Saturday, December 28, 2013

Old UFOs finally finished in 2013 - Including my first quilt

Just like it took me forever to get around to getting these two quilted and bound, it took some time to get pictures and post them.  I don't know about you, but 2013 was pretty busy up in here.

This is a quilt that I got from the 2010 Spring Issue of Quilts & More.  So, it took me 3 full years from start to finish!  I chose colors that were a lot like the cover of the magazine, in part because it was my first finish and I wasn't really trusting in my ability to choose something else on my own.

I am thrilled with how it came out and it can now be used by my family.  Of course, it won't be white for long, but it will get used!

The second is a pattern called Off the Rail by Jaybird Quilts.  I used an Anna Griffin fat quarter bundle that I got a quilt market a few years ago and it's going to a new home.

This quilt is being donated to my cousin's auction, she is raising money for her first IronMan competition.

This was the first quilt that I pieced the back for instead of being all matchy-matchy and making the entire back out of one fabric.  I LOVE how it came out.

I'm finishing up my what I hope will be my first finish for 2014, a quilt I started a mere 9 months ago for our guest bedroom.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Sewing my heart out for my first show!

I am frantically sewing to make sure I have enough for my first juried craft show.  I like saying "juried" so you don't get this picture in your mind of crocheted afghans and popsicle stick ornaments.  Of course, I love crocheted afghans as much as the next girl, but it makes me feel great that there was an application process and I actually got in.  Is that sad?

I've got a ton of these goodie bags that are perfect for small gifts or gift cards.  Time to make some cuddly baby blankets.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Etsy Shop Update & My First Juried Show!

I can't believe I haven't done a post about this yet!  When I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 miler back in April, I bought a headband at the expo there.  I've never been able to find one that actually STAYED in my hair AND held my hair back.  This one did.  But I paid $15 and I realized that I could easily sew them myself and better yet, I could use vintage ribbon.  Yahtzee!

Here are what they look like.  You can find them in my Etsy Shop here.

Here's the best part!  They will be featured at my FIRST CRAFT JURIED CRAFT SHOW!  It's Saturday, November 16, 2013, at St. Peter Claver Church in West Hartford, CT.  Much, much more to come on that.

I also started a running blog, which you can find at The Reticent Runner.  I'd love to see you there!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Sock Monkey Square Dance - Say that 10 Times Fast

This is the third quilt I've made in this pattern.  It's Square Dance by Bits 'n Pieces.  It goes together SO quickly and it looks so fantastic.  I made this for my friend and personal trainer who is having her FIFTH baby.  Yowza!

I used an all yellow chevron back, and I love that this pattern only needs one WOF for the back, so 1 1/2 yards does the whole thing with no need to piece.

It uses eight fat quarters and a 1/2 yard for the back.  She's not sure if she's having a boy or a girl, and I thought these bright colors were gender neutral.  I love the bright colors anyway.

 Here it is all folded up with my label.  I love my labels.

Only one more baby quilt to go and I can get back to working on three other WIPs at once!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Green Living Market Bag - the perfect quick gift

I went to a great Farmer's Market last weekend with a friend.  When I got there she said "do you need a bag?  I brought a bunch."  Except, that she had the recycled shopping bags from the grocery store.  So when I got home, I immediately got to work making this for her.  It is, in my opinion, the PERFECT shopping bag, and a perfect gift.  It's the Green Living Market Bag, by BariJ.  You can get the pattern from her directly.  It sews up in about 1 1/2 hours (including the cutting), and it looks like a million bucks with your farmer's market haul sticking out of the top.

I actually had these fabrics out on my table for another project, and knew they would look great for this bag.  I didn't think to try to get the diamonds to go perfectly up the center of the handles, which is why they're off a bit, but they're close enough for me!

I got to use a bit of vintage ribbon from my stash...

And here's the best folds up and the ribbon wraps around and it looks like a gift when you hand it to someone.

This pattern was designed by my dear friend Bari Ackerman, of BariJ.  She currently designs fabric lines for Art Gallery Fabrics and writes THE BEST patterns.

What is your favorite sewn gift to give?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ally's Tumbler Lap Quilt - long time UFO  I have so many UFOs.  This was one of the quilts that I took to my aunt to long-arm quilt for me.  I got all of the red, white and black fat quarters during a shop hop...dear lord...was it THREE summers ago??  This was the first quilt I cut using my Accuquilt GO cutter and then the pieces just sat and sat.

My daughter LOVES to have a quilt on her lap while she watches TV, and she had actually forgotten that I was making this for her.  She's very happy with the finished product.

She was willing to pose for a few shots. Gotta love that summer, unbrushed hair look.

The back is some Anna Maria Horner Innocent Crush that I just love.  I have a ton of red fabric, and it is amazing how broad the spectrum of red can be.  This was the perfect color for the back.

The binding is some of the first fabric I ever bought...years and years ago from Jona Giammalva's Fabritopia.  It's Mary Englebreit bowls of cherries.

I found out about two friends having babies in the last week, so needless to say the next two quilts you'll see will be baby quilts.  One boy and one girl.  Wondering if I should do the same quilt in different colors?  Likely I'll just use it as an excuse to buy more fabric.  Which I do not need.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Last Two Mystery Designer BOM Blocks!

What seems like LONG after a year ago, I finally finished my last two blocks for the 2012 Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Designer BOM quilt.  It was actually June 25 when I finished the first block last year.

What I liked most about this block was the HST made from one triangle, and the other side having a split triangle.  They were fun to make. ("County Fair" by Julie Comstock for CosmoCricket)

I'm not sure if Fat Quarter Shop saved this block for last on purpose, but MY GOD were there tiny pieces in the pinwheels in the corners!  ("April Showers" by Sweetwater)  The whole thing all assembled is only 3 1/2" across.  The toughest part was sewing them together with the really thick centers from all of the layers.  I hesitated trimming because there was so little fabric to begin with.

I've got a bunch of other projects to finish and two baby quilts to make before I can do all of the filler pieces to this quilt.  I think this will be my winter opus this year.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Not only am I still alive, I actually finished something!

I am finally coming up for air.  May and June were just crazy for me at work and at home.  But I was able to take a four day weekend for the 4th of July and I'm back into a more normal routine.  I even got to work on one of the my Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Designer BOMs that I have left.

This is 11 of 12, County Fair, by Julie Comstock of Cosmo Cricket.  There were a few new things that I did in this block that were fun.  The four corners have half square triangles, that then have another triangle placed horizontally across.  I love the look of those!  I also didn't get my center seams lined up just right on the first try and I'm very happy I ripped it out and re-did.  The center is just right now.

What took up all of my precious little sewing time in May and June was my super double top secret project.  Here is a super mega close up, which is all I can share.  But I LOVE the way the project came out and I can't wait to share more.  I learned a lot about working with linen...which I'll share when I can do a bigger reveal.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Top Secret Project

I must admit, I love having "top secret" projects.  I am helping out Quilt Dad (aka John Adams) with something, and I am absolutly in LOVE with it.

He sent along these Joel Dewberry prints, and for the first time, I also get to work with Robert Kaufman linen!

I'm looking forward to sharing it with you when it's done, but this is what I can share now.

Aren't they beautiful?  Aren't you just dying to know what it's going to be???

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler - I did it!

I can't believe that it's been over two weeks already.  But I had to wait for the photos to arrive to properly describe my recent success story.  On April 7, I ran the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run with my cousin in Washington, DC.  Not only did I run it, but I finished, and I ran across the finish line smiling. It felt absolutely amazing.

For those of you that have followed my blog, you know that I am not a very experienced runner.  I started running on December 2, 2011.  I started running because for my entire life, I told myself I COULDN'T run.  That I had a lung "thing" and I just couldn't get the breathing right.  I had some fabulous women, including my cousin (who is a tri-athlete by the way) encourage me, and support me through all of the whining and complaining as I slowly became a "runner" over the last 15 months.

I don't look like I'm suffering too much, do I?  (to be fair...I didn't include any of the photos where I look like I was about to die).

I knew this race was a HUGE accomplishment for me, so every time I saw the photographers along the route, I hammed it up like crazy.

We averaged just under an 11 minute mile.  Not a land speed record by any stretch...but I did it, and I felt, on that day, like I could set any goal and achieve it.  A most amazing feeling.

Here we are, crossing the finish line. Running AND smiling.  Not bad for a girl (who am I kidding, 42 year olds are not "girls") who could barely run 30 seconds at a time just last December.

Now, I LOVE running.  It's a permanent part of my life.  I feel better, I am significantly stronger, and I am in the best shape of my life.  The next time you tell yourself you "can't" do something, think again.  You can do anything you put your mind to.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Designer BOM #10

Can you believe it?  Ten months have gone by ALREADY?  How does this happen, the time flying by like that?  It is really fun to look back at the blocks as I add each new month to the pile.  Some I remember because of what else was going on in my life at the time.  Some for what the weather was like.  Some because I screwed them up and had to un-sew or completely re-cut parts.  A really nice way to mark the passing of a year.

This month's block is by Minick and Simpson called "Sunday Drive".  It uses this fabulous red houndstooth fabric that I LOVE.

I can also very clearly notice my improvement in technique as the months go by too.  I'm happy with my points, and how everything lines up, and most of all, that after a very tiny trim, I actually have a 12.5" square!

I've already started cutting my next big project.  It's a quilt for our new guest room from Quilts Made Modern by Weeks Ringle & Bill Kerr.  My first solids quilt.  I can't wait to show you all some progress.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Redemption! Amy Butler Origami Bags

After the Cosmo Bag debacle I bravely decided to try another pattern in Amy Butler's Style Stitches book.  I had to redeem myself, and I had a gift to make for a friend.  I used some of Violet Craft's Peacock Lane and some of my hoarded Tula Pink Neptune.  Loving the pink and black together, very 80's feeling.

My pictures are a funny color, it was actually really sunny outside, but these are the bags I made.

I made the "mini" size and the "medium" size.  The bags I use the most are one for pencils and eyeliners and such and the other to hold all of my other makeup.  I was very happy with the sizes I chose.

I used more of the upcycled sheets I got on Etsy for the insides.  They open up nice and wide, and I like to use light colors on the inside of bags so you can see what's inside.  I found that if you use dark colors it's hard to find stuff at the bottom of the bags.

I am SUPER happy with the way these came out.  The patterns were very well written, with lots of pictures that were helpful.  These I would agree, were "Easy".  I would guess they took me about 2 1/2 hours to make, including cutting time.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Swimming in my own ScrappyTripAlong Lane

It was only seven weeks ago...but it feels like so much longer than that.  I started my Scrappy Trip Along quilt  and did my first post in mid-January.  I started it on a whim on Sunday...when for whatever reason, I thought "what the heck, I've only got 4 million other things I'm supposed to be doing". 

But here it is, early March, and my top is done.  I did a nice, manageable 16 block version.  Not the amazing, giant 32 block ones I see in the Flickr group.  With this project, as with the rest of my life these days, I am working VERY hard at swimming in my own lane.  Competing with no one.  Comparing myself to no one.  Setting my own goals, and then going after them.

It's worked well for me so far.  I've finished tons of sewing already this year.  Stuff that I wanted to sew.  Stuff that makes me happy when I look at it.  The other huge benefit from moving through life this way, is that I tend to get much less stressed out, and actually enjoy what I'm doing.

Of course, even after all of my crazy moving and re-arranging of squares, now that I see it put together there are spots I would change.  I love it, though.  In all of it's scrappy imperfection.  Just like me.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Fat Quarter Shop Mystery Designer BOM #9

For those of you who were wondering...yes, I am still alive.  The new day job I took at the end of October has really heated up, I've had 2 sick kids and a few snow days thrown in for good measure.  My sewing time suffered terribly!

But last weekend I managed to squeeze in Block 9.  It's called Lakeside Retreat, but Joanna Figueroa of Fig Tree Quilts.  It was one of, if not the most complicated piecing blocks so far.  I am very happy with my progress and the improved sharpness of my points.

My blocks are getting closer and closer to the target 12 1/2" square every month.  Progress is good!

Here is the best part!  As a treat to myself, for weeks of hard work, I broke down and bought both the finishing kit AND the backing kit for this quilt.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Scrappy Trip Along #2 - still not done

Two whole weeks have gone by and all I have to show for it is 6 more Scrappy Trip Along blocks.  Now, to be entirely fair, I cut and laid out all of my strips and realized I didn't have enough to even make the small 16 block quilt, so I ordered a scrap bag.

This was my first scrap bag purchase, and there a positive and a negative to that.  It's positive that I chose a recent line of fabric to use, and I could FIND the scrap bag I needed on Ebay.  The negative is that many of the strips inside were JUST barely 2", and not wide enough to use for this project.  Had I spent a lot of money (I spent $11),  I would have been very unhappy.  Thank god there was enough for what I needed.

Here are my twelve blocks laid out so far.  Of course, I'm sure I'll be rearranging them a 100 times before I sew them together.  This is the layout that was on the original tutorial, with the smaller diamond patterns.

This is the version with a large center diamond that grows wider towards the outside.  This version looks more like an optical illusion to me.  I've liked some others I've seen with this layout, but I think I'll stick to the original multi-diamond version.

Four blocks this rate, one more week.  I'm going to know when to say when and do the lapsize 16 block size.  I can't wait to see it all together.

Which layout do you like better?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fat Quarter Shop Mystery BOM #8

This is the 8th block of 12.  Fat Quarter Shop has already listed the Mystery Designer BOM for 2013.  Thank God.  I might just die when we got to the 12th month otherwise.

This block is called Lime Sherbet, and is designed by Bonnie Olaveson ( and Camille Roskelley ( 

I'm satisfied with how much points look.  It does help that the HST sizes are bigger.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Scrappy Trip Along 1-6

I couldn't help myself.  When I started to see all of the pictures surfacing on Twitter, and blogs, and Flickr and Pinterest...I had to start myself a Scrappy Trip Along (pattern from Quiltville Custom Quilting's Blog) quilt.  The best part is, I'm using left over Kate Spain Central Park pieces from two jelly rolls that I used to make another baby quilt with!

These are my first six blocks, the picture is kind of hot at the bottom, but it shows how the lighter colored blocks overall look against the darker ones.

I have to say, that I LOVE the layout of these four will be so much fun to lay them out when I finish all sixteen!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Painfully close to TWO YEARS ago, I did a post about buying an Accuquilt machine and that I had cut the pieces for a tumbler quilt for my daughter.

Today, I actually finished the quilt top, and I'm calling it a success for two reasons.  One, is that I consider this my second finish for 2013 (because I'm not going to quilt it, someone else is) and two, because it's a UFO.  Finishing up started and abandoned projects is one of my top two goals for this year.

I got a bunch of red, black and white fat quarters while I was doing a shop hop a few years ago to match the dalmation minky that Ally picked out.  It's a nice lap size about 36" by 48".

Finishing up UFOs goes a lonnnng way in relieving my guilt when I start spur-of-the-moment projects like the scrappy trip along quilt.  I have two blocks of the 16 done so far, and two more laid out and ready to sew.  I can't wait to share that one.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Holiday In London Duffle Bag - Starting the Year off with a BANG

At first I thought this would be my final project of 2012, but I enjoyed New Year's Eve with my family and finished this off today.   I made this bag for my daughter as a new overnight bag. She's been using a backpack that's just way too small, and not nearly stylish enough.

This is the Holiday in London Duffle Bag pattern by my dear friend Bari J.  As with all of her other patterns, this was well written, with helpful pictures, and a really good amount of explanatory detail.

I used some Tammis Keefe cat print that I had been saving for just the right project, and I think it's great for a girl's bag, that not to childish looking.  I think she'll be able to use this for a long time.

With the long strap

A few things I learned while making this pattern.  First, the type and quality of fusible fleece that you buy is SERIOUSLY important.  I made the long strap with a thicker version of fleece and it made it nearly impossible to turn the sides in 1/4" to press them before folding the strap in half.  The result was a too-thin strap.  I will be re-making that for sure.

Another learning with this bag is just how important it is to trim.  With so many layers, I had to pin like crazy and still some of the seams were not as straight as I'd like.

Finally, there were so many layers in some spots that I literally had to turn my wheel by hand to get the needle through the fabric.  (This was a great tip I learned from another of Bari's patterns).  If I let the machine try to stitch through all those layers, the needle just jammed.  By hand turning, I could get through the 4-5 stitches that were just too thick for the machine.

I am very happy with the way the bag came out overall.  I didn't realize that I had bought a goldtone zipper and silver hardware.  This is my biggest beef with how the bag came out overall.  On the plus side, the zipper opens nice and wide because of how long it is, so you can easily fill the bag, and see the inside (which ALSO has pockets!).

Things I didn't take pictures of, but are important to note...the whole bag is lined.  I used a pink and white houndstooth vintage sheet that I bought from an Etsy seller that was PERFECT.  I think using a light color inside will make it easier to find things.  It also has a hard bottom insert to keep the bag looking firm and sturdy.

Overall, this pattern gets an A+.  I will be making more for the other kids to be sure.