of the WIP. She wanted something gender neutral because the expecting couple is waiting to find out the sex of the baby. I didn't use a pattern, but the design was inspired by a cheater print I saw on Spoonflower a couple weeks ago. With the help of a pen and a little graph paper, it wasn't too hard to whip up dimensions for something similar.

And in case you're wondering, I haven't forgotten about the Wet Bag Tutorial I promised! I've been working late a lot lately, and just haven't had time to finish it yet. I'll definitely have it up by the end of the month though, because I want to give you all plenty of time to make Christmas gifts.

Life's been kind of stressful lately - this is our busiest time of year at work because over half our clients renew their benefits packages on January 1st, plus the other Marketing person in my unit just left our company somewhat unexpectedly, so my workload is a nightmare right now. It also sucks that the person who left was the only person on my unit I was friends with, so now there's no one nearby to help relieve the stress by joking around when things get crazy :(


October 19, 2012

Paul Blart: Thong Cop

I have the best lunch break adventures EVER!

Yes, that is a motorcycle cop digging through the thong bins at Target. You're welcome, and Happy Friday.

Although, I can't imagine thongs would be convenient for motorcycle riding, because you'd be prone to whale-tailing something fierce.

Also, I like to pretend he moonlights as a Village Person when he's not on duty, and he was on the phone with his band member that dresses like a Cowboy.

I had totally forgotten about this event until I randomly came across the photo in my Flickr account last night. The incident occurred back in March, and I was on my lunch break. Thank goodness Ray wasn't with me because he never would have allowed this photo to happen. In situations like this he's all like "no, no, NO! Inappropriate!" and I'm all like "yes, yes, YES! CONSEQUENCES BE DAMNED!". Compound that with the fact that the subject in question was a cop, and Ray probably would have tackled me to the floor and stomped on my phone to prevent it.

Personally, I don't think he gives me enough credit for my camera-phone-stealthiness. I'm pretty good. "Oh don't mind me officer...I'm just another soccer mom browsing for granny panties." Snap.

**Shout out to my friend Michelle for coming up with this genius Post title**

October 17, 2012

The Miseducation of Whiskers MacTavish

We recently bought a new sofa because we needed more seating in our living room. And because the sofa is awesome, velour, pumpkin orange, and, well, BRAND NEW!!!...Whiskers was henceforth banished. We gave him a stern talking to, reminded him the cushy old sofa was still available, and shooed him away whenever he so much as looked at the new sofa. All was going well until...



...I walked down the hall to the living room this morning, and stopped dead in my tracks when I noticed Whiskers sitting motionless on the back of the new sofa, peering at me through the darkness like some James Bond villain. All he needed was a swivel chair, fluffy white cat, and a pinky ring to complete the picture. So I stormed in, flipped on the lights, and started shrieking like a banshee for him to get off! Well....I might have done the shrieking bit after I snapped that picture.


And I figured since I was already in the living room, it was semi-clean, and I had my camera in hand, might as well take a few pictures of the new layout! When we got the new sofa we decided to flip-flop the front room and put the living room where the dining table was (you can see the old layout here), which is what I originally wanted to do when we bought the house last year (Ray and I had a weeks-long brawl over it - but in the end, sweet victory is mine, and he uttered the 3 most glorious words a wife can hear "You were right". I feel like the Highlander now - there can be only one.)



Whiskers is still getting adjusted, but he loves being able to see out TWO windows from the sofa now. I've started referring to the back of our sectional as "Puppy Run", because when I come home from work every day, the back cushions are completely smashed from him running side-to-side to people-watch/bark.

He's learned not to climb in the windows though, because the day of the re-arrangement, he got trapped in the left-hand windowsill because he couldn't figure out how to walk backward onto the sofa, LOL! We came home and couldn't find him until I saw the curtains rustle and heard a whimper....I'm pretty sure he was stuck there for almost 2 hours.



I'm going to make some additional pillows for the couch and wanted to use this Echino print. Knowing just how to play Ray because he loves all things rustic/antler-related, I walked in the room (acting overly excited) and said to him "Look babe! I just found some super-manly fabric that matches the couch perfectly! It even has deer on it!"

His reply was "I'm pretty sure the purple bees (raises an eyebrow and points) negate the deer's manliness".

Crap. Plot foiled.




This is my new favorite spot! When we rearranged the front room, it created enough room for us to move the bookcase from the guest room. I now have a reading nook :)



P.S. Wanna play a game of Where's Whiskers? He appears a total of 3 times in this post.

October 14, 2012

Around the Sewing Room


It's a beautiful sunshiney day today, so I'm trying to focus on that rather than the mountain of sewing awaiting me.

I'm working on so many different quilt tops right now, it's not even funny. Above are the prints I pulled for a gender-neutral baby quilt for a friend. The top row will make up the quilt top, the bottom left print will be the backing, and the bottom right print will be the binding. Using the Essex Linen in the background for the sashing.


I also just finished a quilt top for a new quilt pattern I designed. I'm using the Outfoxed for the backing and the Sweetwater print for the binding.


And because I don't have enough to do, I decided to start another quilt and cut up the stack of Riley Blake Halloween prints I bought at the Sewing Summit last year. Going to be using Cluck Cluck Sew's Dottie pattern for that quilt, with Essex Linen in Putty for the sashing. I also finished hand-sewing my HR hexie wall quilt as you can see off to the side there :)

*sigh* I'm exhausted just thinking about all the quilts & quilt tops awaiting me. And I just remembered I still need to quilt the Modern Meadow quilt for our guest room (I've had it basted for months) GAH!!!



FYI, Brenda at Pink Castle Fabrics is having a Pop-Up Sale. She has a lot of "end of bolt" half yards and yardage, so she's selling them at super discounted prices to make room for incoming collections in her shop. The sale is today only, and because of the deep discounting no coupons work in conjunction with the sale.

Also, she's running a special this week on all precuts and bundles - use the coupon code BUNDLE20 for 20% off those items. You can click here to view her selection.

Back to work! :)

October 12, 2012

Scottie Watch

Scottie Watch

1. Whenever I have a piece of batting that's just a hair too small for a quilt, and I'm able to zig-zag a scrap piece of batting to it to make it work, I feel like patting myself on the back for helping save planet Earth. "Well done Self for not throwing that batting away & being wasteful *high five*!!!"

Anyone else feel that way? No? Just me?


Well, I was discussing this very thing with my quilty friends the other day, and Cherie (who is a bottomless pit of awesome quilting notions...seriously...I don't know how the heck she always finds this cool stuff), posted a link to this Heat Press Batting Tape. Huzzah for no more zig-zag stitching! Huzzah for saving me 20 minutes!


 
2. Amanda & Ashleigh over at the Frosted Pumpkin Stitchery have come out with a new pattern series for Christmas! It's the Kawaii Winter Wonderland Countdown, and if you sign up before Nov. 10th the price is only $10 instead of $16.95. I made an Etsy sale earlier, and that fundage immediately went toward this noble cause ;)

3. FYI, that coupon code I posted last week for Fabric.com is still good (worked as of 10:30 pm last night when I checked it). Use 'sewsorry' for 20% off any order. I like to stock up on 505 spray whenever they have good codes like this, because I go through that stuff like candy and it's 'spensive.



4. Several of you have emailed me to ask where I purchased this print (I've used it in several other projects), and I last purchased it from IKOplusFabric on Etsy. I've gotten a lot of my Japanese fabric from them because they frequently have huge sales. Right now they've got everything marked down 15% due to a holiday in Taiwan, plus many of the new 2012 prints are 35% off. Most yardage is in the ballpark of $11-$12, which is practically unheard of - most Japanese linen blends are going for around $20/yard nowadays! Basically: get while the gettin's good ladies!



5. This journal is hilarious. I *heart* irony, plus it reminds me of me. Mostly because I'm the kind of person that bottles up my anger until I explode in an irrational public episode, similar to Kristin Wiig's cookie punching freak-out in Bridesmaids. That's me in a nutshell...except there would be more cellulite and I wouldn't look nearly as graceful rolling around in a dress with a giant cookie on top of me. And as my husband has informed me, my mountain side comes out and I get kind of twangy when I'm mad. Who knew?


6. Also, don't forget to create your I Made This! Pinterest board and register to win the Creativebug prizes I mentioned last week! Entry Form has to be completed by Tuesday, October 16th!




October 9, 2012

Coming Soon: Wet Bag Tutorial!



A friend I grew up with contacted me a few weeks back via Facebook asking if I could make a custom wet bag for her. I'd never made one before, but I accepted the challenge because I've worked with laminates and PUL plenty of times, and wet bags looked simple enough. However, after an hour or two of Googling, the tutorials I found on the internet left a lot to be desired, so I decided to make my own pattern.



In case you're wondering what a wet bag is, it's nothing more than a small bag that's lined with a waterproof material, good for storing things like wet swimsuits, soiled cloth diapers, or dirty clothes if your child has a mishap with food or bodily functions (as I hear babies/toddlers are wont to do *wink*).

They'd also be perfect for storing food, snacks, juice boxes or items that could potentially leak. And I was also thinking about making one for our car to use as a little trash bag for items like apple cores or chocolate wrappers that could make the car messy or sticky.



The finished bag measures 8" x 10" x 3". The biggest beef I had with the internet tutes out there, is that they were all 2-dimensional. Even though wet bags are fairly large (anywhere between 10x10 to 14x14), no one added gussets (which is just cray-cray if you ask me)! Without gussets, it's a real pain in the keister trying to see inside a huge flat bag, not to mention get your hand in there or pull things in and out.

Because I thought some of you might be looking for quick & easy Christmas gift ideas, I've been working on a step-by-step photo tutorial. Should be up by next Monday at the latest :)

October 5, 2012

Scottie Watch

Scottie Watch


1. Anyone else see this cool contest Creativebug is putting on? Pretty much all you have to do is Pin crafty stuff you've made on Pinterst to win. Best contest rules ever, in my opinion. They might as well have said, "all you have to do to be entered is breathe air", because I get busy on Pinterest like nobody's business!

Click here to see official rules and register your email/Pinterest board.

2. Brenda over at Pink Castle Fabrics is having a huge sale on her site! She just added all kinds of goodies from Free Spirit like Modern Meadow, some older Heather Bailey lines like Bijoux, Hope Valley, a few voiles + home dec from Anna Maria Horner.

As for me? I finally snagged some of that Fox Hollow I'd been eyeballing for weeks. It's going directly in the "future babies" stash...do not pass go, do not collect $200 (or even think of using it for someone else! mine, mine, MINE!!!)

UPDATE! My friend Tracey just alerted me that use can use the coupon code SPIN15 for 15% off your order. Party on Wayne.

3. Caitlin over at I Don't Do Dishes has gotten some adorable things in her shop recently, namely the EverKelly patterns geared toward little ones. Seriously. How are you not supposed to want children after looking at these patterns?


These little houses make my ovaries twinge. The fabric on the left is a panel of pieces to make the dolls and houses. The houses even have handles, so you can carry them around like a purse. Right now, I'm wondering if it would be acceptable for a 28 year old to do so.


4. Fabric.com has a coupon for 20% off any order - not sure when it expires, but I checked it this morning and it still works. The code is 'sewsorry'. Readers: you're welcome. Husbands: sew sorry.

5. Over at Quilt Home, you can use the coupon 'QH1492' to get 40% off all Innocent Crush, Secret Garden, Impressions, and Sugar Hill quilting weight fabric, and also off Innocent Crush, For Your Home, Logan, and Impressions home decor fabric. Also use the code 'QHABZW' for 20% off all Amy Butler fabric plus Willow and Zoofari organic cottons/flannel.

6. At Sew Fresh Fabrics, use the code 'NEWS20' for 20% off your purchase through Oct. 8th.



7. Most importantly, in case you didn't know, it's Count Chocula season (CCS). That wonderful time of year when everyone puts their differences aside to eat delicious and nutritionally void vampire-themed chocolate cereal (and also a time when roughly 25% of my Facebook posts revolve around this legendary cereal). And even though I'm 99% sure they reduced the marshmallow to cereal ratio which makes me very unhappy, I'm still going to stock up on this stuff like I'm prepping for the flood. I suggest you do the same. CCS only comes once a year, after all.

Side note: I'm wondering who the heck they put in charge of drawing his nose, because it's kind of disturbing looking. No wonder his mouth is always open, because he can't breathe out of that blob masquerading as a nose. Also...in my mind, it makes sense that the Count would be drawn by a giant group of artists instead of just one. I prefer to think the group is as super dedicated to the Count Chocula cause as I am, while one rogue artist played saboteur with his allotted face part. 

October 1, 2012

Peep Culture Quilt, Part 2


Remember the Peep Culture quilt I made a while back using Lynn's Hexagon Park pattern? Well, I fibbed a little about who it was for. I wanted to blog about the quilt because I was so excited about it, but since the intended recipient (my friend Heather) reads my blog, I was worried she'd figure out it was for her. So I might have made up the bit about it being for an out-of-town baby shower back in August.

Peep Culture Quilt

Her baby shower was this past Saturday, and because I enjoy stressing myself out, I decided the night before the shower that I needed to make another gift, since I wanted to give her something she hadn't seen before. Hence the matching Fox pillow. Isn't he cute? He reminds me of Coraline with his blue fur and button eyes :)



I used 1001 Peeps for Mr. Fox, Riley Blake Cheery Circles for the sashing, and more of the DS Picnic & Fairground plaids for the back. The paper-pieced fox pattern was purchased from Artisania.

Pardon my blurry photo of the back...I forgot to take pictures and ended up snapping these right before I walked into the baby shower. I literally got out of my car, yanked this out of the gift bag, and snapped photos in my trunk (did I mention it was also raining and I had to use the hood of the trunk for cover?).

Can't ever do things the easy way in my household *wink*
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