Monthly Archives: January 2018

Fabric & Fiction, Round Six

It has been quite a while since I last started a round of Fabric and Fiction.  Somehow the autumn months went by and it just never happened.  With the beginning of the new year, I have been reading a lot.  I think it feels good to slow down after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  So far this year I have read Icy Sparks, by Gwen Rubio and The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella.

These two books couldn’t be more unalike.  Icy Sparks, an Oprah book club pick from about 15 years ago, is a dark but somewhat humorous look at a girl growing up in the 1950’s in Kentucky.  She suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome which wasn’t well understood at that time.  This feisty girl lives with her doting grand parents and suffers the wrath of her school mates, mean teachers and others who taunt her endlessly.  It made me sad to read it in part but I will tell you I liked the ending (I’m not saying more than that though!)  She befriends a very obese woman in town and they support each other as best they can, empathizing with each other as outcasts in their community.

 

 

The other book, The Undomestic Goddess, is a book about a high powered attorney who makes a mistake with one of her clients.  Horrified and not knowing what to do, she runs away and takes a job as a housekeeper for a ditzy but wealthy couple.  She hasn’t a clue how to cook, clean or do laundry and it is fun to read about her mistakes. Of course there is a sweet love story built in as well.

Remember Amelia Bedelia?

Kinsella’s book reminds me of a grown up version of Ameila Bedelia.  Did you read that series as a child?  I loved it. There were over twenty Amelia Bedelia stories written from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.  I believe the original author, Peggy Parish, passed away and her nephew has written more Amelia Bedelia books since her death.   Anyway, The Undomestic Goddess is somehow similar, very light, lots of fluff, and a bit predictable but I really enjoyed the story.  Not everything I read has to be deep and carry life altering messages.  Sometimes it is just fun to read and be entertained.

Since I skipped the fall book share, let’s go crazy and do two books this time!  Here is my plan.  I will open two book shares.  Six people can sign up for each one.  It might be best if you only sign up for one book so more people can participate. If we don’t get up to six people for either of the books, then you can sign up for the second book.

In case this is new to you, the way it works is I will send the book and three fat quarters of fabric to the first person on the list.  That person reads the book (please don’t keep the book any longer than three weeks or it takes forever for the book to go around) and then chooses three fat quarters and sends them along to the next reader.  It has proven to be too expensive to send the book out of the country so I think it is best to limit this to the US.  (I’m sorry about this!)  When you choose the fat quarters, try to select fabrics that relate to the book in some fashion.  Include a quick note about how the fabric made you think of the book (without telling too much and spoiling the book for the next reader!)

I have really enjoyed this book club of sorts and hope you will join in!  To throw your name in the hat, leave a comment and please tell me which book is your top choice.  I will try to create groups of six with you getting your book of choice, if possible.  It is first come, first serve.  Please, if you are reading this on Bloglovin, click through to my actual site and leave your comment there.  It is hard to track who was first to comment, between the blog and the Bloglovin reader comments.  If you have questions, leave them in the comments.

Thanks for sharing books with me in this way.  I love hearing from the group and finding out what each person thought of the book!  Now that I have finished the two books featured here, I am reading The Things We Keep, by Sally Hepworth.  It is a great read so far.  Maybe we will share it next time around!  What are you reading these days?  Share with us by leaving a comment.

*This is an affiliate post, meaning if you click through links on my page and make a purchase, I will be compensated.  My compensation does not change the price you pay.

 

Weekend Recap

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you may have seen the pictures I posted over the weekend.  Julia and I took a road trip and visited Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo.  This college is a favorite in our family – I graduated (class of ’82) and two of my sons plus one daughter-in-law also graduated from there.  Julia is planning to apply there next fall.  We thought it would be fun to do the college tours and see the campus as it has been several years since we have been there.  Plus she was pretty young when we last visited and I thought she needed to see it with a more mature viewpoint.

It was a beautiful day of tours and walking… oh, so much walking.  Julia is deciding between Biology or Animal Science as her major.  It is so hard to know what you want to do at this age but Cal Poly is a university that requires the applicants to declare their major right away.

She was thrilled to be able to visit the Swine Unit.  The manager of that unit, a senior at the university, was incredibly friendly and let Julia hang out for quite a while. It was helpful to find out Julia can volunteer at the animal units even if she chooses Biology over Animal Science as a major. Either way, she can work with the animals..

It was a quick trip but well worth the drive (which is a bit of a pain because we live 350 miles from campus).

When I got home I had a package waiting for me!   A couple of weeks ago I entered a giveaway on Instagram.  Kim over at Leland Ave Studios was celebrating the launch of her 52 Week Creativity Project where she will be posting discussions with various artists each week in 2018.  I read the first one which was really good.  I am looking forward to this series.

Kim generously gave a fat eighth bundle of Alison Glass’ new line, Diving Board- to me! What a treat.

Oh my gosh!  I was so tickled to win this bundle.  The colors fall in line with the shades of blue, pink, greens, yellows and oranges that Alison often uses.  This is nice because her older lines work so well with the newer pieces.  Oh the colors are gorgeous !!

This bundle is a big one at 24 pieces.  I will surely let it sit for a while – until I think of the perfect use for it. I have several projects on-going at the moment so I am in no hurry to start another one.  Thank you Kim for this gorgeous addition to my stash.

Linking to Molli Sparkles Sunday Stash link up. I haven’t written a Stash post in such a long time. Receiving this bundle was such a fun surprise! Now I am going to go pack orders. The shop was busy over the weekend and I need to get caught up,

Blogger Bundle – Sarah Goer Quilts

I am really excited to share my first Blogger Bundle with you!  For the past couple of months I have been working with a group of awesome quilt bloggers. They will be curating bundles of fabric from my shop for me and I will offer these as both fat quarter and  half-yard bundles.  It has been a really fun experience for me and I am learning!!  There is always something new to be learned, isn’t there?

This month’s bundle was curated by Sarah Goer.  She writes at Sarah Goer Quilts.  A stay-at-home mom of two school age children, Sarah has a passion for fabric, color and quilting.  She has (already!) taught her two young kiddos to quilt and they will have a quilt hanging at QuiltCon next month.  Sarah and I became acquainted several years ago when we both were starting our blogs.  Since then, we have worked together on several different projects; the most recent of which was when I pattern tested her new Scattered Squares pattern.  I really admire Sarah’s use of color.  Her newsletters always contain a few fresh palettes to inspire the reader. I enjoy seeing the suggested colors she offers up.

When she agreed to put a bundle together, I knew I would  like it! Honestly, this experience has been so interesting.  I am in my shop each day working with these fabrics; cutting orders and shipping them off to customers. But seeing the collections that someone else puts together reminds me that there are endless combinations to be made with those yummy bolts I have downstairs!

Sarah chose a grouping of teal blue, gray, navy blue and yellow. I was surprised there was no purple in the bundle as that is often a go-to color for Sarah.  🙂

But this bundle works!  It is really vibrant and bright! This collection includes the following:

  • Terra Firma Sunlit –  from Maureen Cracknell’s Garden Dreamer line
  • Dots in Gray from Red Rooster’s Basically Low line
  • Atomic Web from Michael Miller’s Sassy Cat line
  • Sashiko Florette in Teal from BariJ’s Wild Bloom line
  • Frogland Friends Coordinate by Henry Glass

What do you think of this bundle?  I am curious to hear your opinions.  Also, Sarah has a post up today talking about our project and she even has a bundle to give away to a lucky reader.  Hop over and take a peek.  Maybe this is your lucky day?

Of course the bundle is also offered in my shop.  It will be on sale today and tomorrow only, for 20% off!! (No coupon code needed.)  Prices go back to normal on Friday!

Scattered Squares – Pattern Testing

I have a finish to share with you!  It was actually my last finish of 2017 and I just barely made it.  I stitched the binding down on December 31st!  This fun quilt was made as a test for a new pattern designed by Sarah Goer, of Sarah Goer Quilts.  This is the second pattern I have tested for her.  (The first was Knock Knock and you can check that out here.)

Scattered Squares is a modern pattern designed with the idea of floating the smaller squares on a solid background.  It could be done any number of ways though.  It might be a challenge to use a directional pattern in the background though as one might lose the intended solid, floating appearance.

Sarah did a wonderful job with this pattern (as with her Knock Knock pattern).  I am absolutely sure this is due to her background as a middle school math teacher.  She knows how to provide clear and concise instructions. This pattern will be released soon.  I suggest signing up for her newsletter so you hear when it is published! Click here and the newsletter sign up form is at the top of the page in a purple rectangle.

This pattern is a great one for a beginner quilter.  The piecing is basic and there are no points to deal with.  It is also a fun one to quilt up.  The baby quilt finished at 30″ x 40″ which is a very reasonable size to quilt.  I decided to stitch concentric circles and I am really pleased with the look. This is only the second time I have quilted spirals like this and I couldn’t really remember how to get started.  I took a look at the tutorial written by Jayne, of Twiggy & Opal, for a refresher. Really after the first two circles or so, it is a breeze to do.  I used the walking foot and the distance was set by the width of the foot, probably a 1/2″ or so.

The spirals create crazy movement on the back of the quilt!  I had this brightly colored print in my stash and was happy to use it up.  I do think the baby using this quilt may get dizzy looking at this side though!  😉

When I started to quilt the circles, I used my Hera Marker to trace the top of a canning jar for the first circle.  It was nice to have a reasonably large circle to start with.  But that left a blank space in the center that seemed to need something when I was finished with the circles.  To complete the quilting, I free motioned a little sun in the center to fill it.

Binding was done by machine with the same yellow as the squares in the quilt.  Machine binding is something I continue to work on.  I feel like this one looks ok, but not great.  I like it for kid’s quilts though. It seems like it will stand up to lots of laundering.  Plus, it is much quicker than hand stitching the back.

This was a fun project and would be great for a baby gift as the quilt comes together easily.  I think I will donate this one to Project Linus.  I have a small stack of baby quilts and would love to have them be used rather than sitting on the closet shelf!

Linking to Finish It Up Friday as well as Finished or Not Friday this week.  For more link ups, take a look at the Link Up tab at the top of the page.

Handmade Christmas Gifts

Now that Christmas is done and gifts have been given and received, I thought I would share what I made with you. Usually I try to find a fun project to make and give during the Christmas season.  In recent years I have made purses, zip pouches, table runners and hot pads. This year I decided to make an apron for my Vermont daughter-in-law.  Also, I made hot pads for my California son and his girlfriend as well as my Toronto son and his wife.  These projects were quick and satisfying.

For the apron, I upcycled a duvet cover that I had bought a while back. I was thrilled to find this cover in a tan and cream stripe.  The neutral colors and the feel of the fabric assured me I would easily find many uses for the fabric.  I had a vintage pattern from 1975 that I have been holding on to, thinking it would make a really cute apron.

Originally the pattern was designed for a wrap around dress and let me just say, I would have totally loved wearing this dress at age 15 (not that I was necessarily 15 in 1975… oh wait, I was.)  Anyway, I had a really similar dress that I made out of a green striped seersucker fabric.  I was so cool.

Ok, back to the apron.  I had seen these Japanese work aprons and really liked them – this pattern is a bit of a compromise between a standard apron and the Japanese wrap style. This one is more fitted with darts in the bodice.

It wraps around the back with the tie coming through an opening left in the side seam.

I finished the interior seams by folding the raw edges in and top stitching them for a clean look.  This fabric would likely fray in the wash so this will prevent any issues.

I even remembered to put a little label on the inside.

Overall, this was a fun project and hopefully my daughter-in-law will get lots of use out of it.  She is a great cook so I suspect she will use it.

On to the hot pads!  I wanted to make something with the Maker Maker fabric I have in the shop.  I cannot even express how much I love this fabric!!  I made Chemex Cozies out of the Grid fabric and the gray and black Lines fabric.  They were far and above, my top sellers for the Christmas shopping season.Anyway, I thought I would make some hot pads using the Grid fabric and the cats.  The linen has such a nice texture and weight, making it perfect for kitchen accessories.  These finished at at eight inches square and are filled with two layers of Insul Bright, making them nice and thick.

The next gift I want to share was not made in the sewing room!  My husband decided he wanted to make a gift for each of the kids. The boys and their spouses received gorgeous rolling pins made with pieces of walnut and oak that he laminated together.  He turned them on his lathe to make a one piece rolling pin.  I just love them!  The kids were taken with the wonderful finish and really appreciated the work that went into these.

Each piece is different from the next with the stripes and color variations making them unique.

Since Julia isn’t really in need of a rolling pin just yet, he made her a piggy bank.  She had such a great time with Daisy and Ella last year, he thought this would be a fun way to remember that summer.

This was a challenging project but it turned out so cute!I love the shape of this little pig’s body and her curly tail.  It was so much fun to watch Ray making these projects during the months before the holidays.  I love having a few handmade gifts under the tree.  I also made some placemats for my parents but didn’t think to take pictures.  I will take some the next time I am up at their house so I can share them.  Were you able to make any of your holiday gifts this year?  If so, share in the comments.  I would love to hear about them!

Linking to my favorite parties, including Finished or Not Friday hosted by Busy Hands Quilts.  Check the Link Up tab at the top of the page for more info!  Have a great weekend all.  🙂