Thursday, January 31, 2008

A few of my favorite things

I love Flickr. I love that people post their pretty pictures up there for me to enjoy and be inspired by.

From left to right, top to bottom:

French knot sheep from incy | wincy, Alphabet sampler and Bee button from miss woolly's things, Log cabin pin cushion from moving hands, Stocking from make it snappy!, Pin cushions from Joanna's Scraps, Light and dark log cabin squares from twiddletails, crowns from SouleMama.

(Note the many log cabin items...I think I may have a crush. We'll see if it turns into anything.)

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The very talented Alex of Moonstitches has posted pictures from the 2008 Tokyo International Great Quilt Festival here on Flickr. The quilts are incredible even in the little pictures. I can't imagine what they look like in person.

(This little pic on the left is from her Flickr pool as well.)

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And here's a good way to waste time between Flickr surfing and blog reading:

A vocabulary quiz where each word you get right, 20 grains of rice is donated through the United Nations to help end world hunger. Saving the world can be fun!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Counted Cross Stitch, Part 4

Counted Cross Stitch C Monogram
Finished my little counted cross stitch monogram project. I think it's very cute and just need to find the perfect frame for it.

And I started on another cross stitch project. This time the whole alphabet – woohoo! Here is a screenshot:

Counted Cross Stitch Alphabet PatternLove making these in simple.

I was thinking maybe red on white but ended up using my ecru aida stash with some navy and a lighter blue.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Mini Post: Quilt-a-longs

Both Sew, Mama, Sew and Crazy Mom Quilts are planning quilt-a-longs in February. But don't get confused when you go visit Crazy Mom Quilts blog, as she is in the middle of another quilt-a-long right now but promises to start up the new one in a couple of weeks – this one featuring stars.

I've never done a quilt-a-long before so why not do both at once?

Sewing Machine Cover

Thanks everyone for your nice comments on my last post. I feel better about the quilt layout now.

Sorry about the photos in this post. The dark blue fabric just wasn't very photogenic.

Home made fabric sewing machine cover
I have wanted to make a sewing machine cover for a while. I don't like the hard plastic one that snaps onto the machine. It's very old and the handle is falling apart so I prefer to keep it in a closet.

Fabric for home made fabric sewing machine cover
I used left over fabric from other projects. The dark blue, light-weight canvas is from some valances I made for my old apartment (they were very modern/nautical looking with simple white sheers underneath). And the blue floral print is left over from cafe curtains I have in my office (very girly-girly).

In our current house I have both an office in a sun room and a sewing area in a spare bedroom. When we move, these spaces will be consolidated. I'm looking forward to that...having everything together. So I went with the blue fabrics since I knew that the sewing machine was going to be living in the same room as the cafe curtains at some point.

I just might be posting a tutorial on how I put this baby together. Stay tuned.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Quilt Design Process 4 - Please give opinions!

So I got some stuff done this weekend (including a new header above). Just as planned! I'll be posting on my progress throughout the week...

This is a screen shot from PhotoShop. I posted more about my quilt design process here and here and here.

I think I maybe have the final layout for my husband's quilt. I realized that the chosen fabrics didn't look so hot in any traditional quilt blocks. So I'm going a little Denyse Schmidt. Not all crooked, just boxy. Denyse Schmidt inspired, you might say. I'm diggin' it. And more importantly, the husband seems to like it (I showed him this screen and he said "Oh. Cool.").

What do you all think? I'm begging for feedback here! My concerns are that it's not going to come out as I envision it and that the quilt isn't balanced...or is it too balanced??? I guess I just have some jitters and would love to hear any suggestions or feedback.

My goal is to start cutting next weekend. Unless you all convince me to do something completely different!

PART 6 - First Block
PART 5 - Quilt Math
PART 4 - Give Opinions
PART 3 - Fabric
PART 2 - Inspiration
PART 1 - Palette

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mini Post: Gifts to Make

Sew Stylish's Gifts to Make was out before Christmas but I was on my unintentional blogging break. I just pulled it out of the magazine pile because I need to make some of these slippers. In crazy, funky, colorful fabrics too.

Lots of little crafty projects in here but I'm really looking forward to February when they are publishing Quick Stuff to Sew (keyword: quick).

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mini Post: Letterman Top 10

Top 10 Barack Obama Campaign Promises:

Gotta love the promise to not let Apple release the next iPod right after you just bought yours. Very funny!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Off Season Blues

Checked the Red Sox site today because the winter is cold and cruel. April 1st is the season opener against the Oakland, CA...on a Tuesday night! Do you know what this means?? Because of the time difference, the game starts AT MY BEDTIME!

So not fair.

This weekend I want to focus on getting some projects started and/or completed. So I probably won't be posting until Monday. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Crafty Space, Part 2

The Domestic Diva has an impressive collection of posts about sewing room organization. You're going to need some time to read through it all! Lots of great info, tips and ideas.

Here are her different topics:
Getting Started
Part I - Fabric
Part II - Thread
Part III - Needles and Stabilizers
Part IV - Laces, Trims and Ribbons
Part V - Sewing Library: Patterns, Embroidery Designs, Magazines and Books
Part VI - Notion Commotion

Photo: A corner of my craft room. From left to right, very old thread (too old to use)in a jar, safety pins, and very small button collection [note to self: find more buttons.]


Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Bloglines, Part 2

Now that I have discovered Bloglines, I can save all my favorite sewing and craft blogs that interest me and only have to click over to them when there is a new post. Since my last big blog post, I've added lots of new ones:

Betty Ninja
Bling On My Sewing Machine
Cotton Spice Blog
Craft Addictions
Creative Little Daisy
Dacia Ray
Feeling Stitchy
Glitter Goods
Hop Skip Jump
(Inside A Black Apple)
Inspiration Boards
Ivy Arts
le train fantôme
Liquid Paper
Little Red Caboose
Modern June
Modish Guest Blog
Mr. Monkeysuit
Naptime Musings
Not Quite Vintage
Orange Flower
Polka Dot Creations
Scissors Paper Glue
Sublime Stitching
The Domestic Diva
The Long Thread
The Sky Is Pink
Taylor Made Designs

(Go here to see the first list)


I've updated my "Favorite Links" section on the left to be truly my favorites. These are blogs that have maintained my interest for some time and have tutorials, great photography, interesting subjects, or something that keeps me visiting with every new posting.

Photo: picking out fabrics for a patchwork pocket on the Denyse Schmidt apron.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Crafty Space

I love poking around on Flicker. Some of my latest searches have been: : "cross stitch", "denyse schmidt", and "craft spaces". (I'm pretty boring if you can't tell.) The latter search is because I have been dreaming of what my new work space will look like once we buy our new house. In order to SELL our current home, I have had to keep my half of the spare bedroom pretty neat:

See image with notes here.

(I cleared off my 'inspiration board' right before the photo. Need to fill that up again!)

I use the dresser on the left for patterns, notions and fabric. WIPs are in another dresser on the right (not in photo).

I kinda like it this way though. All tidy. I get so annoyed when I have to move things a thousand times just to get a project done or it's my psychosis where I can't relax if things are out of sorts (more likely).

Does clutter induce creativity as is discussed in this New York Times article? Could I be more creative if I just let it all hang out? (I think my brain may be cluttered enough.)

And, boy oh boy, do I have big plans for that new work space! Fabric will be out of the drawers and onto shelves. Hopefully I won't go into fits if it isn't all lined up.

Monday, January 21, 2008

WIPs, Part 1

Not all that long ago (end of summer, maybe?) I got the urge to sew stuff. I was inspired by Threads and Sew Stylish magazines but then got really turned on when I started reading all the amazing craft blogs. I am proud to say that I did act on and finish SOME projects that inspired me on these sites. Some on, yes...completed, no. And here they are:

Used a pattern from Tiny Happy's Shoulder Bag Tutorial. I started this in September.

Poor Pointy Kitty! All sewn together but for your little back piece! From free Wee Wonderfuls pattern (among many others available through this link from the generous Hillary Lang).

And some little trees from Little Birds Handmade. I did finish three of these but wanted to make more for gifts...maybe next year.

I'm hoping that presenting these Works In Progress here will urge me to complete them. I can't have this post just linger on without a conclusion, right?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Denyse Schmidt's Quilt-It Kit in Borders bargain bin

Denyse Schmidt Quilt It Kit on saleThe projects in this kit are mostly a repeat of her other book, Denyse Schmidt Quilts. But at $4.99 it seemed worth it in order to get the few other projects. The kit came with fabric for the pillow on the front, a needle and some thread, and four new projects: All the Trimmings Scrap Balls, Run with it Table Runner, I Can See Clearly Now Eyeglass Case, and Back to Square One Pillow.

These projects and items come with the kit but aren't included in the book:

Denyse Schmidt Quilt It Kit found at Boarders BooksThe well-made kit would make a very nice gift for someone who is newly interested in quilting or a Denyse Schmidt fan. Or if you find it for five bucks!

Friday, January 18, 2008


I wasn't planning on posting today but I checked out my Bloglines and noticed that The Purl Bee has a tutorial on Sashiko! It's like they're reading my mind! And I love The Purl Bee's very clearly written tutorials -- and they have a ton. Now I guess I'll have to give Sashiko a real go.

And I'd also like to thank Peg at Ivy Arts for saying such nice things about my little Using PhotoShop to Aid in Quilting post. Her quilt is coming out great. I love the bright colors she is using...I keep going back to her blog just to look at this particular block.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Counted Cross Stitch, Part 3

I started my cross stitch "C" monogram and I'm loving it. I'm thinking of placing it in a round frame if I can find one I like. Maybe something like this:Hey, we're Irish. What can I say?

More embroidery goodness:
- Feeling Stitchy has a nice French Knot tutorial.
- Incywincy has some damn cute French knot sheep.

And some books on my wish list:

From left to right:
The Ultimate Sashiko Sourcebook by Susan Briscoe
The Cross Stitcher's Bible by Jane Greenoff
Small Scale Embroidery: In Cross Stitch and Other Techniques by Brenda Keyes
Elegance: Exquisite Doily Patterns Charted for Cross-Stitch by Annette Bradshaw and Gwyn Franson
Traditional Samplers by Brenda Keyes

I'll see how long this embroidery interest lasts before I invest in a new library though!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Counted Cross Stitch, Part 2

I did it! After lamenting that I had yet another project idea, I searched online for some patterns to make a simple monogram and boarder. And then I used the grid in PhotoShop as my base and created a cross stitch pattern of a "C" monogram.

I found my very old stash of aida cloth and some floss so I'm all set to start this very small, very simple cross stitch project.

The monogram is the
Traditional Alphabet Sampler PDF free from DMC.
The corner flowers came from
this pattern.
And I designed the other boarder myself.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Too Hot to Handle Oven Mitts are now off the list

Yay! I completed a project in 2008! These are the Too Hot to Handle Oven Mitts from the book Denyse Schmidt Quilts which I got for Christmas.

Technique wise, one thing I did differently from the instructions (unfortunately I realized it after quilting the first piece) is to start quilting horizontally first. This keeps the seams all nice and straight. I started quilting from top to bottom as she suggests and my patchwork looked very wonky. Then again, I'm not the best machine quilter.

I also added a binding along the bottoms rather than hemming them. I thought that this would look neater. And I wasn't into the fancy trim on her example.

And just to complicate things, I opted for a more patchwork-y look. I thought this would be a cinch but I I ended up having to make little templates for each piece.

Here is the inside view...I used some pink ticking that I have a ton of and have used in MANY projects (see "The Last Holiday Post, I promise", "Holiday Gifts", and my kitchen curtains which haven't yet made an appearance on this blog). Miss Schmidt recommends canvas for the interior but I didn't have any and when comparing it to my store bought mitts I didn't think I needed it. We'll see once I try to take a roast out of the oven!

Now, can you believe there was NO Flicker group for Denyse Schmidt projects? Well, there was one for a quilt-a-long but nothing for Everything Denyse. So, I started one! You can see the beautiful projects and join the group to add your own as well!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Counted Cross Stitch

It must be true that most 'crafters' have a very long wish list of projects and techniques they would like to do or try. My problem is my list is sooooooo long and I feel like I have very, very little to show for it. Especially in comparison to the creative output I see on blogs and Flicker. I need to stop dreaming and get doing!

My latest mini-obsession -but-haven't -done-anything -about-it is with counted cross stitch. I loved working on the cross stitch kits when I was a kid and then again about 10 years ago I attempted a Father Christmas kit...far too cumbersome! That miss-counted cross stitch project is now in a shoe box in the attic.

I've been seeing some very elegant and simple patterns that I'd like to try (ones without cuss words). Maybe a sampler. Maybe even some Sashiko. Maybe some monograms with boarders, matted and framed for Christmas gifts next year...hum...I'll add that to the craft list.

The image above is from

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Ok, ok, I know, I said no more holiday stuff...but this is for NEXT year. All the stuff I wanted to make or found too late:

• Very cool wine bottle bags from Under A Blue Moon.

Patchwork balls from Grand Revival Designs. I'll make mine with holiday-ish fabric for ornaments.

• The bird ornaments from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts

And just some more stuff I'd like to make:

• The oven mitts from Denyse Schmidt Quilts

• The elephant from Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts

Summer slippers from Lady Harvantine because my feet get hot in the summer but I like to be wearing something on them around the house.

• Sewing machine cover! Canvas maybe? Something pretty to look at.

• A small patchwork thing to hang on my wall. Using stash fabric that I really like to look at.

Above picture: Using a mask to help pick fabrics for my Too Hot To Handle Oven Mitts from Denyse Schmidt Quilts.


Saturday, January 12, 2008


I'm feeling better but today I still only sat around and surfed the web (between loads of laundry at least!) I have a craft blog obsession and fortunately I have discovered Bloglines. So rather than wasting time clicking though all of the blogs in my 'favorites', I can check Bloglines and it will tell me when my favorite blogs have been updated! This is absolutely the thing I needed without realizing I needed it.

And you can see what a time savior Bloglines is by viewing my list of blogs below. I thought I would share this list in hopes that you, my few dear readers, will share your favorite blogs – or your own blog – with me.

All Buttoned Up
Angry Chicken
Artsy-Crafty Babe
Beaded Forest
belle epoque
Chickpea Sewing Studio
Crazy Mom Quilts
Curious Bird
Grand Revival Designs
Handmade Detroit
Happy Zombie
Happy Things
Hello My Name Is Heather
House on Hill Road
How About Orange
I Heart Linen
I Knew That!
I've Got Bling on My Sewing Machine
If Sew:
Kirin Notebook
Laughing Daisies
Musings: Kristin La Flamme
My Imaginary Boyfriend Loves Me
My Little Mochi
Molly Chicken
Notes From My Nest
Oh, Fransson!
Pink Chalk Studio
Posie Gets Cozy
Quilt While You're Ahead
The Purl Bee
Reprodepot Blog
Sew, Mama, Sew! Blog
Shim and Sons
Simple Sparrow
Six and a Half Stitches
The Good Life
Tiny Warbler
Tree Fall
Twenty Cent Mixture
Two Straight Lines
Under a Blue Moon
Verry Sherry
Wee Wonderfuls
West Coast Crafty
Where’s My Scissors

And please leave a comment with your blog address or ones you visit often! Feed my obsession!!!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Ah Choo!

I wanted to make much progress on my planned projects this weekend but ended up with a cold instead. Haven't felt well all week so I've been watching DVDs instead:

- Entire 4th season of The L Word (OK)
- Started watching the first season of The Tudors (Looks like it will be pretty good.)
- Evan Almighty (eh)
- The Departed (Excellent! Four starts. Two of my thumbs up.)

And about to watch 3:10 to Yuma.

Hopefully I will have more to write about this weekend and into next week.

Made above bag with tutorial from The Purl Bee:

Plus fabric buttons and a pencil roll.


Friday, January 4, 2008

My Quilt Design Process 3

Now here's the fun part. I picked out my fabric, washed and ironed it. This is it all layed out on my drafting table:

You can see that the basic three colors of my initial palette are still there but I've added a few more colors: a lighter green, a brown. And the gray is only in the patterned pieces not as a more pronounced solid.

Because I am a web designer by trade I'm very comfortable using PhotoShop. So before I washed the fabric, I took digital pictures of each piece. In PhotoShop I open a new file that is the same proportions as my finished quilt and I use the grid to section off each block. I transfer each fabric swatch onto the layout, shrink it down, and crop it to the size of a full block:

Now I can duplicate the fabric layers and use masks to get the smaller block shapes:

I save the file over again and again with new names as I get new ideas. Or if an idea is just not working but I don't want to completely trash it. Like in these examples I'm questioning my initial inspiration to make every other block different. If I do continue down that path, I need to think more about which patterns are showing up where. Or I'll need to get more patterned fabrics. Or something!

I know that this won't look exactly like the final quilt because I end up making changes as I cut and sew the pieces. But by using this technique I can be confident that I am starting on a good path at least.

PART 6 - First Block
PART 5 - Quilt Math
PART 4 - Give Opinions
PART 3 - Fabric
PART 2 - Inspiration
PART 1 - Palette

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Last Holiday Post, I Promise

Made, hung and enjoyed the flag bunting that was very popular in craft-web-world this year. Over done by now? Perhaps. But I still like it.

Get the tutorial at WhipUp.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Holiday Gifts

In the scramble to get everything done in time for Christmas, I didn't take as many pictures of my projects as I would have liked. But here are a couple in-process pictures and one finished gift.

Woodland Elf Hat from Bend the Rules Sewing by Amy Karol. Made for my 3-year-old niece along with a purple fairy skirt. The yo-yo I used on the flower is the same fabric as the waist band of the skirt. The hat was very easy to make and the flower is super cute.

For my nephew and brother-in-law (who are BOTH six!) I made the Eddie Cap from the tutorial by Irene at Mushroom Villagers and a matching scarf. They came out really great. I am so sad I didn't get any pictures of these.

A note about the Eddie Caps: I made mine out of a dark gray corduroy and added a striped flannel lining to the top part. Also, I shortened the bill about an inch so it didn't hang over their faces as much. In seeing it on the boys, I think the extra inch would have been too much so I'm glad I decided to edit the pattern.

Stepping Stones Quilt for my mother-in-law. I really liked how it came out and wish I had taken a picture of the completed quilt. I didn't worry about lining up all the stripes in the striped pink fabric. It ended up looking homey that way but your eye still followed the stripes up and down the quilt.

Irish Chain Quilt for my grand-mother-in-law. The quilt is all quilted in this picture, I just needed to trim and bind. I used the dark green for the binding.

I'm not a New Year's Resolution kinda gal but I think I'll make one to be sure I take pictures of completed projects this year!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

My Quilt Design Process 2

Found the quilt picture that was inspiring me on my 'husband quilt' project! It's by Amanda Jean and you can see the picture of it at her blog, Crazy Mom Quilts.

It's an Irish Chain pattern but with lots of colors. I plan on doing mine with solid colors for the plain square blocks. For the patchwork blocks, I'll do nine patches, four patches and some triangle patterns. And these will be in stripes and plaids.

Her quilt inspired me because of it's bold colors and variation of the Irish Chain theme. The Irish Chain is usually seen with the same solid block and nine patch block over and over again.

Funny that Amanda Jean found her inspiration from Kirsten at KirstenCan blog!

(I like blog posts with pictures! But I didn't want to put up a picture of the quilt without the creator's permission. So you get a picture of our youngest cat, Izzy, instead.)

PART 6 - First Block
PART 5 - Quilt Math
PART 4 - Give Opinions
PART 3 - Fabric
PART 2 - Inspiration
PART 1 - Palette

My Quilt Design Process 1

The creative process is very interesting to me. What I am inspired by and the finished piece never jive completely. But instead, along the way, stuff happens, things change, or new inspiration strikes. Now that I'm starting a brand new quilt project, I thought I'd try to show where I get inspired and how the process effects the end result. And I would love to hear your ideas on the process and where you are inspired as well.

For my husband's quilt I knew I wanted to make it more 'manly' -- so no flower patterns. His favorite color is green so that is where the palette would begin. And I wanted to incorporate some triangles -- which I had never done in patchwork before -- but not too many because they can be difficult!

Here is the initial palette:

A little 'Irish flag' but once the colors were in patterns I thought that would be less noticeable.

(I am trying to find the initial quilt that I saw that inspired this design! As soon as I do, I will post it here with a link to the blogger's site.)

PART 6 - First Block
PART 5 - Quilt Math
PART 4 - Give Opinions
PART 3 - Fabric
PART 2 - Inspiration
PART 1 - Palette