Monday, March 31, 2008

Been done tagged again!

Wendy from the The Running Quilter blog has tagged me. Here are the rules:

1. Once you are tagged, link back to the person who tagged you.
2. Post THE RULES on your blog.
3. Post 7 weird or random facts about yourself on your blog.
4. Tag 7 people and link to them.
5. Comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.

Seven random things about me:
1. I hate playing sports and video games. Mostly because I stink at them. I think my hand-eye coordination is off.

2. I delivered newspapers when I was a kid. Not a fun job when you have to wake up early on a Sunday and lug those heavy issues through the snow. Uphill both ways.

3. I used to love to go shopping for clothes or whatever, but now I hate it. Thank you internet gods for online shopping.

4. Growing up I had a Lhasa Apso dog named Pansy, and a Siamese cat named Neko.

5. I have had seven teeth pulled. Three were baby teeth and four were molars.

6. I have never broken a bone...knock on wood and dance around the fire pit twice.

7. If I won the lottery I would travel a lot but in a nice slow manner. I'd want to stay for a while and get to know the places.

And on to the tagging...

1. Ms. Diary of a Suburban Twenty-Something
2. Ms. Betty Ninja
3. Ms. Canton Village Quilt Works
4. Ms. Tall Grass Prairie Studio
5. Ms. Heads Caroline, Tails California
6. Ms. Two Cold Feet
7. Ms. Rose-Kim Knits


Izzy in the old sewing room.

Ug, what a weekend. I moved my sewing room (pictures to come) and caught a cold.

So rather than the typical "what I did this weekend" Monday wrap-up post, here's a little list of what's going on outside of my cold-infested and disorganized blog world:

1. The Humming Cat is having a pincushion giveaway. Cute pincushion too, so go take a look and comment on her post by this Friday.

2. I've been enjoying visiting, voting on and submitting to Craft Juice this week. Most people submit their own work and mostly items from Etsy (so they are trying to sell it as well). And while those projects can be inspiring, I've been trying to balance it out a bit by submitting works from other people's blogs that I find inspiring or that have a tutorial. If the site is supposed to work like Digg, it should be about what's current and wonderful in the craft blog world right?

3. Rather than doing my very long Bloglines list, I thought I'd start just featuring one or two blogs on random posts. Getting swamped with a big list probably isn't going to inspire you to visit them, eh? And yet some of these craft blogs are really amazing.

So, for my first installment, may I present Little Bits 'n Pieces written by Tamara. She's currently blogging on raising her cute little kids, preparing to sell her house, and some really beautiful embroidery-enhanced patchwork. Go take a look.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Mini Post: PhotoShop Online

I use PhotoShop constantly to make graphics and tweak my photos. It's a very expensive program. The only reason I own a copy is because it relates to my profession as well (as a web designer).

But I can't imagine not being able to touch up my photos. Especially when they are shot a little dark or I want to crop them.

Well, Photoshop Express is a toned-down version of PhotoShop for FREE USE on the web. You alse get 2 Gigs of space to store your photos. (I haven't tried it yet. As soon as I do, I'll fill you in some more.)

If you want to go all out but don't have the cash for PhotoShop you can use a very similar but free program called GIMP. GIMP is an Image Manipulation Program that works a lot like PhotoShop but is free for anyone to download and use. GIMP is in constant creation by a team of developers who basically donate their time to offer this "freeware". (My husband really likes GIMP and he was afraid of it at first.)

So, go make your pictures pretty now that the resources to do so are F. R. E. E.

Moving the Sewing Room

The sun room was a sitting room for a while after we moved in but we never sat in it. So I converted it to my office and I'm still not in there a lot. Now I'm planning on converting it to my sewing room/office. I just need to figure out furniture and storage, pack things up and move everything.

The sun is REALLY BRIGHT in here and so it gets pretty hot in the summer. I made those bottom-half cafe curtains a few years ago. They have enough coverage for some privacy but not enough to tame the summer sun. Some panels that just stick to the top of the windows with velcro hidden above the window trim might do the trick.

I'm pretty sure that if my sewing room was moved to the sun room I would get more sewing in during the week as well. It's easy to slip into this room and still be engaged with what is going on in the house since it is on the first floor. My current sewing room is upstairs at the end of the hall...miles away from the hub of the house.

Casey enjoying the sun room.

I would love to get the move done this quickly but we'll have to see how the weekend goes. There's a lot of figurin' to be done before hand. I'll try to get some good before and after photos for you all.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mini Post: Craft Juice

I just found a new networking site for crafts. Very similar to, allows you to vote for, save, comment on, and email stories about crafts. You can also submit stories -- your own or your favorites from others.

I gave it a try and registered for a profile. I even submitted one of my own blog entries to try it out.

You can see my profile here

Or just get started voting for the great crafts featured:

More ways to have fun with crafts online rather than in the real, material world.

Civil War quilt decision

Thanks for all of your encouragement and a touch of reason (from Ms. Betty Ninja). My decision on whether to begin yet another project is still a bit wishy-washy. I'm going to try to make some real progress on Sean's quilt before I get serious about the Civil War quilt. But I may buy the book and begin contemplating putting it together...pick out some fabrics, some easy blocks to start with, etc.

The stack of fabric above is from Purl Soho and is for the Dear Jane quilt. A few of these look perfect for the Civil War quilt as well...see, I'm starting already!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Fancy Pants

Made my second pair of summer PJ bottoms this weekend. I got a bit fancier this time with different fabric cuffs and ties.

And continuing in my series of 'things I love about my house', here is a picture of one of our living room radiators. I love the radiant heat and the marble toppers.

To see my collection of photos of Things I Love About My House visit my flickr set.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dear Jane E-10, M-10, M-12

This weekend I decided to get a little ahead of the Dear Jane quilt group and do some of the easy blocks. This way, if I do end up falling behind the group a bit, I can rest assured I'm not too far behind. A way to keep me from stressing over something that should be fun and relaxing.

And I had fun doing these new ones... See how my plaids almost line up in the Five & Dime block?

And see the fussy cutting (framing pieces of the fabric pattern within the block) for the Simple Simon block?

And the addition of blue to this, so far, all red work for the Hopscotch block?

No one I know in the flesh would get excited about these blocks. I trust that in you, dear internet, I can find a few who will appreciate them. ;-) I love this place.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Red Sox in Japan

The Red Sox are playing the Oakland A's tomorrow morning at 6:05 AM ET. The 2008 opening game is being played in Japan which means there will be some early risers here at the Sew and Sox abode. I figure I'll get to watch at least two thirds of the game before I have to leave for work.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Civil War Diary and Love Letters Quilts

(Just to be clear these are NOT my quilt blocks. They are from a flickr group for the Civil War Diary and Civil War Love Letters quilts from these books. I'm also the admin for this group! Man, I love flickr.)

Do I dare start another project? I've been seeing these Civil War Diary and Civil War Love Letters blocks on blogs and on flickr and I just really like them. It's probably all the red.

OK, here's the list of what I'm working on already:
1. Dear Jane quilt-a-long
2. Sean's quilt (he's looking forward to having his own quilt and doesn't like it when I work on anything else!)
3. Hexagon quilt
4. Spring clothes - I'd like to make a couple of skirts and shirts. And more PJ bottoms.

OK, you tell me. Do I buy the book(s) and start? Or do I have too much on my plate as it is? Just remember I have a full-time job.

(You can click through to the individual CW blocks here: 1. Civil War Love Letters Quilt B10, 2. Civil War Love Letters Quilt B9, 3. Civil War Love Letters Quilt B8, 4. Civil War Love Letters Quilt A3, 5. Civil War Love Letters Quilt A4, 6. Civil War Love Letters Quilt A2)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I got nothin'

...just some pretty pictures.

These are old thread spools. They are from my grandfather's sister. After she died I helped my grandparents clean up her house and my grandmother gave me a lot of little things like this that were my great aunts. Most people probably would have thrown these out but I really like to have them.

Glass door knobs and tiny black and white tiles.

I'm going to work on a mini photo essay on things I love about my house. The sale of the house is on hold for now but while we were still planning it I was looking around and re-saw everything that I fell in love with when we first found the house five years ago. It's funny how you can 'go blind' to your surroundings once you've been there a while.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Dear Jane A-6, K-2

After all that hand sewing of the appliqués on the Dad's Plaids (A-7) block, I felt like doing some more Dear Jane blocks on the sewing machine. So I picked out two seemingly easy ones to do this weekend . (Coincidentally one of them was assigned this Monday by Anina.)

Uncle Homer (A-6) block: Used the same fabric as on Field of Dreams (D-13). It's a cross between a straight-up nine patch and a Four Corner Press.

Grandpa's Chickens (k-2) block: There is a lot of starch on this puppy. Each small block is about 3/4 of an inch finished. Lots of ironing, cursing and ironing some more.

This weekend I received my first ever online fabric order:

Red fabrics from Sew, Mama, Sew!(from left to right: Dots Red ~ Bee's Knees, Birds and Flowers Red ~ Williamsburg Centennial, Flowers on Red ~ Bee's Knees, Flowers on Cream ~ Williamsburg Centennial)

The package came very quickly from Sew, Mama, Sew! and I love the fabric. I was always worried that you couldn't really tell what you were buying from the small pictures on the web sites. But I am not disappointed.

I have another package of red fabric coming from Purl Soho as well! I think I have enough reds for the time being.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Mini Post: Giveaway over at Dutch Blue

Corry of Dutch Blue is celebrating her one year blogging anniversary. She is giving away a really cute basket she made (go see it, it's really cute like I said) AND she posted a tutorial on how to make your own. How nice is that?

Dear Jane A-7

Took me a bit longer to complete Dad's Plaids (A-7) block for Dear Jane quilt. I was just feeling more like machine sewing this weekend and this is mostly hand sewn.

I wonder if the author of the Dear Jane book will write another book someday explaining the names of these blocks. Dad's Plaids? Really?

A preview of ANOTHER new project (Completely inspired by Peony Stiches new project posted over on flickr):

I have a group of labels that I use for my posts (as most bloggers do). One of them is "Completed Projects"...hahahahaaaa!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Back to where I started

Way back in the infancy stage -- might even be considered the in-utero stage -- of this blog I stated that my expectations were to start sewing clothing for myself. Well then I found myself on about a million different craft blogs and I started making things...bags, softies, pin cushions. And lately I have been absorbed by quilts and patchwork.

I love working on all these different things but I think it's time I headed back to my roots! With spring just about here I think it's the perfect time for sewing cute skirts and pretty blouses. Winter clothes sewing is just more complicated with linings and heavy weight fabrics. Anyway...I got plans.

First on my list is one or two (or three or four) pairs of light-weight, short pajama pants. I NEED these. For sleeping in the summer, I end up with a, hopefully, long t-shirt and no pants. And then I try to walk around the house that way because it's hot and I'm just going downstairs to get some water. I need pants!

The cover of the pattern has both the words "easy" and "simplicity" on it so I was confident I would not swear while making these. And I did not, I swear.

(Simplicity Pattern 3947)

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Special Day

Today is my parent's 40th wedding anniversary! Honestly, I forgot to send them a card on time so this is my shout-out to both of them: Hi Mom and Dad! Love you!

And, wouldn't you know it, I can even make this sewing related.

My dad gave my mom a Singer sewing machine just after they were married. My mom generously gave it to me quite a while ago when she upgraded her machine. And I'm still using it. Even for machine quilting which it's totally not made for...they don't make 'um like they used to. This baby's solid.

Singer Sewing Machine

Friday, March 14, 2008

Tunes while you work

I like background noise when I sew. The TV is fine but I prefer music. But I'm bored with most of my music now. So I was very happy when I found Pandora Radio . Pandora Radio is a free online radio which plays music based on artists you like. Just type in the artist and they will play songs by that artist and others that are associated with. So if you dig Bob Dylan, they will also play songs by Townes Van Zant or John Prine -- artists you may not have ever discovered.

The Pandora Radio site says it best though: The site will "scan its entire world of analyzed music, almost a century of popular recordings - new and old, well known and completely obscure - to find songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice."

Perfect for sewing background music.

Enjoy your weekend!


I started a flickr group for two-color quilts and, while all are welcome, I have to admit that the red and white ones are my favorite.

1. "Stepping Stones", 2. Red & White Candy Cane Quilt, 3. March 2008 002, 4. hop skip jump 4, 5. White and Red Star Quilt, 6. Hawaiian Quilting Detail, 7. Geometric Red and White, 8. red & white logcabin blocks, 9. Kyrill

Go figure these are my Dear Jane blocks:

I'm not sure what inspired what...I guess it's a chicken and the egg kinda thing.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Quilt Design Process Part 7 - Moving Along

I finished SIX more blocks on Sean's quilt. Considering up to this weekend I have done only two, this was a big leap forward. Now, full disclosure, four of the blocks used the same fabrics... but still!

I was not crazy about how the green was working in the above blocks. But when I put them next to the other completed blocks, they looked pretty good. (That photo did not come out well at all...I'll try again when I get a sunny day.)

Sean likes maps and globes (nerdy history guy that he is) so when I saw this orange fabric I knew it would be perfect for the quilt. It's thematic but not over the top at all.

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

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dear Jane B-1, C-9, D-13

Saturday was a dreary day around here...rainy and overcast. "Overcast" isn't even a strong enough word for how dark it was outside all day. Fortunately, weather like that is relaxing to me. I don't feel compelled to be outside for any reason so I stay in and do what I want without guilt.

Last Thursday's assignment in the Dear Baby Jane quilt-along was "Jane's Tears". I had so much fun doing the reverse appliqué that I went ahead and did "Bachelor Buttons" as well. I'm really digging hand sewing blocks. (The reverse appliqué technique is so neat! The red fabric is on top of the white fabric. If you're interested, you can see the technique here.)

And I also did this Monday's assignment, "Field of Dreams"...this one machine sewn:

I created a new flickr set just for these blocks so I can see them all lined up. It's great to see how the blocks are working together.

Monday, March 10, 2008

RIF: Reading is Fundamental

Not much time to post today. But I did get a lot accomplished this weekend (more on that this week). I even made it to the library. I was asking around for technique books to help with the Dear Jane quilt when it finally hit me that I have a library card. And the library has books with information in them.

I also took the plunge and removed the binding from my Dear Jane book. I realized that the book was very cumbersome for template tracing, referencing blocks, etc. as a paperback so it now lives in a binder. And I'm even saving my finished blocks in the plastic sleeves that hold the pages. I am so organized now!

And I went pro on flickr. I paid the yearly fee and now have many more options for organizing my photos. (There's that 'organizing' word again.) My collection of photos has grown a bit and finding what I want was getting cumbersome. Now I'm all about collections and sub sets -- flickr-pro talk.

See, I told you I did a lot this weekend! Project pictures to come but here is a preview:

Friday, March 7, 2008

Quilt Giveaway!

Not from me but from Dana at Old Red Barn Co. blog.

She is giving away a beautiful quilt for her 200th post...she's not there just yet but almost. So go visit her blog, sign up for the contest (once it's rolling), and -- if you are really my internet friend -- you'll mention that you came from 'Sew and Sox'. I'll then get EXTRA ENTRIES into the give away. (Just ignore that this works against you winning the quilt for yourself.)

Edited to add:
Turns out I misread the rules. The mentioning thing only works if you don't have a blog to post the contest on.

Now, go win a quilt!

Thank you

This pile of goodies is from Jessica of the Heads Carolina, Tails California blog. She was getting rid of some of her stash and offered it up to anyone who wanted it. My stash is pretty small so I took her up on it.

And this pile is from AJ of the Life at AJs blog. Another destash attempt which made it's way to me. This is not even everything she sent to me. See those two red fabrics at the top of the pile? They are perfect for the Dear Jane blocks I'm working on.

And finally I'd like to thank Pamela of Coquet's Cache for tagging me. I resubmit my previous tagging post to cover the rules (is that legal?).

Thank you Jessica, AJ and Pamela!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Multiplying Like Little Bunnies

I'm still plugging away on my hexagons. It is so relaxing working on these. I get a lot done in one sitting -- more then I thought I would. And I get to work on them while watching TV so it is one crafting project that I do regularly during the week.

I'm considering a layout like this:

But I have a ways to go before I even have to consider a final layout.

And the title of this post...multiplying like bunnies? I have had to expand my plastic shoe box organizational system to TWO boxes:

Edited to add:
I should note that I first saw the clothes pin idea on this photo on Flicker by Alex of Moonstitches. She is making a very large star quilt...her fabrics are just beautiful. Her blog is also really nice...gorgeous projects and photos.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Dear Jane B-13

Kinda a Nine-Patch but with teeny corner squares (1.25 inches raw) which were a b****h to sew on the machine. I chose a fabric with a larger motif to frame in the center. But not too centered, ya know, on purpose.

I think this quote is going to be very inspiring to me during this process: "Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." - Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame)

See more B-13s here.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Dear Jane Fabric

I've been a bit nervous about participating in the Dear Baby Jane quilt group. I'm a novice, at best, so I'm sure I'm in over my head. Just going to the store to buy the fabric was causing me stress.

I'm also cheap when it comes to fabric. I buy from the clearance pile, the remnant bin, and what's on sale. Goody for me that a certain large craft chain was having a sale on fat quarters ($1.00 each!) this weekend.

I've calmed down a bit now. I have a pile of red fabrics, my Dear Jane book, and a helpful bunch of people to answer my silly questions.

First block is B-13. Looks simple enough...whew.