Tuesday, December 22, 2009

She's heeeeeere!

Janome, meet the blog. Blog, Janome.

Ok, so it's a tad anti-climatic. It's been over a month now and I've been through major sewing machine stress. I thought I would be showing you pictures of my new Viking 1100, major Craig's List steal. Actually, the very generous lady who had it for sale decided to give it to me once we got to her house. I was in tears from her kind act.

Then I took it to be serviced before using it and they called a week later to say it needed over $600 worth of help. Apparently the sewing head had been damaged and that, my friends, did not sound good.

So the search began again...

And on Black Friday, I purchased my totally awesome sewing machine. It's used, scratched up, and missing a knee-lift, but I got a major deal on it. I had no idea I would end up with such a big-time machine. I mean, afterall, I've been using my little Brother 2600 forever now. But here's the deal... I knew I needed a machine with a bigger throat/harp area (I've heard both terms used interchangeably) and after seeing what ballpark of coinage I'd be in (yikes!), I decided I had better get the most for my money.

Enter, the Janome (rhymes with Baloney) Memory Craft 6500. (And it says "Professional" on the front. Squeeeeel!) She not only has a rockin' throat (honestly, I gag every time I think of this term), but awesome embroidery powers and some sweet computerized thingy-majigs like needle up/down, make a knot so I don't ruin the quilt, and other things yet to be explored.

The orange quilt is done and given to my sweet, sweet aunt who watches the girls all.the.time.

And I just got the quilting done on the Tina Givens quilt. Seriously, this machine moves really fast and I am crankin' out the quilts in no time flat!!

I hope you are crankin' too if need be. You know, last-minute people, you! But hopefully you are really slowing down and enjoying the beauty of the Christmas season. A tiny bit of snow is falling here which makes it even better.

Merry Christmas to you!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Flea Market Fancy Freaks

Yes, I'm a freak.

And I love this fabric line!

Awesome giveaway going on, so check it out! (And maybe share a FQ with me if you win?)

Friday, November 6, 2009

Animal House

A new puppet in the works. He/she doesn't have a name yet, but it's big and blue and kinda creepy from this perspective if you ask me. Never thought I'd be making these, but it is fun to experiment with different fabrics (fur and felt to name a few!) and new methods of sewing. Once stuffed, however, he/she/it really looks fun.

A jellyfish for Halloween! Speaking of new fabrics, the shimmery skirt was a fun little whip-up. I was ok with the hat portion but realized I hadn't sewn anything. Feeling a little empty and things not quite done yet, we ran to Joann's with only minutes to spare. SuperMom? Definetly not. Sewing-obsessed? Unfortunately, yes.

My little punkin. A day out with dad at the punkin farm. I'm trying hard to phase out characters such as Dora and Princess, but she can wear the handmade skirts as much as she pleases. I'm vain like that.

I'm pleased to announce that the orange quilt top and back are finished. Also, the Tina Givens quilt top. Just working on that backing. My birthday is coming up and hubby is wanting to upgrade the sewing machine for me. Oh yeah, he's a keeper. Maybe tomorrow at this time I'll bring her home with me.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Quilt Parade

Fall Quilt Festival time! Well, it's kind of a quilt...

I mean, I worked hard, planned the layout and really stretched myself with that dang red in there! But are rag quilts really QUILTS? Well, this one IS because I like it and am totally loving the colors! I can't tell you how I agonized over the red.

Back of quilt. Love that blue!

Enter Bubbles. This was the puppet commission I had been working on for three weeks. It was cool to try a new thing, experiment, learn some puppet stuff. God has opened so many unexpected doors for me!

Bubbles's daddy wanted to do the facial features - no, it's not a blind rabbit puppet.

I was having serious quilt withdrawls. So I pulled the Manzanita charms off the shelf and got a little crazy. Really my only goal was to get this thing done in as little time as possible just for the sake of:
1.) Sewing and
2.) Playing with fabric and colors again.

Hence the quickie rag quilt. Except I forgot they take forever to clip. Oh well. It's done and I can get back to Bubbles 2.1

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's almost Quilt Market time!

Quilt Market and Festival in Houton.

No, I'm not going, but I am really excited to see the updates from everyone. And I bet you are too, RIGHT?! Of course you are! This handy-dandy little button will (hopefully) link everyone's updates together. I think there are about 30 at this point. So until the day when I can really attend, this is the next-best thing. And it's such a cute little button, I'll keep it up for probably way too long.

Totally unrelated: just found out my daughter's preschool is closing due to budget cuts. We are all totally bummed and I even wanted to make a quilt for the teacher for Christmas, but it will be a done deal by then. Sorry, just wanted to whine. Some of us mommies were trying to think what we can do. It's partially subsidized by local taxes, but we pay a nominal fee. They won't even consider raising the cost; they're just cutting it altogether. If you have been in a similar situation, I'd love to hear what action you took to save something meaningful to you!


2009 (A tad more confident!)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Finally... October.

Hello, Autumn! You are my mostest favorite time of the year.

This autumn we will be celebrating:




Each and every day is so dear to me. I'm learning to invest in people more and more. I'm trying to step outside of my comfort zone, take risks, develop relationships. It can be very hard for me to initiate a conversation or spend that extra time listening to another mom share a story. You know, we're all busy, right? I really think the Lord wants me to slow down and get real.

Isn't that what sipping hot beverages is for? :)

My goal this fall is to have lots of backyard cookouts and invite neighbors over for smores, game nights, or whatever. It's time to reach out while staying in.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Memory quilt is done!

Wow, what a journey it has been. I am so thrilled to:

1.) Have this finished before 2010!

2.) See the completed work of this quilt come together. Every quilt finish has a great sense of accomplishment, but this one is at the top of the list. It's very special to me.

I ordered the label from Tracey, aka The Dancing Needle on Etsy. The first one had a typo, the second one got lost in the mail, and the third one was juuuuust right. I do highly recommend Tracey's work even through the glitches. She was such a sweetie with sending replacements. Thanks, Tracey!

I had some reservations about including it. It was a surprise for the recipient. I hope a good one. I guess she could get out a seam ripper if need be. Mr Pin Cushion and I talked about if for a while and finally he just asked me what I would want if the roles were reversed. Isn't that how we should make most of our decisions concerning others? What a good man!

The binding (black dress pants) got finished up in Washington DC. We made the trip to visit my big brother for a very special promotion ceremony over the weekend. It was so perfect to be in the car with my family. It was overcast and rainy outside while I was sewing and chatting with my family inside the car. It was seriously a wonderful road trip. I can't express enough how I loved being together and sewing at the same time!

Anyway, the quilt is off to find it's home. I feel like I just sent a child away to college. But I must move on... Bubbles the Bunny awaits.

A new commission to re-create this rabbit for a local ventriloquist. I'm way excited to make this thing, it's a great opportunity. Just got back from the craft store with styrofoam balls, felt, cork board, and polyfil. Honestly, I do feel a tad panicked. But I draw a lot of inspiration from the show Ace of Cakes on Food Network. Every episode seems to involve their creative juices, a mishap, and how they really think themselves out of another pickle. It helps me to feel better that very successful artisans also make mistakes and not everything comes naturally and perfectly every single time.

Updates to come!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The good life

Mr. Pin Cushion and I are from the country. Like for real. The only county in our state without a highway. I remember when the McDonald's opened. It was the best day of my life as a 10-year old. Civilization winked at us from time to time, but never got too close. I never disliked the country, but was totally digging my jaunts to the city. Fast forward um, a few years and we are living in the city craving for that quiet country life. Although visiting my Italian in-laws has some tension at times, I love, love, love being back home in the country.
My MIL with her neice. After lunch we usually go outside and pick grapes, berries, tomatoes, whatever we can find. The quiet is amazing. It is so perfect.

They have every fruit that is possible to grow and even some that aren't possible. But my father-in-law is the king of making things grow against their will, so it's only a matter of time. Anyhoo, these raspberries were so gorgeous... and delicious! But I was mostly taken with their stunning colors.

Yes, I am very excited to get back to my Tina Givens quilt with these very colors + some lime green .

Monday, September 14, 2009

Check it out!

Jelly roll giveaway at Missourit Quilt Company!

I recently discovered my love for jelly rolls when doing the Picadilly quilt a few months ago. Now I crave them.

By the way, the Memory Quilt is getting quilted. I am so happy with this one.

And today is the first day of preschool. It's been good but weird. I miss that little monkey.

Monday, August 31, 2009

God and Dog

I love my Lord, certainly nothing comes close. Of course, I love my hubby and kiddos too. But our dog, Owen, is really a part of the family as well.

This cute little song and video says it really well. All dog-lovers should watch and then cuddle up close to their furry child. Unless you're Italian and already have human furry children. They work too.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

August in review

Oopsy! There goes August and summer for that matter. I've been working and taking pictures and here are a few highlights of where I've been.

First of all, the memory quilt back is finished! It has actually been added to since this picture, but just border-type thingies.

HOPEFULLY the completed finished totally done picture will be up soon...

I know I'm not breaking any records with my slowness of making this one. The quilt was getting so bulky with all the different fabrics, so I went in search of a walking foot.

Dear Walking Foot Inventor, I love you.

And yay for tomatoes! And peppers! Each year our piddly little garden is a little less piddly. I once read a tip in a gardening magazine in a waiting room or somewhere about putting used coffee grounds on the soil for composting. WOW, best tip ever. Since that seemed to work so well, we just put the rest of our food scraps out there too (you know, the normal stuff like peels and seeds).
Add a little princess charm and voila - more tomatoes than we know what to do with! I always thought that was the mark of a successful gardener - giving away heaps of things while saying, "we have so many, we just couldn't possibly use them all". It translates as "I'm such a remarkable gardener. Did I mention I was generous too?" Sorry, I digress. But hey, we got tomatoes.

And we had a birthday here. Mr. Incredible got a lemon cake on a special plate. He is one super awesome fantastic guy. Really. He works his little brain all day and comes home to his "housefull of honeys". Usually one of us is crying, but he somehow manages to act happy to be here. And he keeps coming home to this estrogen palace, so that's a bonus. It's really something to keep falling in love with the same man after all these years. We've both kind of changed, matured, had two new people enter our lives, and sometimes it's weird to think we knew each so long ago. Ya know, back when we drank cheap beer and slept till noon? Anyway, I never know how to appropriately celebrate the birthday for the love of my life, but we were together with Chinese food and a bottle of wine.

I think he was ok with that.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What to do?

While the parents were in town, mom and I hit up an estate sale. It was wonderful, but I was crying way too much. Not like sobbing or anything (not at the sale, anyway), but I kept getting way too emotional and had to wipe my eyes a few times as to avoid the raccoon look. When I see old & loved things at these types of sales, I start wondering who these people were/are, what their lives were like, what kind of parents they were, etc. I got this very old Bible which was tied with twine to keep it together.

And then when I got home, I opened it up to find...

1892?! Wow, I was really surprised. Then the tears came... Just thinking of how this Bible may have been used in several generations of souls. Was this a family of Christians, did they use this Bible to teach their children the Good News of Christ? You can see how it is broken into three sections above, the pages are very fragile and the cover is on the verge of completely disintegrating.
Anyway, I don't know what to do. I really am not the person to keep things for investments, increasing value, yadda yadda yadda. (Hoarding fabric for several years for a special project that may or may not reveal itself to me is a whole other story!) Should I get it bound so that it is usable? (Maybe it's way too fragile for that anyway?) Should I just put it away, even though that kind of drives me nuts? Any other ideas? Anything?

fabric hoarding!

So I feel like a real quilter now! I finally acquired my first Heather Ross. It was not easy... or cheap! :) They are so sweet. Not sure if I can make two quilts, one for each of my girls, or a big one for us all to share. Actually I just hope I can use them. This hoarding thing is beginning to creep in.
Speaking of hoarding...
I'm secretly hoping you have already moved on to another blog so I have less competition...
In the event you are still here, I guess I'll send you rachel's way. This is a killer giveaway. Good luck... I guess....

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quilt top done!

Yay! The quilt top is done. Sorry for the bad lighting. A very rainy and dark day here, not much natural light. I still have some white shirting left, so there may be some sort of border, but the major part of the top is done. I hope the recipient is liking the progress! Now onto designing a back with the remainder of the garments left. Usually I can whip out a quilt in no time, but I really feel nervous in between these major steps.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Mad Housewife

My parents were in town this weekend. Usually a tornado of activity, nothing is left untouched. My dad, who never ever drinks, bought this wine for me just because of the label. Hilarious! The back was funny too. The wine was actually very good. It was gone rather quickly. Yay for dads who buy funny wine labels!
He didn't know it, but boy, did I need it. The seam ripper has been very busy. Very.

Seriously?! I have been sewing for over 20 years and I can't put right sides together any more? It was one of those days where I thought I was on a roll, getting all my sashings done. Then when I stepped back to admire my hard work and pat myself on the back.... oh brother...

At least it was sunny out and I could rip seams whilst enjoying a summer day.

Isabella and I made some crayons from the scraps that were in the bottom of the basket. This was actually a great project for us. She was very happy to take off the papers and break them into little bits and fill up the cupcake trays. Bake 'em at 275 for 7-9 minutes and you have some pretty cool new crayons! I didn't have much luck using those flower molds for cupcakes and similar results with crayons - broken petals. Time to put 'em in the garage sale this weekend!
Guess we'll try the mini muffin tins next time.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


I just read SouleMama's post. Actually it was Papa's turn today. It was so beautiful. I've been inspired to pull out the journal and get writing. When I was dating hubby many years ago, full of love and goo, I would write poem on top of poem about him, love, people, you know.... And now I'm afraid that I've grown up into a normal grown up. House work, groceries, cleaning, normal adult things that are killing my creativity! I know these things are necessary and I just have to work harder at maintaining balance. I hear a little 3-year old asking me to play with her several times a day to which I usually reply "Just a minute", "As soon as I'm done with this", or "Please wait patiently". One of these days she might not ask me since she's getting rejected so much.
So I continue the daily struggle of priorizing a mama's duties. I'm praying that I can really improve on this. Dinner, dishes, and floors can wait. Little girls who like blueberries and tutus should come in ahead of the Swiffer. One day, Lord willing, my hands are going to be like this:
...and hopefully there will be a few marker stains or beaded bracelets to adorn them.

Friday, July 10, 2009


Isn't this just darling? The temperature actually got above 70 a few days ago, so we hit the pool. Well, actually it's a sandbox 90% of the time, but for a few gloriously warm days, we have a pool.

And I also accomplished a layout. Well, a first round anyway. There's a lot for the eye to take in, so I know this will be moved around quite a bit. Actually while the pictures were uploading (my least favorite part about blogging), I rearranged most of the squares. And if the recipient (you know who you are!) or anyone else for that matter has any suggestions, I am certainly open to them.

I think this one is my favorite. There are many favorites, but this one and I bonded very late one night. The center squares are from many pieces of a tie. Three of them were big enough to work with, but then I was left with eleventy million tiny pieces and a whole lotta willpower. The fourth square has at least 12 seams in it. And it only measures 1 1/2 inches. Every quilt has a story and I think this one could have a mini series!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The monkey and the table

Remember my little sock monkey experience? Well, the baby has been born (Hooray!) and here is her prize for being so darn cute.

And here's the back:

It's flannel and so soft! I was quite nervous about free motion quilting the flannel, but it was great. No problems at all. I decided to include a picture of the baby with her "stats" and satin stitch it to look like she fit in with the other monkeys. Clever, I know!! :) And the patch with ric-rak that you see just folds/flops on top of the picture. That way little cutie-pie can play peek-a-boo with herself.

And after many years, hubby and I finally broke down and bought our first table! (Double hooray!) I shant go into the horrific times of the other ugly table, getting cut and worry about tetanus and all. It was the table his uncle from Sicily made with his bare hands and they all grew up around this table, blah blah blah. Great story, but bad table.

Hellooooo, Norden! Anywho, new table means table runner. Quilters, rejoice! A quick, useful, beautiful project able to be done in a day!

I had a charm pack and fat quarter set purchased long ago just begging to be part of my everyday life. Now I don't have to worry about hoarding this beloved fabric since it greets me every morning. By the way, it is House by Annette Tatum. It's so beautiful and I love it, so of course it's probably discontinued or something tragic.

By the way, I did the binding by machine because I was so excited to get this baby together. But I really know deep down that it's only a matter of days before I'm picking it out and doing it by hand.

Monday, July 6, 2009

My First Quilt

Well, I just read Camille's post about looking back at our first quilts and thought it was such a great idea! Here is mine:

I took my first quilting class in 2002. I was newly married and had my first job as a recreation therapist in an assisted living facility. I really wanted to get the "little old ladies" there in a quilting group or something, but I had no skills. My mama taught me to sew at eight years old, but I had never done anything like a quilt. So I signed up for the sampler quilt class and a few months later, here it was.

Pretty sure it's not supposed to look like this! That top left rectangle should probably be a square. I have definetly learned to slow down and do each part of the process correctly - measuring, cutting, sewing 1/4", etc. Notice I did not say 'perfectly', just correctly. There's a big difference. Back then I was just doing it to get through each block, be done with it, and get to the next one. I have really learned to slow down and enjoy the long process that it can be.

So like yeah... Most seams aren't matching up on this block because I was hasty in my ways. Don't I sound like a 90-year-old? ;) But seriously, I was pretty much slapping squares together faster than I should have, especially for a newbie.

I believe this was the last block in the class sequence and I must say that it doesn't look too horrible. Those were some tiny squares going on there. I never got around to backing, binding, and quilting it. Actually those key things weren't discussed in my class, so I just kinda folded it up and put it on a shelf. It is now on the ever increasing list of things to do... finish the first quilt.

One of the most obvious things I have learned was fabric selection. The value and color make all the difference. I knew I liked the color blue, and I was supposed to select a certain amount of fabrics, but never took into consideration the scale of the print, the value of the hues, and how they coordinated. I pretty much went to Joann one night and bought the first 7 blue fabrics I saw. Now fabric choices consume my life, but that's another story!

And my latest quilt:

I'm still all about blue, but taking my time and being more thoughtful and purposeful about things as well. And I also made a couple kids to put on the quilts which make them look even better!