Thursday, March 31, 2011

Decal love

We're settling in at the new house starting to tackle a few of the nice to haves. This past week, we've had family visiting and I decided to take advantage of some extra hands and put them to work.

When we moved in my daughter asked for her room to be painted pink and purple. She's 4 and is in that phase.. I wasn't feeling the pink and purple love so I decided to order a decal set from etsy. I scoured around and found a beautiful set of trees from Urban Walls. I'm so pleased with the result!

Have you tried wall decals? I'm most happy with how graphic the black tree trunks looks against the wickham grey by Benjamin Moore. (Colour inspired by this post at Posie Gets Cozy!!)

This was a lot of pieces to cut apart, place, rub, and peel. So glad I had family to help!

- Donna

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Since I have 4 quilts in progress which are all at a standstill awaiting various components to arrive, and since that is more than I have ever had on the go at one time, I couldn't bare to start anything else. I did pull the fabrics for #6, but that was as far as I let myself get with that. Instead, I sorted my scraps, as I have been meaning to do for a very long time. I can't remember where I saw this idea, but I liked it when I saw it and I like it even more now! It makes getting at my scraps exponentially easier than my previous storage (crammed into one bin that was too small to house them all.) Now, when I want a certain color, I can just grab what's in the pouch, dig through until I find what I want and stuff it all back in there when i'm finished. Perfect. I (the Mr.) hung it on the inside of the closet door so that it is easily hidden by closing the door. Again, perfect! Did I mention it was $2?
Once that was finished, I moved on to my stash. The situation is getting a little bit out of hand. I can't fit much else on that vintage potato chip rack! A normal person would destash, but I've never claimed to be normal! I can't let go of any of it and I kind of treated myself to some new fabric on Friday...oh where will I ever put it when it arrives? I'm sure I'll figure it out somehow!

Where/how do you store your stash? Are you good at destashing? How often do you destash? What do you do with the fabrics you're ready to part with?


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mod Mosaic ...I'm Queen Bee...

Sara has inspired me with her fantastic blocks in the Sew Modern Bee....everyone's blocks are turning out so well, and I can't WAIT to see the fantastic quilt when it's all's going to be awesome...who's it for, Sara?

I have my fabric all cut up and ready to go...I'm planning a graduation gift for my sweet little niece, who is set to graduate this May (the quilt will be late!!). She's almost 18, and was just here for a visit. We had such a fantastic time, with lots of shopping, tea, and a bit of a culinary world tour (she's from a small town...I was broadening her horizons). It was a good bonding time and I'm so glad she was able to come and hang out with me.

This is her, at a coffee shop getting caffeinated before we hit the National Gallery. Isn't she the cutest?
I instantly fell in love with Elizabeth Hartman's Mod Mosaic quilt she just finished for charity.
The tutorial describing the technique seemed pretty straightforward. While I love her all-blue version, I have in mind something a little more colourful. After some discussion back and forth with my lovely co-blogger, Sara, and my friend Holly, I had a plan. I am asking for blocks that are all one colour, and I've made up packets of fabric in blue, red, yellow, orange, pink, green and purple. I plan on setting them against Kona Coal, and have a plan for the back....

I whipped up a test block in blue to try and get a sense of the amount of white fabric to send to help the Sew Modern Bee members build the 'grout' of the tile block, and I'm pleased with the results. (also, please note the quality of the new sewing room has not one but TWO good sized windows.!!)

Instead of sending detailed instructions for the members, I'm doing it here...

1) Make the block as big as you want with the fabrics provided.

2) Feel free to add in any modern prints in the colour family of your block.

3) Go as wonky as you want, as long as the edges are square, we're all good.

4) Click on link above for tutorial.

5) Have fun!

Not too many rules..improv is the best!

- Donna

Monday, March 14, 2011

A little more finishing and a lot less starting

I know I said I just had to add the binding to another strip quilt and it would be all finished, but I kind of don't like the binding choice, so while I percolate on that, I decided to jump in to not one, but two more projects (on top of my bee quilt - eeps!). I rarely ever start another quilt before I finish the one I'm working on, so we'll see what kind of precedent this sets. Anyhow, here are some shots of what's been swirling around in my head (doesn't it always feel so awesome to get those swirling projects out and in progress?!):

First up on the cutting mat, an all yellow wonky stars quilt. I cut out a whole bunch of pieces from most of my yellow fabrics. I started with 5" squares and had the bright idea to hack them in half. About half way through that brainwave, I realized I'd be better off leaving them as full squares so that I'd have more room to be as wonky as my heart desires. The polkadot squares you see at the bottom will be the center for each and every star. In my mind's eye, the yellow stars will look more like the sun because I already have my heart set on naming it "You are my sunshine." I guess if that doesn't go as planned, "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" also has a nice ring to it!
And since I don't have enough white in my stash (how is that even possible?!), that project got shoved aside and out came these fabrics for the long awaited fishy strip quilt, completely inspired by these little bits of sweetness. Again, I'll need to secure some solids to mix in with these (and lots more just like them) strips.

One more thing to report, I received an email from a friend lastnight announcing that she's expecting! Six just turned into seven. It's a baby boom and I am not complaining!

Do you have any projects swirling around in your head just waiting to be put into action?
Do you let them swirl or are you a sketch book kind of crafter?


Sunday, March 13, 2011

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore

Another baby quilt down. That brings the tally 2/6. Thankfully all of the moms-to-be are all due no earlier than the summer, so it gives me some time to work my way up to 6.
I have another strip quilt ready to put the binding on...once I make the binding, that is. Also, I did some cutting yesterday for what should be #4 of six, but it's a wonky star pattern and that may get set aside if I need some instant gratification and interrupt the program with another strip quilt or some patchwork. I do have a stash of charm packs on the ready for when the mood strikes!
So this is the quilt where the walking foot made it's maiden voyage. Love that thing! It took a bit to get used to (first strip or two) and before I knew it, I had the pedal to the metal and the thing was all quilted! I mixed in a little bit of loopdy loos on the solid strips to add a bit of interest. I was nervous to try the loops, but they were really fun! This could definitely be my quilting pattern of choice for an entire quilt.

Ashley also has the strip quilt bug. The Mendocino was purely coincidence as I was inspired to cut into my stash after doing a swap with Tong, but now that I see her version, I wish I would have added a few smaller strips of different colors in for some variety. I am happy with this little quilt, though. It was a quick finish and right now, that's what I need!


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Bee Blocks and Woes

My sewing room is finally set up enough up to sew...I decided it was high time to get my Feb block done for the Sew Modern Bee, and while I was at it I sewed up my March block as well.

I'm a little ashamed to reveal my Feb block...I missed on the symmetry, I boffed when I went all crazy cutting the squares and cut the 4.5" blocks that should have been in the corners. I had to add in a different cream and red print to make up for it...I trimmed as I went along and surprise, surprise, my block ended up too small. This has been a constant problem...rectified some months when I could just add up a border. Tong had to make my block into a mug rug it was so teeny. (Cute as all get out and I'm glad she could use it for something, if not its intended purpose).

I asked Sara, 'cause she's my sewing guru, about what I may have gone wrong..she told me consistent seam allowances, lots of steam...I feel I did that....but to not avail. I think I just need to keep practicing. Sorry Michelle if this block doesn't work out.....Mug rug?? Penny on Sewtakeahike posted this week about messing up bee blocks...good to know I'm not alone (although her block still looks pretty great to me!)

Not to be discouraged, I pushed on and tackled Sara's quilt block for March. Completing this block confirmed what I have long suspected. Improv is more my style. I made it up as I went along, had a ball, and am pleased with the results. The process got my wheels turning towards April, 'cause it's my turn to be Queen Bee....I'm making plans and hope to work on cutting fabrics up this weekend. I'm going to be attacking my colour coded scrap bins and am planning a scrapbuster....stay tuned!

- Donna

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Instant Gratification

I made this for Donna as part of her housewarming present:
I recommend making one as it is a quick and fun little project - a little instant gratification never hurt anyone! Tutorial can be found over here at in color order. I followed suit and used vintage sheets, but any combination of fabrics would look sweet, I'm sure of it.

I can't help but buy vintage sheets when I see them which means I have way more than I'll ever need ...and that's an understatement. Are you a vintage sheet stasher? Are you able to come by them easily in your area? Have you seen any creative projects around using vintage sheets?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

Fabric Shopping {local vs. online}

I am all for supporting local business, especially local businesses run by local women, but to be frank, the local fabric scene in my area stinks. I'll paint the picture - there's one large chain store where the fabric scores are hit and miss, but they do carry all the supplies and have good sales regularly and the staff always take good care of me.
At the other end of the spectrum, there is a teeny tiny little quilt shop (you can barely turn around with a bolt of fabric in your arms - not kidding!) that carries quilter's fabric only. I've gone in there a few times over the past 15 years and other than there being less fabric on the bolts, the fabric scene in there has not changed.
In the middle of those two on the spectrum is a shop that sells machines, supplies and fabric on top of offering lessons, etc. but it's highly overpriced, the selection is dated and the staff have zero personality.
I went on a little tour last week and this is what I scored:
I was so surprised to see this on the shelf! I had no immediate need for it, but couldn't be expected to leave it there at $3.50/m now could I? I bought 3 meteres. Here it is next to the meter I already had - barely even resemble one another, right?!
Next up some sweet little dots. These were on sale for just around $3/m, so two meters of each hopped in my cart.

Now just look at this piece of sweetness! It'll be the back to an all yellow quilt I have swimming around in my head. Cute, right? Also $3/m.

So all in all a few good scores, but how can this compare to online fabric shopping? You can do it from the comfort of your bed if you wish, you can comparison shop, you can mix and match colors and patterns without carrying the heavy and cumbersom bolts around the store with you and above all, the selection can't be beat! Sure, it's a little more on the expensive side, especially for us canucks, but I think the price can be justified especially when it just isn't available in your area!
A few of my favorite spots to shop online are: Quilt Taffy for precuts, Pink Chalk for Kona solids, Hawthorne Threads for their extensive selection and finally, I love the custom bundles that Fabric Worm puts together.
What do you do when it comes time to buy fabric? Do you prefer local or online? What are your favorite online shops?