Friday, July 30, 2010

Jane Stickle Quilt: M-3

Jane Stickle block M-3Block number/name: M-3 “Fireweed”

Date completed: July 29, 2010

Number of pieces: 25

Notes on block: Far from perfect, but done! I went about this one the hard way, handpiecing the whole thing. There were a lot of inset seams. A lot. Ugh. But it is done!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One Thing, One Week Challenge :: 1 Success!

One Week One Thing Challenge button

This challenge seems to be just the push I needed to get me to the next stage in my Pinwheel Party project.

prairie points attached!
Over the weekend I managed to cut, press, and attach the prairie point edging to my quilt top.

There isn't another "official" challenge until next month, but I think I'm going to try and set a goal for myself anyway. Because I like having goals. And I like meeting goals even more! So, my "one thing" for this next week: baste this quilt.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Jane Stickle Quilt: G-11

Jane Stickle block G-11Block number/name: G-11 “Decisions, Decisions”

Date completed: July 23, 2010

Number of pieces: 13

Notes on block: Simple and quick is how I would characterize this block. I also really like the soft grey-green tone-on-tone print. However I’m not sure how thrilled I am with the diamond shapes though. I tried the freezer paper and starch technique with them. The points aren’t as pointy as I would have wished. But the diamonds are all consistent in shape/size, which does make me happy. All-in-all, it is another happy block complete. Woo hoo!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

One Thing, One Week Challenge :: 1

Have you heard about Amy's challenge to all of us over at Amy's Creative Side?

One Week One Thing Challenge button

I love this idea! A couple of weeks ago, I posted my list of priorities. Since then I've managed to cross nothing off my list. I'm hoping that breaking down the list a little will help me progress. One step at a time, right?

So-- my one thing for this week? Prairie points for my Pinwheel Party quilt! I finished up the top and seeing it all together makes me think that prairie points along the outside edge will look really fun with all of the pointy pinwheels in the quilt. I've done the math. I should have enough extra fabric. So, my hope is to get them all cut, pressed, and basted in place by next Tuesday.

One thing... I can do it!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Jane Stickle Quilt: F-11

Jane Stickle block F-11Block number/name: F-11 “On Target”

Date completed: July 16, 2010

Number of pieces: 20

Notes on block: I’m really pleased with this one—the stripes are just so much fun and have a great look. But this block felt like it took forever to make because of all of the starts and stops. I think I spent more than a week working on it. Baby duty does not make for efficient block making. On the bright side though, much of that time when I can’t stitch is being taken up with lots of baby cuddles. That’s pretty cool.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Summer heat and a hat

With all of the hot weather we've been having, not a lot of crafting is going on (as I'm finding it hard to get motivated to stitch while dripping sweat). But along with the sunshine came the need for a hat for LB. So I got to work.

boy in hat
Here he is modeling his new hat. I made it using Betz White's Reversible Bucket Hat pattern which is a simple, fun design that is really quick and easy to put together (just be sure to use lots of pins). I used the Alexander Henry mini zoo print for one side and a solid khaki twill on the reverse. This is an XS and it is still a little large for LB, but I figure he'll grow into it. So far it has been working pretty well as generally when we're outside, he's in the baby carrier (I love my Ergo!), and he's positioned such that the carrier helps keep the hat in place. I may still add some straps to help keep it on his head though (for those windy days).

jaunty hat boy
Here he is again, just because. I call this his Indiana Jones look.

I'm looking forward to making a couple more hats soon, one for BB (which is all cut and ready to sew) and one for me!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A map of my childhood

June was Anne's month for Snip.Sew.Send. She requested "Map" blocks which we could interpret as loosely as we wanted, and she said the same goes for technique. I really hope mine's okay... it feels pretty loose!

Snip.Sew.Send. June block for Anne
This is a map of my neighborhood as a child. We lived on 40th Avenue South.

40th Avenue South
My house is at the bottom of the cul-de-sac (Jeff is my brother). There were a number of families in the neighborhood with kids-- those names penned in the houses are theirs. There was always lots to do in the 'hood... playing ball, dance parties over at Stephanie's house (thus the music notes), climbing into the treehouse over at LeighAnne and Johnny's, or racing down from the top of the cul-de-sac on our bikes and big wheels (I'm not so good at drawing those-- but I tried!).
treehouse and truck close-up

There was often baseball action too-- home plate was always in front of our house, the pitcher would stand on the blue reflector in the center, first base was the ever-present truck, second was the manhole cover, and third was at the mailboxes. When I was little, we also had a cat named Sammy... she's hanging out near Ben's house.

I used a number of techniques in this one, including some that were new to me.
  • I started by using a Pigma pen to sketch out the cul-de-sac and things I new I wanted to embroider.
  • Then I colored in sections with crayons (using Carrie P.'s tutorial for coloring on fabric as a guide).
  • Next I used fusible web and did the "Sketchy Stitchy Applique" technique, as described at Bloomin' Workshop. I really loved how that worked! The look really appeals to me, and it was so simple to do.
  • Then I went through and embroidered all over the place, mostly with two strands of floss, but sometimes with one.
  • Lastly, I finished the trees. I used two different colors of green thread and threaded both of them through the needle on my machine (so two threads were going through the needle). Then I freemotion stitched the treetops. Using two threads gave it a nice thick look, and the different colors gives them a little more dimension.

Overall, I'm really happy with how it all came together. The only bump in the road was my inability to do math. The block is supposed to be 10.5" x 14.5", including 1.5" borders. Mine ended up 12" x 15". Whoops. I'm really hoping that Anne won't mind it being a little big, or trimming it down and ending up with slightly narrower borders. I blame my baby-brain! (I wonder how long I can get away with that excuse?) :)

June was the last month for Snip.Sew.Send. I can't believe it has already been a year! I've had so much fun making blocks for all of my fabulous bee buddies, and I've learned a lot too. This virtual quilt bee really gave me a chance to push myself and try some new things. It has been fabulous! I'm looking forward to participating in another, once life settles down again.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Apricot adventure

Inspired by my friend Mikki, I decided to sign up for weekly organic produce delivery. Not only do I receive great produce at a really good price, but it is also a lot of fun because the bin includes items that I likely would never have picked up otherwise. So we're trying some new fruits and veggies-- which, in my mind, is definitely a good thing!

This week our bin included a pound of apricots. Apricots were new to me-- I don't recall ever having eaten one (other than in preserves form, which doesn't really count). So I had no clue what to do with them (other than make preserves, which just isn't my thing). But the magic of the internet came to my rescue. Searching in the Pioneer Woman's fabulous Tasty Kitchen, I found a recipe for Brandy Buttermilk Apricot Cherry Upside-Down Cake. Serendipity! I happened to have some cherries left from the previous week's bin. So my baking partner and I got to work.

A few tastes were had along the way.

taking a taste
Whoops! Mama forgot that the batter was a little boozy... but really, there was only a little bit left in that bowl and I did manage to snatch it away before he licked it completely clean. (Note to self: I really need to make that boy a new apron... the duckies are a little on the tight and short side now.)

The final product:

Brandy Buttermilk Apricot Cherry Upside-Down Cake
So pretty! And tasty too (especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side). It was a simple, quick recipe with great results. This was also the first time I baked with powdered buttermilk-- and it worked like a charm! The cake was moist and dense with great texture, and the fruit was sweet and juicy.

I can't wait to see what's in the bin next week!

Saturday, July 3, 2010


So many projects, so little time! I think it is a plight among all the quilters I know. For my part, I sometimes get so wrapped up in the project-of-the-moment, that I lose sight of all of the other things I'm working on. So I'm going to take a little time here to lay out my current projects and attempt to prioritize them. Hopefully, this will help me focus my energies in a more effective manner (and help get some of those lingering projects done!).

  1. Snip.Sew.Send. block for Anne-- sigh... I already missed the proverbial boat on this one as it was supposed to be done in June. But I am making progress on it. Hopefully I can get it finished soon. (I'm so sorry I'm late, Anne!)

  2. Greenpiece-- I want to try and stay on top of this BOM. I have 3 applique blocks and 2 pieced blocks I'd like to finish before the end of July.

  3. Pinwheel Party-- I want to get this one finished for baby Abigail by the beginning of August. This one is currently hanging on my design wall.

    Pinwheel Party quilt on the design wall
    The top is nearing completion! (Yay, progress!)

  4. Prairie Pinwheels-- The center is together. It needs two borders and then quilting. In my fantasy world, this will happen before the end of August, as my father-in-law's birthday is in the middle of the month. But it is a big quilt. We'll just have to wait and see.

  5. Autumn House-- This has been basted since February, I think. It still needs to be quilted.

  6. My Snip.Sew.Send. quilt-- I have all of the beautiful blocks made by my Snip.Sew.Send. virtual quilt bee friends. It's time to make that quilt for my baby boy! I plan to start once I finish one of the above.

  7. Jane Stickle Quilt-- We're nearing the end on this one. In addition to just keeping up with That Quilt, I really want to start focusing on getting sections put together.

  8. Paintbox Quilt Along-- All of my blocks are done. Now I just need to get them all put together. As this isn't for anyone specific, I'm not feeling rushed.

  9. Playtime Quilt-- I tend to work on this one when I'm feeling inspired to do so. Currently, this is at the bottom of the list. Not because I don't love it. But because the projects above are just higher priority.

The list above is not all-inclusive. There are a few UFOs that I'm just ignoring for the time being and so didn't include on the list. And there are other projects I want to do as well, including summer hats for the boys and I, a new diaper bag, and another pair of pants for BB. These are smaller projects that I'm hoping I can kind of fit in between the big ones above. And don't get me started on all of the various new quilt projects I want to jump into... Focus, Robin, focus!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Greenpiece: Applique blocks 14 & 15

Here are a couple more applique blocks from the Moda Greenpiece BOM I'm participating in at my local quilt shop.

Applique block 14:

Green Piece applique block 14
I actually really like these little flowers. It is such a pretty design. And once again, I sing the praises of Karen Kay Buckley's Perfect Circles... my circles are sooo much better looking these days!

Applique block 15:

Green Piece applique block 15
A happy little bird. The beak caused me some trouble, and I'm not thrilled with it. I really need to work on sharp, narrow points and getting them to be cleaner looking (and sharp!). Not sure how to go about it though. Any suggestions?